Monday, April 18, 2011

They Are Pleased; I Have Felt Better Actually

I got another one of these "We are pleased to announce that we hired somebody other than you" emails today. Seriously, people. Don't lead off rejection letters by saying how happy you are. It's tacky.

They did thank me for my interest and wish me well, though. So that was nice.

--Mr. Zero


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear that Zero; I'm sure you'll meet with success soon. I agree it is a bit tacky. I wonder: who out there has an example of a good intro for this type of letter? I'm curious to hear how this has actually been done well.

Anonymous said...

I am pleased that you weren't pleased by their pleasing. Why people can't imagine themselves on the receiving end of things is beyond me.

Dr. Killjoy said...

Dear Applicant,

We have hired someone other than you.

Even in times of market plenty, rare is the applicant for whom any positive expectation, no matter how modest, of gainful employment is justifiably held, and so, in the Draconian present, to harbor such expectations requires either ascent to the heights of hubris or descent to the depths of delusion.

Understand then that taking umbrage with this formal and altogether supererogatory notification of our hiring decision cannot but be the result of a radically misdirected sense of frustration in concert with an entirely unwarranted sense of entitlement.

We thoroughly, insincerely, and wholly facetiously apologise for being unable to coddle and soothe each and every faceless and gormless applicant who feels slighted by our decision. However, to those well-grounded and emotionally stable applicants, we sincerely apologise for wasting the postage required to send this notice.

The Search Committee

Mr. Zero said...

Hi Dr. Killjoy,

I may be a li'l whipper-snapper, but I know this much: sending a letter to the rejects telling them how glad you are not to have hired them is not supererogatory. It's not as though they're doing me a favor. I knew I didn't get the job when they didn't interview me almost five months ago. And if I'm interested I can find out who they hired by looking at the Leiter thread. And I don't need a formal announcement to know that they must be pleased to have made the hire. I mean, duh.

What I would like is to be treated with courtesy, in recognition of the fact that I took some trouble to prepare and send them the application they asked for. It's not that I feel slighted by the decision; I knew about the decision last year. And I said the letter was "tacky," not deliberately insulting. Anyways, a desire to be treated courteously does not indicate an unwarranted sense of entitlement.

Also, I'll have you know, I have plenty of gorm.

Yours most sincerely,

Mr. Zero

Anonymous said...

Wow - Dr. Killjoy is a douchebag.

Dr. Killjoy said...

Actually, that'd be a pretty awesome letter that indicated how pleased the search committee was that they did not hire you.

Dear Applicant,

We have hired Dr. X.

While happy with our decision, we just wanted to let you know that our true and abiding pleasure comes from our steadfast refusal to hire you.

We could go into detail but that' just be teaching your grandmother how to suck eggs.

Die horribly,

The Search Committee

Anonymous said...

I like when they are less pleased. For example, I got this one recently:

"There were many good applications. Unfortunately, we decided to offer the position to another applicant."

I take it that they are not pleased--in fact, they think it is downright unfortunate--that although they had many good applicants, they chose to go with another applicant--someone not among those applicants. At least that's how I read it. It's puzzling, though.

Anonymous said...

Would the SC consider it tacky if you wrote back, explaining that you're "pleased" that you won't have them as colleagues?

If so, then the SC should drop its own expression of pleasure over the hire. It is a letter to someone other than the hire, after all.

Anonymous said...

@8:02 and 11:04

Clearly they mean: unfortunate for you letter reader. Not that we have made an unfortunate hire.

So that makes me wonder, should they actually write that to those who haven't been hired...

Anonymous said...

This should be too obvious to need pointing out, but maybe not:
Someone can be pleased that P without being pleased that Q even when we all know that if P, then Q.
For instance, I can be pleased that my friend got the job and not pleased that I didn't get the job even though I know that if my friend got the job, I didn't.

So, the author of your PFO letter can be pleased that they hired Doc Genius without being pleased that they didn't hire you, even though we all know that if they hired Doc Genius they didn't hire you.

Xenophon said...

Anon 8:04, that's funny.

Dr. Killjoy, I can't tell who you're satirizing.


There is really just one good letter.

Dear Dr. so-and-so:

We're writing to tell you that we have the position that you applied for with another candidate.

Please know that we appreciate very much the time you put into your application.

If you'd like to know who we hired, go to our website in two weeks from the date of this letter and we'll have the person's name and CV posted.

Sincerely, blah blah blah

The first sentence is direct. The second is actually polite, and it recognizes the effort that applicants put into the process. The third satisfies the desire of some people to know the outcome, but doesn't rub it in the face of everyone else.


Every other letter, no matter how well intentioned, comes down to this:

Dear Scum:

We've got jobs and you don't. Ha ha ha ha ha.

Dear, blah blah blah

Word verification: I got a snooty PFO in the mail today, and now I just feel achalised .

Anonymous said...

I really like it when they make a point of telling you how great the person they hired is -- that always makes me feel good.

Best rejection letters: UNC :)

zombie said...

Hot new career: Charm School and Etiquette Lessons for Philosophers.

Somebody has to do it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Candidate:

We intended to hire someone else, and merely foresaw that you would thereby not be hired. So while we achieved success in our intended aim, we assure you that we can rationally regret your not being hired by us.

Dub L. Effect
Thomas Aquinas College

CTS said...

Ours always run something along the lines of:

e appreciated your considering the position as XYZ in our department. We had numerous applications from excellent candidates, and our decision was not easily made. I/We are sorry to inform you that another candidate has accepted the position. We/I wish you the best of luck in your career.

I do not think it is difficult to write something halfway kind. Most of the time, it is true that the competition was tough, and we did appreciate the applications from the vast majority of people (only not those utterly unsuited to the line we advertised). All one has to do is keep in mind that someone will be deeply disappointed by the news. I would think anyone could muster a bit of tact and sympathy in that situation.

(Yes, I know, I'm an optimist.)

A158 said...

Silly Job Interview

It does feel this way at times.