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McMillan: Job applicants deserve more respect from employers

Collegian | Trin Bonner

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

I assume employers hold themselves to some sort of standard, but it’s certainly nowhere near the standard to which they hold job applicants.


When you apply for a job, you take a chance. You put yourself out there. You invest time and effort in your application. You open yourself up to disappointment.

And more often than not — unless you’re far more capable and job worthy than I am — disappointment is all you get. Of course, rejection is always a letdown, but I particularly take issue with the speed and civility with which employers deliver rejection.

The problem is that the speed is slow and the civility is bare.

I have a great example from my own life. I’m not going to name-drop the large media and entertainment company that most recently spurned me because I’m still grieving about how they apparently hated my heartfelt cover letter. It would bring me too much pain to type the letters N-B-C-U-N-I-V-E-R-S-A-L.

This unspecified corporation published an internship opportunity with an early October 2023 deadline. I read the detailed description, polished my resume and wrote the most scrumptious cover letter ever conceived by the human mind. I noted the application submission deadline, which specified not only a date but a time, and turned in my materials before that precise, unambiguous, explicitly stated moment.

“The main problem is that corporate culture has trained us to accept low-quality treatment, as there’s not really any way to retaliate against a company that won’t hire you.”

In response, the unmentioned company sent an email reading, “Our team carefully reviews each application to identify the best matches for our roles. Due to volume of applicants, this process could take up to six weeks. ”

Six weeks sounds fine and dandy to me. Considering the grand size of the mystery business and the desirability of the internship, I was among surely hundreds or even thousands of applicants. It makes sense that it would take some time to get through so many candidates.

Take some time it did. But six weeks? How foolish of me to think that was true.

It was 15 weeks. Nearly three times what the unspoken institution promised.


By that time, I assumed I had been thrown aside as one discards wilted lettuce, and for all intents and purposes, I was.

Job applicants deserve more. Like I said before, applying for a job requires an investment of time, resources and emotion with no guaranteed payoff. That is partially the nature of the process, but employers can and should do more to show respect and consideration for applicants.

If potential employees have to adhere to a deadline, employers should as well. An employer should give applicants a specific day by which they will send out hiring decisions. To me, “when Mars retrogrades” is better than the wishy-washy “within six weeks.” How can employers be entrusted with their employees’ livelihoods if they can’t keep to their own schedule?

It’s understandable that employers cannot perfectly predict how long it will take to review every application. They might expect a hundred and receive a thousand. I have a simple solution: The moment the application deadline has passed, count how many applications were submitted, and if you got more than anticipated, send an email to the applicants with a new response time estimate. Communication is key.

This timeliness issue is just one way employers disrespect applicants; I’ve experienced ill-prepared interviewers and shady compensation information as well. The main problem is that corporate culture has trained us to accept low-quality treatment, as there’s not really any way to retaliate against a company that won’t hire you. Potential employees are supposed to just be grateful to be considered at all.

Perhaps one day, corporate employers will gain some sense of courtesy, hopefully before I rise to the highest ranks of the unidentified establishment and reform it from within.

Reach Adah McMillan at or on Twitter @mcadahmillan

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About the Contributors
Adah McMillan, Copy Chief
Adah McMillan is the copy chief for The Collegian and is enthusiastic for another year working with the copy desk. McMillan is a junior majoring in journalism and media communications and minoring in computer science. She hails from Longmont, Colorado. As copy chief, McMillan safeguards the readability and credibility of The Collegian. She works with the night editor and other copy editors to edit all print and online articles for grammar, style and accuracy. Editing is one of McMillan’s favorite things to do. She loves being involved in The Collegian’s production and learning about Colorado State University and the Fort Collins community as she edits content. McMillan also enjoys playing the piano, rereading her favorite books, rewatching her favorite shows and drinking Coke Zero. When she isn’t being thusly sedentary, she’s walking around campus to soak in some sunlight and daydream about moving to Thailand. McMillan often says it’s hard for her to think about her future career because she already works her dream job. The Collegian is a community of passionate, intelligent people working for the grand cause of student journalism, and McMillan is thrilled to take part in that purpose.
Trin Bonner, Illustration Editor
Trin Bonner is the illustration editor for The Collegian newspaper. This will be her third year in this position, and she loves being a part of the creative and amazing design team at The Collegian. As the illustration editor, Bonner provides creative insight and ideas that bring the newspaper the best graphics and illustrations possible. She loves working with artists to develop fun and unique illustrations every week for the readers. Bonner is a fourth-year at Colorado State University studying electronic arts. She loves illustrating and comic making and has recently found enjoyment in experimental video, pottery and graphic design. Outside of illustration and electronic art, Bonner spends her free time crocheting and bead making. She is usually working on a blanket or making jewelry when she is not drawing, illustrating or brainstorming.

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