Hi… candidate here.

Thanks for the opportunity to apply to a job at your company. And thanks for the invitation to interview with you. And thanks for the second invitation to interview with your team. It was really quite fun… much more fun than applying to more jobs and not hearing back at all. It was fun to talk about my skills, projects, background, experience, and be back in my comfort zone. It was fun to talk to professionals who have jobs and salaries and benefits and feel comfortable with their professional life. It was fun to talk shop and feel like I could stay up with the conversation, even contribute.

I do have something I’d like to share with you, though. Some of the questions you asked were clearly based on some unfounded assumptions about me. I addressed those questions but I could tell from your body language that you already had created your own answer for me, and no matter what my answer was, you had already made judgement about me that I wasn’t going to be able to get around.

The whole process started to feel fake. Why did you even bring me in? Why let me get this far?

The icing on the cake was the generic, soulless, impersonal “we’ve decided to go with someone else. We’ll keep your resume in our file…” rejection letter.

All the smiles, the warmth, the personal touch, and then BAM! Did I become the enemy? Why go from personal and happy-to-see-me to “Ciao Prisoner two-four-six-oh-one!”?

I thought that perhaps we could have had a friendly, professional relationship. No, not BFFs. I’m not going to harass you, ask you to lunch too often, or even email you much. But if we met up at a networking meeting, I would come say hi and see how things are going. If I heard of something that would benefit you, I would want to share it with you. But that last goodbye showed me that really, I was just a number to you. None of the smiley stuff meant anything. You stopped caring about me, even though I was good enough to make it through a few interviews, once you picked one person (who will probably not be on your team in two years).

Oh well. I guess that’s the game. Pretend we are great buddies during this interview process, but if it doesn’t work out, then there’s an uncomfortable silent agreement between you and I that no, I’m not allowed to communicate with you. I certainly can’t ask you for feedback, which you won’t give. I have to figure out that I, as a professional, just have to suck it up, pretend it never happened, and put on my best smile for the next interview. Fake, yes, but that’s the game. These are the rules you set up. And it sucks to be on this side.

I hope that when (not if) you are on this side you can see how stupid the rules are, and next time you are hiring, you can be humane and treat your “candidates” with dignity, even if you don’t choose to hire them.

I’m back to the search… signing off,

The Unchosen Candidate

Jason Alba

Written by

CEO of JibberJobber.com. Organize and manage your job search and networking.