He hasn’t worked for over 12 months since being made redundant for the second time in three years. He was starting to lose faith, both in himself and his future.  I was there to buy the beers, to cheer him up and to offer support.  I asked what kind of roles he’d been applying for and, more importantly, what feedback he’d received from those applications he had submitted.

“I really have no idea,” he said.  “I seldom get feedback. When I do, the feedback is too generic.  I used to call recruiters back to ask for more detailed feedback but they were usually too busy or it was policy not to provide it.”

His most recent job application – for a role in the IT department of a global business with a strong consumer brand in the UK – was performed exclusively online. In an attempt to be helpful, the website advised that if he hadn’t heard anything within two weeks, to assume he’d been unsuccessful.

This feels like a very poor return on an investment of many hours spent researching a company and the role before preparing an application.  I can’t think of many businesses that would communicate with its customers this way, so why a potential employee?  Does the recession really allow businesses to deal with ‘buyers’ and ‘sellers’ differently?

With unemployment at a near twenty year high in the UK, we’d told there are a lot of applicants chasing each advertised role.   Understandably, therefore, the recruiting departments are busy. In all likelihood, they’re suffering from the same ‘rightsizing’ that has left my friend’s disposable income severely malnourished.

But according to totaljobs, the online recruitment website, there were just under 100,000 applications for a total of 13,766 roles in “IT and Internet”, my friend’s area of expertise, in London during the last three months of 2011.  Is it really asking too much that an average of six unsuccessful applicants should expect some useful feedback against their application to make a career commitment to the firm?

My friend was happy to actively share the identity of those businesses he saw as the bad recruiters with me.  He considered using social media to share them with you too, but decided against it for fear that it would jeopardise future opportunities.

Maybe it’s time every communications department understood how it’s own organisation manages their recruitment processes.  If it’s not known, maybe it’s time a few searching questions on the policies and practices employed were asked of their recruiting teams?