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An Open Letter to Interviewers

Dear Interviewer,

Imagine you’ve lost your job. What thoughts and emotions would you have? Would you worry about supporting yourself and your family? Do you think your confidence would be shaken a bit?

One of the most challenging parts for a job seeker

They must keep their spirits up, have a positive attitude and ignore the slights, disappointments and frustrations of looking for their next job. All of this is intensified for the mid-late career, over-40-year-old.

As a career coach, I am constantly amazed and disappointed by many of the interactions my clients have with recruiters and hiring managers. Sure, there are many who do the right thing, but all too often the lack of respect, professionalism and consideration is astounding.


The sudden discontinuation of communication from one side, is one of the most disappointing and damaging aspects of looking for a job and it happens way too much. I know you can’t respond to every application you get, although if you have an ATS you can, but if a person takes the time for an interview, letting them know the status of their candidacy… active, on-hold or rejected… is the right thing to do for the candidate, for you and for your company’s reputation.

You’re busy

I know that, even if you have an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to screen resumes, you still have to review those that get to you, you have to phone-screen candidates to further whittle down the possibilities and you have to take time to schedule and conduct live interviews.

I understand. I’ve run a recruiting department for a fortune 50 company, I’ve been a hiring manager and I’ve been unemployed. Of all those, being unemployed was the most challenging, stressful and draining “roles”.

For a minute, please put yourself in the shoes of the job seeker. Consider that the unemployed may be a little down, but they are trying their best to get back up. They develop their marketing materials and sales pitch, prospect for opportunities, write copy to send to potential employers, make networking calls, and follow-up to try to ensure their name remains relevant to the their “customer”, you and the hiring manager.


It is difficult and painful to be out of work. If you’ve ever lost your job you understand this. Please show empathy and compassion

Good candidates, typically, put in a lot of time preparing for interviews. Please show respect and professionalism by showing them courtesy and doing some preparation yourself.

You are your company’s representative. The way you treat your candidates is reflective of the values of your organization. If you don’t do this well, you’ll miss out on great talent and candidates will tell others which will make it harder for you to get the person you want because of “negative press”.

Candidates may be current or future customers even if you’re not a public facing business. So, treat them with the same respect you would treat a customer.

Does what type of animal someone would be if they weren’t a human really mean anything? Does knowing how much to charge to clean every window in the city tell you how someone would perform in role? Please ask questions based on the direct needs of the job.

And please respect their time and effort as they respect yours.

Recruiting is a two-way street. A lot is expected of candidates, and rightfully so, but hiring companies also need to consider the job-seeker’s experience and to act in a professional and empathetic way. In the end, this benefits everyone and it’s the right thing to do. You’ll understand this more if/when you are on the outside looking in and a little empathy will mean a whole lot to you.

If you want help identifying the steps of the process to help you plan for winning your next job opportunity, click here to receive a short guide entitled “The Sher Process to Your Next Job”.

Ken Sher

Ken Sher is an Career Coach and Executive Coach who focuses on the whole person when helping them with professional or personal issues they are trying to manage. Ken's areas of expertise include job search, career management and leadership development. If you would like to reach out to Ken, please call him at (215) 262-0528 or visit his web site at