Is there an etiquette for job recruitment in 2012? Based on my experiences, I don't think there is.

Let me be clear: This isn't just about me. Yes, I'm unemployed. And, yes, I'm looking for a job. I want to work. I like to work. I have an unfulfilled need to contribute to society.

The last time I had to look for a job was in 1996. Those were the days when people knew where they stood with potential employers.

I would receive a letter or postcard if I was no longer being considered. Today, I send my résumé into cyberspace and pray that it ends up in the hands of the appropriate recruiter.

Nine times out of 10, the only thing I ever get back is an automated e-mail thanking me for my application.

I get it -- I'm one of millions of unemployed people in America right now. I understand that recruiting departments sometimes receive hundreds of résumés for one opening.

Most of the time, the automated system weeds out my résumé before it ever sees the light of day. The systems are programmed to search for buzzwords to which I'm not always privy.

Recruiters are very fortunate right now -- there is a smorgasbord of talent from which to draw, and they have the duty of sifting through it. Because there are a lot of candidates, it is difficult to reach out to everyone individually.

I don't have a problem with this. What I do have a problem with is going through an entire interview process (which can include a phone interview and two or three face-to-face interviews) and never hearing another thing.

I send e-mails to check in, and they are unreturned. Are U.S. companies today full of cowards, or are they so disrespectful of the unemployed that they simply don't care to communicate with us?

I am so grateful when I am rejected, because then I can focus my energy elsewhere. I understand that there are no laws that require companies to send notice; I am simply appealing to whatever human decency they may have.

Leaving a person in limbo is cruel. I'm not asking anyone to print a postcard, put postage on it and mail it to me; an e-mail would suffice. I'm asking them to push a few buttons on a keyboard. If they are afraid that they are going to hurt my feelings, let me assure them that I can handle it.

I want to acknowledge that there are some companies who are treating applicants with dignity and respect -- in my experience, about one in 10. I especially want to thank the hiring manager who took the time to call me when I didn't get the job and who gave me feedback for future reference.

I've been job-hunting for nine months and have been on dozens of interviews, and this has happened exactly once. It made me want to work for that company even more.

As I've glanced through hundreds of corporate websites over the past nine months, I've seen "respect for people" as a corporate value at almost every company I've researched. How they treat me as an applicant speaks louder than anything they say on their website.

So is there an etiquette for recruiting in 2012? I'm not sure there is.


Anna Marie Brace lives in Shakopee.