Congratulations, Government of British Columbia

Here’s the email I received today from the Government of BC.  The application deadline was in May.  The interview was six days ago.

The email is from a person I did not encounter during the process, but fair enough.  They were tasked to send out emails to the “sorry” list.

Thank you for your interest in a new opportunity with the BC Public Service. We are writing to inform you that our process is now complete, and another candidate will be appointed to the position.

If you would like more information about our selection process or have questions regarding feedback, please go to Our Hiring Process or view the Help section found in your Career Centre.

Your participation in the selection process has been greatly appreciated, and we encourage you to apply for future employment opportunities with the BC Public Service.

Giving praise for a generic email advising that you weren’t the successful applicant might seem like setting the bar exceptionally low,   Not so.

I would say that for positions where I’ve had a face-to-face interview, I have heard back from only about 50 per cent of the organizations.  This, even after the polite follow up email, phone call etc from me.  50 per cent.

So, congratulations to the Province of British Columbia.  You are in the top 50 per cent.

Interview Countdown

Are you familiar with this scenario?  You see a position that looks interesting.  You get in touch and send in your resume.

The application deadline passes.  By weeks, if not months.  Out of the blue comes a phone call.  They’d like to interview you.

You spend hours briefing yourself on the organization, the position, the industry…news stories, business stories, financial filings, annual reports.  You phone people who know people who work there.  You collect intelligence like a squirrel getting ready for winter.

You suit up, go for the interview.  It goes well.  Accomplishments are highlighted.  Knowledge is shared.  They are pleasant.  They are interviewing five people and hope to make a decision in the next few weeks.

That deadline passes.  By weeks if not months.  Emails are not returned.  Phone calls go unanswered.

Welcome to Interview Countdown, the game you don’t even know you’re playing.

How do you think HR staff and managers explain this behaviour to themselves?  I would say this has happened to me on a slim majority of the interviews that I have had in my job search, so it’s not a one-off thing.

Welcome to interview countdown.

Is this an emergency?

I admit it.  I don’t always put in my expression of interest for jobs in the most timely manner.  There’s lots of reasons for that…more on that later.

It explains why my email to a local non-profit went out today – on the last day of the posting.

  • Check that letter makes sense and demonstrates that I know they have a new Chair and updated mandate and are looking for someone to rein in the budget while also keeping things moving forward?  Done.
  • Double check resume to highlight non-profit leadership?  Done.
  • Spellcheckspellcheckspellcheck…check spelling?  Done.
  • Talk my self into their “next month” starting date in a city 100 miles away?  Done.

Press “send”.  Get automatically generated response goes went pretty much like this:

” Hi from Lauren’s desk!  Hope everyone had a great weekend.  Joe and I are embracing the new economy and having a ‘staycation’ close to home, so we’ll be curled up with the dogs and busy in the garden for the next few weeks.  We’ll be thinking of you :).

To all contractors, please submit your invoices as usual and I will process them when I return.  If this is an emergency please contact Emily at emily@emily’semail.com.”

The good news?  My email arrived.  The bad news?  Although I sent it to the address in the posting, and they said they wanted to hire someone to begin next month, clearly Lauren is not going to be reading it any time soon.  Is someone else checking her email to deal with applications?  Should I break the standard “no calls or emails please?” instruction in the posting?

Is this an emergency?