I am a fan of two basic activities when it comes to advertising for jobs.

Number 1. No matter how many applicants apply for a job, I am a fan of letting every applicant know how they went, and advising them if they were unsuccessful. After all, I believe being an Employer of Choice starts with that basic communication (see antero HR Employer of Choice 101).

Number 2. For those positions that I advertise for that may be a bit more complex or senior, I am a fan of making myself, or one of my staff, available to take calls and respond confidentially to a candidate’s job enquiries.

Now, I hate to sound like a grumpy old man, mainly because, a) I don’t think I get grumpy (at least very rarely), and b) I don’t think that I am that old (but I suppose it’s all relative), but I have got to say, “What the heck is going through some applicant’s heads these days?”

Check this out.

In the not too distant past I had been running some advertising campaigns, and I had put my name and number at the bottom of the ad and indicated that “brief general enquiries were welcomed.”

While I was not run off my feet I had been receiving a relatively steady number of calls. I liked the professional applicant pool that was calling. They said things like, “How are you?” (I thought that’s nice, they kind of care), and they said things like, “Do you have a couple of minutes to talk?” (I really like that one because, hey, we may actually be doing something).

That’s where the warm and fuzzy sensation ended.

Applicant after applicant then started to basically tell me their life story and how great they were.

Get this.

When I politely steered them into just giving me a brief executive summary about their background, so that I could best respond to their questions, half of the applicants didn’t really have any questions, and the other half had half-baked questions, and the info was in the ad.

This is the part that really got my goat.

After thanking them for their time, and letting them know that I would look forward to seeing their details, practically all of them said, “I had applied a little while ago.” Unbelievable.

The moral of this blog.

Applicants that call and waffle on about themselves are not doing themselves as much of a favour as those that call, ask great questions, and strengthen the application they are about to send in.