Senior skeptical man lowering eyeglassesOne of the biggest things that set the business world apart from the rest of society’s functions is its level of professionalism. Most other places (with the exception of religious functions) you can dress freely and casually. Yet, when stepping into most professional environments (especially for an interview), jeans and a t-shirt just won’t do. There’s a certain way you carry yourself in an office, a certain way you talk and speak to people.

Even seemingly small things change, such as your email address and signatures. Everything from your cover letter and resume to how you greet a potential employer in the business world must be professional. Yet, as most job seekers are striving to remain professional, what about the companies themselves?

We all want to leave a good first impression on a potential employer – shouldn’t employers strive to do the same? I’ve encountered numerous companies that simply did not have it together in terms of their recruitment process. Below are common issues that arise during the hiring process, ones that can make a potential employee think otherwise about employment with a company.

Delayed response time

At more than 7 percent nationwide, unemployment is a major issue for many people today. They need jobs now and they need them quickly. After applying for countless jobs and receiving countless we’ve-received-your-application emails, job seekers can easily become impatient. Sometimes people don’t hear back from companies for months even though a company may state it’s looking to hire someone in a few weeks. Perhaps a future worker really wanted a position, but another company called him or her back first. Need caused him or her to accept the fastest opening. It’s understandable that many companies have hundreds of applications to wade through, but not responding to applicants in a timely manner is a surefire way to miss out on potential qualified candidates.

Inconsistent or no callbacks

They say sometimes you have to be aggressive or borderline annoying when job hunting. Yet, there’s a certain line that once you cross over, it can become unprofessional—that is, on the company’s part. Job seekers should not have to continuously call potential employers to inquire about their status, especially when it comes to follow up interviews or meetings. If you as an HR person notified an applicant you’d be contacting him/her for an interview or to talk, the applicant should not have to harass you to find out when the meeting or interview will finally happen. Not calling back or replying altogether also shows a lack of professionalism on behalf of an organization. An HR staff member at a company emailed me saying I was a good fit for a position I’d applied for and asked for my availability for an interview. Although I immediately responded, I never heard back from the company again.

Another company I interviewed with while in school said it would call me back in a week once it had received my writing test. A week and a half later, I had to end up calling the company back to find out it’d moved on to another applicant. Although I did not end up working at either company, my experience with their recruitment process showed me just how professional or unprofessional the companies may be. Do not say you will respond to a candidate or ask him or her for information to move onto the next step and never do. It not only wastes the applicant’s time, but causes him or her to question the company’s professionalism.

No shows

Now, we all know the negative effects of 1) being late to or 2) not showing up for an interview for a job seeker. Rejection, correct? Yet, what happens when the tables are turned? A friend of mine had a company he really desired to work at call him for an interview. He spoke with the HR person via phone and email multiple times before finalizing the interview date. On the day of, my friend eagerly awaited the interview call, but it never came. This sends a warning flag to any potential employee. What does it tell a person about a company that doesn’t show up for an interview the company initiated?

Unorganized training

For me, this is a major turnoff. You’ve applied, survived the interview, accepted the job and now have to complete training. Training can tell a new worker a lot about the company he or she just joined: Is it organized? Do the instructors know what they’re talking about? Does the equipment work? Does the training start and end on time? Unorganized training can send red flags to new hires, making them reconsider staying with the company.

Schedule mishaps

Most new workers’ schedules are a little fuzzy until he or she gets into the routine; this is normal. Yet, if consistent schedule mishaps occur (or not being scheduled at all) this can reveal an unprofessional work environment. One of my relatives recently got a part-time job in a department store. She has to repeatedly call the store to see when she works because the manager doesn’t put her on the schedule like he’s supposed to. The store tells her schedules go up each Sunday and each person is responsible for checking them. Yet, my relative must continually call to inquire about her schedule and after she does, sometimes she is forced to call again when another manager is working. The store’s lack of organization is causing her to rethink her employment.

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