Canned Responses

I have mentioned a few times that I am searching for an internship. I would prefer one in Madison, but I have expanded my search to Milwaukee and Chicago. I would also prefer one in Mobile Application Development, but also have expanded my search to Java internships.

I did not think there were many places in Madison that do Mobile development, so I was pleasantly surprised when I learned of one I was unaware of. I immediately went to their website to inquire about an internship.

When I got to their website, there was no obvious “Career” link on the site. I looked at the links across the top, and nothing. The only contact I could see was for prospective customers.

On a hunch I checked the bottom of the screen. Hidden among identical links across the top was one that said “Careers”. Yay! I found it!

I clicked on the link and it brought me to a form. The form asked for my name, my email, and a brief description of what I was looking for. So I fill in my info, say I am a student looking for a mobile application internship.

A few hours later I received a canned response. The canned response said that all of their opportunities were filled but that they would keep my resume on file and if I cared to update it in their system I could contact them.

Now how did they get my resume?? I never gave it to them. There was no option to upload a resume. Did they get it by magic? Am I already so awesome that they were scouting me out waiting for me to ripen into a full blown rockstar application developer?

Nope. They were using a canned response. Further, they were using a canned response I already received from another Madison company I contacted a while ago for a different position.

Do I really want to work for a company that is so careless that they will automatically use a canned response that they never bothered to read to ensure that it correlated with the information that they gathered from my contact? Nope.

Clearly they don’t want to hire anyone in the near future. That is just fine. I ask if you genuinely don’t have any need to hire anyone, be honest about it! Don’t ask me to jump through a bunch of hoops in order to be blown off.

Also, my understanding of the job search process is that is a two-way street. If, by a lot of hard work and tenacity, I one day become a rock star developer, I won’t want to work with this company. I have a bad taste in my mouth about them. I won’t recommend them to someone looking for a company and I won’t work with them if given the option to do so.

I am one person, but if I notice this then I am far from the only one. Joel Spolsky of Joel on Software says about doing an interview, even if you are not planning to hire an applicant, you want them to walk away feeling good about your company.

He is a wise man and I am saddened that this company did not read this article or take that advice.