A paid summer internship at a Kansas City, Mo., consulting company remains unfilled as of this writing because applicants haven't followed instructions.

A veterinarian at a small-animal hospital is frustrated because one-third to one-half of applicants scheduled for interviews failed to show up.

For all the justified complaints among job hunters about sending their applications into the "black holes" of corporate human resource departments, there's a flip side.

Small businesses, in particular, simply don't have time to continue to pursue applicants who express interest but don't follow through with paperwork or appointments.

The director of administration at the above-mentioned consulting office was blunt about being disappointed in a promising candidate: "After prompting him twice, he's not sent back the completed application. I'm not going to chase these kids down! If they can't follow simple instructions in a timely manner, we don't have time to mentor them in our office this summer."

The veterinarian is wondering whether applicants are taking advantage of the unemployment system by professing to have applied for work but aren't completing a real application. He said his office schedules interviews with candidates who submit online applications but, "They don't call, they don't email, they just disappear. Of course, we don't pursue them after this happens."

The Internet has made it easy to apply for jobs; shoe leather not required. Many employers are inundated with both qualified applicants who deserve thoughtful consideration and incredibly unqualified applicants who are simply pushing buttons. When hirers find a good candidate, they're understandably interested in moving forward with the application process – just like job hunters who believe they're right for the position.

But, as is the case in so many ways, bad apples taint the barrel. Applicants who follow the rules in the time frame allotted are penalized by employers' suspicions that they, too, don't really want the job or won't justify the employer's time and expense vested in them.

In a perfect world, applicants – even those frustrated by a longer-than-expected period of job hunting – would be more judicious about applying only for jobs that truly are right for them based on their experience, talents and interests. And, if they hear back from a prospective employer, they would respond promptly, and clearly express their intent to pursue the hiring process or back away.

In an equally perfect world, employers would have more time and a terrific culling system to separate promising, credible applicants from those who are merely fishing or abusing the system.

Clearly, perfection isn't going to happen on either side. It's up to individual conscience and business conditions to decide how much serious effort goes into any workplace matchmaking. Despite the odds, some matches will be made.



To reach Diane Stafford, call 816-234-4359 or send email to stafford@kcstar.com. Follow her online at kansascity.com/workplace and twitter.com/kcstarstafford.


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