In part 1 of this post, I discussed the struggle I have as a business owner with acquiring qualified interns and employees from the Millennials or Generation Y’ers.
This is a follow up with a copy of the email I sent to a prospective candidate who, after much interaction (via Facebook and texting), may have mistook our means of communication as a evidence of an unprofessional work environment.
Although my daily operations can be considered extremely unconventional at times, and ‘slacking’ would be obvious, the latter is false and it is for the reason that my job differs from day to day on different extreme levels, that any employee must be flexible in knowing when to go with the unconventional flow of things and be able to discern when to hone in to their professionalism to complete the task at hand.
The initial interview and meeting was not one of those times.
It would benefit any job seeker to examine the culture of the company they seek and gain employment prior to joining in that atmosphere. But, most importantly, they should have the basics of professionalism in place to get them initially in the door.
Here is a copy of the letter:
After some thought, I wanted to reach out to you in regards to your search for an internship and overall job search. Through our first few interactions, it became apparent that your skills in finding employment needed some refinement.
I am extending this advice to you as an African American women who, at one time was in your same position; a Fashion Merchandising major, and a college student seeking employment/internship opportunities. As a business owner, I feel the need to use certain opportunities as a teaching moment and, this I deem as one of them.
Although you found out about the position informally, through a mutual connection, Facebook or any other social media should be the last resort to contact a potential employer. In most cases, it is preferred to correspond through email and / or telephone. Hence, texting is not considered a professional communication form when discussing any job opportunity.
I realize I made an error in responding through these avenues and will refrain from this form of communication as it relates to any job openings. I will, in the future only correspond with potential employers/interns through email and or telephone.
It is unfortunate, but our technology is moving at a faster pace than the rules of etiquette, but when in doubt, always approach an job opportunity or internship using the upmost professionalism. No matter how informal the employer may seem.
Like I mentioned before, I was a college student seeking employment and internship opportunities and as a student, employee and even as a business owner, there are certain practices that I developed early in my career that has helped me professionally. I attended college at a time WITH NO internet, little cells phones and absolutely no social media, but what helped me achieve many of my goals were the basics.
ALWAYS BE ON TIME: I was always on time and even now, I treat time as a valuable commodity. More valuable than money, once time is wasted, there is no substitute. Being late, especially for an interview is completely unacceptable. It shows a lack of regard for this most value resource that a business owner and entrepreneur has. If you remember that basic principle, you will have a good head start on reaching your professional goals. On ANY level of business, time is money.
BE RESOURCEFUL: Although there was no internet, I was still able to find out information about companies by visiting the library, reading the newspaper, or even the phone book. You are extremely lucky to have all these resources at your fingertips….with the internet. And even in some cases, with your phone. With a few clicks, you can research a company, their origin and even their address in a matter of seconds. As a fashion major, I also took advantage of any on campus career services to find employment/internship opportunities, resume writing, even job fairs. Cleveland is not a fashion forward city, so the search for opportunities must be rigorous and it is highly competitive.
BE TENACIOUS: The fashion business is one of the most competitive businesses you will ever encounter. Even more, being in Cleveland gives you even less of an advantage, making your plight even tougher. Although you demonstrated some follow through with messages about your resume, always remember to take that extra step when seeking employment. And NEVER, EVER, tell and employer to call YOU back. Growing up, I was always taught to be 200 times better than the competition – first, as a woman, second, as an African American and third, in a business that rarely sees us as key players. Remember this when seeking any job opportunity in any industry, but even more in fashion.
I completely understand the need to find an internship as you complete your senior year, but as a small business owner, with a new business, I cannot risk acquiring a candidate for an internship with the basic skills not in place. It is for this reason, I cannot offer you an internship at this time.
Although disappointed on both ends, I hope you use my words of advice as just that, advice and take them into account. Please appreciate the time taken to extend some words of direction as you continue on your professional journey. When others would have simply sent a letter with no explanation or areas to improve, I hope you come to appreciate my efforts in the future.
Best of luck to you,
Dru Christine Fabrics & Design
Why did I post this?
1. A prospective job candidate may stumble across this post and benefit from the brain of an employer.
2. Realize that as business owners, we are considered leaders in our communities, like it or not, we have the unique ability to determine hiring practices, and, in turn how we actually say ‘no’ to a candidate. I’m not saying I will write a letter of this depth to every candidate, but in this case, it seemed necessary.
3. I think it was pretty good. 🙂
By the way, after this heartfelt email, the candidate never responded….with a thank you, anything. Further validating my decision based on their lack of basic common courtesy as well as job seeking skills which would have probably translated to a bad experience on both parties.
…and yes, I Unfriended her, not BLOCKED, just Unfriended.