My dear John, my candidate
Really, what’s with you mate?
You haggled & took the job offer
Then ghosted and did us fob off
Morally, is that the right etiquette?
A Dear John letter is a written communication in which the letter writer ends a relationship with the recipient. The term was popularized during World War II when many Americans spent years away from home. A letter written to impart the bad news of the end of the relationship would start in a formal way, such as “Dear John.” (John, being the most common first name of adult males during the 1940s).
After a series of interesting recruitment attempts gone wrong, wherein potential candidates backed out unscrupulously and unfeelingly, I paused to give thought to the Dear John letter concept and soliloquized to myself that perhaps it was time to write one such generic letter to errant candidates. So, here it is, dedicated to all who fit the bill!
Thank you for your interest in the position you so eagerly applied for. Your initial enthusiasm and comportment, along with a feigned passion for the job on offer sure pulled the wool over our eyes. What we missed out on was that it was all an act, worthy of perhaps being nominated for the ‘Recruitment Oscars,’ if ever there was any. What we failed to pick in our interactions with you was that in your case ‘still waters run deep.’ (a euphemism from Shakespeare’s King Henry VI – part 2, referring to a deceitful person)
Your ‘Benedict Arnold’ like behaviour has sure hurt our company… we wait for months for candidates like you who sign on, and then, a day or two before joining, express their inability to join for ludicrous reasons. Your recruitment cost is something we bear with nary a protest, and while we spend our resources wastefully on you, you earn more by using our offer and negotiating a better salary on the strength of our letter of intent. (Either with your present company or even with another opportunity!)
You send a WhatsApp message or email to communicate your last-minute decision, but do you not know that to be an upstanding human, it is best to face us live, by calling and speaking to us instead? To top it all, you are then incommunicado thereafter! Is it playing the game, I ask? What if the shoe was on another foot, where, God forbid, you were to receive a “Dear John Letter” from your loved one? Would you then, not have preferred your loved one to have faced up to you and given you the good ‘ole brusheroo in person?
In hindsight, we are grateful for your act, as it has strengthened our recruitment process and style. It has made us that much smarter to spot the decoys and fakes in the future, from amidst a sea of potential candidates. It would be foolhardy on our part to forecast that people with guile, as you so well concealed, will never get through our fishing net; but yes, we are working towards identifying and throwing back the unwanted fish into the sea of recruits. Experience makes us wiser, and we have incongruous candidates like you to thank for this.
Are you familiar with the poem by Dale Wimbrow titled ‘The Guy in the Glass’ written in 1934? Allow me to quote you a couple of verses from it:
When you get what you want in your struggle for pelf,
And the world makes you King for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that guy has to say.
For it isn’t your Father, or Mother, or Wife,
Who judgement upon you must pass.
The feller whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the guy staring back from the glass.
Companies will come and go, and so will candidates. Many have learned that ‘bucking’ a company never makes sense, for the world is round, and our sins have a way of catching up on us. If you feel that your cozenage is now ‘water under the bridge,’ and you lightly disdain your act of elusion, then you have another think coming!
I am pretty positive that you have been taught not to burn your bridges. Well, my friend, for you, this bridge has burned, and while it may seem that you have rejected us, in truth, you have only eluded us… and now, our company has rejected you!
Nevertheless, with a heart of compassion, we wish you an honest and ethical future, where you may be able to look back confidently at the guy staring back from the glass!