Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Why The Customer Really Is Always Right

We've all heard the stories, or experienced them ourselves: customers are assholes. They make ludicrous demands, they don't read the menu, they make mistakes and blame you for them. This is why the phrase "the customer is always right" will just send service professionals, past and present, into absolute hives.

Of course the customer isn't always right. If they ordered salmon, you bring salmon, and they say they wanted beef, they aren't right. You know what they said. And they shouldn't get goddamn free beef for being an asshole.

OK, everyone, take a deep breath. Chill out. Because you're not going to like what I say next.

You're wrong. The customer really is always right.

The proper way to view that trite colloquialism is not as a literal truth, but as something even higher than that: a mantra.

The thing is, your job isn't to accurately take an order, deliver that order, and move on to the next customer. Your job is to create a customer experience so awesome that said customer wants to come back every time they have the dimes to spare.

OK, sure, that's not necessarily your job. But it should be. Any restaurant, shop or salon worth its salt should make that your job, because it's the best way to stand out in a crowded marketplace.

The benefits to this mantra go beyond the customer or the bottom line. Ultimately, this is how the employee gets satisfaction. Living this idea is how you go from being spit on, sworn at, insulted, under-tipped and generally disrespected into finding a deep gratification in your job.

The science tells us over and over again that it isn't money that makes a happy employee (or, at least, that's not the most important factor). People want autonomy, and we want importance. We all want to have a job where we believe in our hearts that we're doing good, important work, and we want to be able to decide, to some extent, what the best way is to do that work.

Thus, the true power behind "The Customer Is Always Right" is the sense of ownership.

When my job is to take your order, give you your food, and move quickly on to the next person, I accomplish a lot of goals, and for most customers, that's totally fine. And when I have an asshole customer that is demanding, mean, duplicitous or otherwise horrible, I see them as throwing a wrench in my whole operation. "You're preventing me from doing my job, which is to get you in and the fuck out of here with food in your hands."

But when your job is to ensure an awesome customer experience, the kind that keeps people coming back, it re-frames the whole thing. Suddenly, what matters is that you have a really unhappy customer in front of you, and that person is not likely to come back.

And honestly, generally, assholes are not that hard to please. They usually tell you exactly what they want. And if your manager has empowered you with the tools to make that happen, it becomes a matter of getting over it and giving it to them.

Sure, an asshole should not just get free beef for being an asshole. And if that person does the same thing multiple times, yeah, it's your manager's job to deal with them in a way that may or may not ensure they don't come back.

But often, an asshole isn't an asshole because they're a bad or duplicitous person. Sometimes, they've just had an awful day. Sometimes, their steak really is just terrible. Sometimes, they really mean to order beef and they barely even remember saying the word "salmon" and they didn't mean it and they're mad at themselves. You'd be amazed how quickly a friendly server who just makes the thing they want happen without a hassle, without side-eye and without guilt-tripping will turn those people into nice, happy, generous tippers (and repeat customers).

I had the happiness of experiencing this sort of autonomy in the fast food industry for one year, and I can testify to its transformational powers. Employees were happy and genuinely liked their jobs. We were allowed to throw in a free large fry if the order took a little long, without management approval. We were allowed to re-make a shake if the person just wasn't happy with the flavor. If I was wiping tables, casually asking diners if everything was good, and some hesitated or didn't seem happy, I was encouraged to find out what the issue was and make it better.

And as silly as it may sound to someone who has never worked in that kind of environment before, I was really happy to provide people with a really tasty meal and a positive experience, and I felt like I was doing good in the world (despite all the arteries I was clogging). Best of all, when you create a work environment based on positivity, on welcome, on the idea that the only difference between someone's bad day and someone's good day is literally you, there can be no oppression. Happiness fosters inclusivity and diversity because if you are committed to owning the happiness of the people around you, everyone becomes happier. It may be a tautology, but it's true, and companies like Amazon and Zappos have proven that not only is it true, but it's profitable.

But this sort of transformation, this sort of satisfaction, cannot happen unless you truly believe, in your heart, that the customer is always right. It's good for the company, it's good for the employee, and it's good for the customer, but it's expensive in the short term so it doesn't happen much. And that's a shame, because there are few tools as powerful as the idea that the customer is always right. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Are You Responding To People? And Additionally, WHY NOT?!

Seriously guys.

I feel like this should go without saying, because it really should be obvious, but if a recruiter, networker, eager college student, former co-worker, or whatever contact you with an opportunity, or to ask a favor, you should respond to them.

I'm not saying you have to do whatever they ask. I'm just saying you should shoot something back.

If a recruiter contacts you wanting you to apply for a job, you certainly don't have to apply. But unless you're getting dozens of contacts a day (and perhaps even if you are), you should write them back anyway, thanking them for the offer, and telling them what you do want (whether that's other kinds of job opportunities, or just to be left alone for now, or to be left alone forever).

If a networker wants a favor, again, you totally don't have to do it. But you should write them to let them know (and if you have the time or inclination, let them know why).

Like I said before, this is something that I think should go without saying: sticking with a basic level of business etiquette not only preserves your reputation, but keeps doors open for peeking your head through  in the future. You don't know what 'future you' will want. And that eager but annoying college student could be the next

Or they could just not realize that they're being annoying, and you've lost a great opportunity for a one-email mentorship: showing them that professionals respond to people, and maybe telling them what they're doing wrong.

But I'm writing this because this is not happening now, at least as far as I can tell.

I coordinate hiring for my workplace, and I've reached out to a decent number of people about available positions and internships. This includes people I know, and people I don't know. The vast majority are more or less entry-level; either current college students, recent grads, or people with just a few years experience.

And most of them (yes, most of them) never respond. Not even a "Thanks for thinking of me!" Not even people I know personally, not even on messages sent via Facebook where it tells you that the other person saw the message. 

This boggles my mind. Is this normal? Am I the weird one? Is it just that we young people consider it OK to ignore any type of communication, since we can freely screen calls and ignore IM's in ways our parents never could?

It can't be. Because that would be silly.

If it's a sales pitch, sure, it's standard to dump those (especially ones that can reasonably be considered spam). Or if it's a recruiter that you've interacted with before to negative effect (though I'd still argue it's better to send them a "I'm not interested, please don't contact me again" at that point), fine. But a real message from a real person?

What do you think? Am I a total nutter to want a "Thanks, but I'm set!" instead of radio silence?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Do You Really Need To Be An Expert To Hire?

This is a question I think about a lot. See, I'm interested in being a recruiter as a long-term career thing. But there is an attitude beginning to take shape in many corners of the Recruiterverse that there pretty much shouldn't be a job called "Recruiter." Or at least, that a Recruiter should be someone who is well versed and experienced in a particular field, and is not qualified to hire anyone outside of that field.

And there is some merit to this idea. Check out this recent interview with Laszlo Bock, Google's Senior Vice President for People Operations (which sounds like the coolest HR department ever).

The first paragraph is the operative one: looking across all their recruitment operations, there was almost nobody who showed any kind of ability to hire well. The exception was one guy, who was really good at hiring people in a specific niche field, and it was apparently because he's the world's foremost expert on that niche field.

So where does that leave hiring? It seems like, if you have an expert in your midst (as ideally most companies do), you want them to maximize the amount of time they're spending doing the thing they're an expert in. I think the idea of having your best people be the front lines of hiring is kinda silly.

I understand being concerned about wasting a good candidate's time, because good candidates can be hard to come by, and they need to be wooed. However, there is a much more significant cost to wasting a really good employee's time, particularly if they don't happen to be super into the hiring process. What if your expert hates hiring and recruiting? Can you really rely on them to field good candidates if they really just want to get back to their real work?

Imagine the most productive, most intelligent, or most capable people on your teams being sent 200 applications to sift through every time there is an open position. There *must* be a place for the front-line recruiter. The one who sends the most promising applicants to that expert to pick the best ones. Maybe there is even value to having an initial phone screening done by front-line people.

I think this is especially important at the entry level. The kinds of jobs that really do have 50 fully qualified applicants. If you, as a candidate, can't use a one page cover letter to explain to a layman (me) how you are qualified for an entry-level (or slightly above) job, then you have failed the cover letter. That has nothing to do with bad recruiting.

The common fallback excuse that HR recruiters and screeners don't really understand the jobs they are recruiting for, and thus they reject qualified applicants, falls apart. If a hiring manager can't explain the various things they need in an entry level-ish position, then they have failed at the job description. Because, yes, the job description is supposed to be a guide to the various qualifications that should be sought in a candidate for the position. That's also not on the HR person. That's on the hiring manager.

I totally get that that could be a real problem in mid-to-high level jobs. It could be hard to understand the intricacies of a high level position if it is totally outside your realm of comfort, and that could making hiring slightly more difficult. I still think, at this level, you could reasonably have an HR person do your first level resume screening, assuming you have written a decent job description and perhaps an internal list of qualifications (again, not that hard).

But I really think that most of the jobs that people are complaining about, the ones where an ATS kicked them out because it didn't think they fit, or where they didn't make it past the first level of screening, are likely low level jobs with a LOT of candidates. Remember, it's not the recruiters job to identify every single person who could do a job; it's their job to identify the single best one in the applicant pool. 

So, yeah. You could totally be 100% qualified, per the job description, and be rejected out of hand. For any number of large or small reasons. That's not a flaw in the hiring process.

There are deep flaws in the hiring process today, where there are many qualified applicants being passed over and many jobs going unfilled. Many of those problems have an easy solution: fix your ATS. If you don't want it to filter out people with 4 years experience just because you said you wanted 5, don't set it to do that. It's software; I promise you can win that war. This is not a systemic problem. This does not indicate a problem to the level of encouraging people to completely circumvent HR based on the idea that it is a useless pile of recruitment dirt.

Remember, if your hiring managers are so damn good, you're paying them to do a job, not sift through resumes all day.

Absolutely, high-level hiring demands more involvement from experts in the field being hired for, not in recruiting. But I refuse to believe that I couldn't personally hire a great entry-to-mid-level IT person just because I don't know PHP. If PHP and Python are so similar that knowing one is good enough, put that in your goddamn job description. Yes, it requires training your HR people a little better in the fields they are hiring for. Did you somehow suspect it wouldn't?

But it sure beats telling your high-level rockstar that they need to be the front-line reviewer for the 230 people that applied for this entry-level job in their department. Don't you pay them too well to mess with that?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Why You're All Gonna Hate Me: The Working Families Flexibility Act

Despite the fact that, like, everyone I know hates it, I stand here, on the Internet, in favor of the Working Families Flexibility Act.

As many of you know, I'm pretty liberal. I'm downright collectivist. But I really, really, really hate how all sides of the political spectrum are apparently willing to deliberately misrepresent issues that they are opposed to, with the intent to get you to oppose it without understanding why.

I'll come right out and say it... Republicans are more often guilty of this. But man oh man, are the Dems having a ball with this new bill.

Basically, this bill would allow employees to opt for comp time in lieu of overtime for hours worked over 40 in a week (assuming that the employee is non-exempt, etc, etc).

The way liberals are telling it, this means that nobody will ever get any overtime compensation ever again. Bwahahaha!


Let me just explain the nuts and bolts of the bill, before we get into the real ephemeral bullshit reasons that Democrats oppose it. I'll even bold the important parts, and we'll hit them each one by one

This bill would allow employees to opt for comp time in lieu of overtime for hours worked over 40 in a week.

The first word bolded is employees. As in, employees can opt to have their overtime wages converted, so to speak, into comp time (paid time off, or PTO). Employers cannot make this election for employees under the letter of the law, as written in the bill.

The second bolded term is comp time. As in, instead of just taking time-and-a-half on their next check for hours worked over 40 in a week, an employee can instead elect to bank that time, and take it as paid time off (PTO) at some point later on, presumably when they are puking, or their kids are puking, or whatever.

I've selected as my third bolded term overtime, even though it's kind of tertiary, because there's a very important part of this bill that is being rampandantly ignored all over the place, and it deserved its own bolded term. And that is that, under the bill, comp time is accrued at time and a half.

Let me explain this in plainer terms.

Let's say you're a non-exempt private-sector worker, and one week you work 43 hours. Under current law, your employer is required to pay you 40 hours at your regular rate, and then pay you the equivalent of 4.5 hours at your regular rate for the 3 extra hours you worked (time and a half). This is just added to your check.

Under the proposed law, you (the employee) would have the option to a) take that overtime pay, same as you always have, or 2) be able to "bank" that 4.5 hours as comp time, which you can then request as paid time off from your employer next time you want to get some time off but still get paid.

I want to make this point perfectly clear before we move on: the value of the time is exactly the same. You will either get paid 4.5 hours worth of wages for 3 hours work when you work those 3 hours, or you will get paid 4.5 hours worth of wages in exchange for NOT working for 4.5 hours.

The only difference, the only reason that I can see to oppose this bill is that, if you take comp time instead of immediate overtime payout, you're essentially giving an interest-free loan to your employer (instead of having to immediately pay you 4.5 hours worth of wages, they get to defer paying you until... you ask them to). Which I do all the time for the government in the form of over-withholding so I can get a fat tax refund. My reaction to this is "meh?"

Under the bill, if you do take the comp time, you still have an absolute right to those wages. If you request to cash out your accrued PTO with your employer, they must do so within 30 days. Even if your employer is an asshole and never wants to let you actually take time off, you can still get that payout whenever you ask for it, including upon termination.

The AFL-CIO and others oppose the bill on the basis that people won't obey the law. Which, I mean, if you already don't care about getting DOL complaints leveled against you in relatively easy to prove ways, yeah, this bill will probably not stop the wage theft that's already happened. But they're two unrelated issues. More enforcement of existing law is probably a good idea. But liberals seem to be suggesting that employers that are currently shelling out for time and a half will, somehow, under this bill, just stop paying. That they'll somehow force employees to choose comp time, never let them take that comp time, and...

That's it. That's where the trail ends. I can totally buy that employers that are already lying and cheating to avoid paying overtime won't give comp time owed. But employers who are already compliant... what incentive to they have to suddenly start not being? Even given the "interest-free loan" angle, businesses that owe comp time still have that liability on their balance sheets. Is it really so much better to have a "loan" that an employee can call in absolutely any time they want? Is that really what employers who are already paying time and a half immediately are going to prefer?

Honestly, if this bill passes, very little would change. Your average McDonald's worker will see absolutely no difference. Large swaths of non-exempt workers are barred from getting overtime, period, and that won't change because comp time is just as expensive to employers as overtime. 

There is a demographic of worker that this would help, though: ones that have busy times where they're expected to work 50 hours a week, and then have slumps where they might get 10 hours a week. Some people budget for that just fine, but there are many others who would prefer adding that "extra" pay to slow times to even out their income a little. In other words, the very evil that the AFL-CIO warned against in the article I linked to above: 

"...employers would be able to pay workers nothing at all for overtime work at the time the work is performed and could schedule comp time off at no extra cost to them (for example, during less busy periods when co-workers can pick up the slack."

For those of you who haven't been an hourly worker in awhile, "less busy periods" means "times when employees aren't getting many hours," which means "times when employees would love to get a boost to their otherwise meager paychecks." The doomsday scenario that the AFL-CIO warns against is exactly what many hourly workers would love to have happen. 

So I don't get it. Ya'll are welcome to argue with me in the comments; if there's something I'm missing, by all means, let me know what it is. But I've been searching for a few days now, and I'm just not seeing why people are referring to this as an assault on labor rights. It's just not. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Scourge of "Membership" Cards

I "get" the concept of the membership card. Really, I do.

Pictured is my own personal Mitt Romney card, identifying me as a financial supporter of his 2012 presidential bid. It's a very nice card; thick, but not glossy like credit cards are. Name in raised print any everything.

I carried that card in my actual wallet for like six actual months, despite the fact that I absolutely despise Mitt Romney and would not vote for him under any circumstances. I donated to his campaign because they were running one of those "Give $5 to be entered into a drawing to win lunch with Mitt" things. And I thought that would be a goddamn laugh riot, and well worth a $5 investment.

And I kept it, and showed it off. Everyone thought it was hilarious.

Now, contrast that with the "membership" card I received from the DCCC or DNC or perhaps the DSCC... I think I've gotten cards this year from all three, despite the fact that 1) I've only ever donated to one of those orgs, and I couldn't tell you which one, and I've told them all, during one of their many calls, that I won't ever donate to them again, and 2) I certainly haven't donated to any of them in 2013, which is the year emblazoned on my "membership" card.

Similarly, I got such a card last week from the NAACP, an organization I might have gladly supported if they hadn't engaged in this dumb shit.

For one, these cards were all really crappy. Where Mittens had some production value, these were flimsy little bits of plasticized paper. They didn't even have my name printed on them. The only card I have of worse quality is my voter card, which is fine, because the DC government doesn't need to be spending my lotto dollars on nice cards. Where something in my Mitt card so entranced me that I not only carried it in my wallet, but did so long after the election was over, these cheap cards went right into the recycling.

Secondly, and relatedly, these cards (which are really just a different kind of premium, something tangible to put in people's hands to make them think a transaction, rather than a donation, happened) are supposed to instill pride. You should be so proud of your support of x organization that you want to show it off, to have the EMT checking your wallet for identification to say "Wow, this is a really great guy."

There is no pride associated with a card that you give to everyone, regardless of whether they've donated or not. When I know the NAACP has sent it's direct mail appeal to hundreds of thousands of people on whatever lists they bought, and that every single one of those people has one of these shitty cards indicating their "membership" or "support," which as yet is non-existent, the value of the card is completely lost. It feels cheap. It feels like what it is: the inexpensive gimmick they've chosen this time to try to pry open your wallet. Next time, it will be a different inexpensive gimmick.

So, guys, really. Membership cards can be a really effective means of engagement. But that only happens if you give the membership card to, you know, actual members.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Guest Post: Dave Wilbanks on Hiring

Hey! Today, I have a post from guest blogger Dave Wilbanks,currently teaching English in Konya, Turkey, on the hiring challenges of finding new recruits.

Bio: David Wilbanks is fascinated by most things, but firmly believes that they’d be even better in space. Because ink and paper are cheaper than rockets, he decided to write science fiction. He likes history, puppies, and nuclear-pulse propulsion. He dislikes gravity. A lot. He currently lives in Turkey with his Xbox, where he teaches English and studies Turkish. He occasionally finds time to write.

I’m going to talk about the last three applicants we considered at Hasdil, the school I work at. Like most language schools, the requirements are pretty much a passport from an English speaking nation and whatever minimum requirements the government has for a work permit/visa, unless there is an easy way around it. One language school in the Ukraine, for example, had no requirements because they were getting their teachers missionary visas. Obviously, having things like experience, extra degrees and sanity are a plus, but not required.

This is sensible, as the job is comparable to being a stage magician with really lame tricks (and POOF the sentence is now in the present perfect continuous tense). You have to be moderately amusing, and 90% of the students will hide amongst the herd every time you ask for audience participation (while one or two eagerly volunteer every single time). There is nothing about this job that really precludes an under-educated crazy person from excelling at it their first time.

I’m saying all of this to provide background. The job is damn easy, and there aren't many applicants (in fact, we'll probably be looking for someone in September, hit me up if you’re interested). I want to make it absolutely clear that to fail to obtain this job you have to be a pretty serious screw-up.

Let’s look at screw-up number one: This woman had a TEFL certificate (a good one, not a shitty online one like me), a degree in English (but not an MFA, like me) and at least five years of experience (not three months, like me). Then came the Skype interview. While many things were discussed, she repeatedly hit upon two points.

First, she repeatedly said, “I am used to a very high standard of living.” While it’s a bit different when you’re applying to a job where they pay for your accommodation, it’s still something you really shouldn't say. It essentially translates to “The accommodation you provide isn't shit, is it?” For a lot of ESL jobs, this is a pretty significant concern, as is the likelihood of being able to live off of what they’re paying. However, that isn't the way to ask. If you have questions of that nature, ask in specific, objective terms; “What size are the rooms?” “How far are they from the city center (centre)?” “Do they have air conditioning?” etc. For the general ones about the city, just use Google. Don’t waste your interviewer’s time.

The second point she made was that every one of her previous employers ripped her off. Again, it’s not all that uncommon in this field, but still probably something you don’t need to tell your interviewer. It not only comes across as a premature accusation, but generally suggests something is wrong with you. The possible reasons that you've been ripped off repeatedly are:

     1) You got fired and they didn't pay you your last month’s wages, as you were being escorted out of the country.

     2) You quit before your contract was up, so they didn't pay you all of your last month’s wages.

     3) They recognize that you’re a useless drunk/incompetent, and rather than firing you and dealing with the hassle of replacing you, they start paying you less with the intent to fire you if you ever say anything (only recently heard about this in Taiwan).

     4) Just bad luck.

While having shitty luck won’t hurt your employment chances, it won’t help them. You might as well tell the employer about how each year in high school you developed a really big zit the day before prom. The first three things will definitely hurt your chances, and are significantly more likely than the fourth.

Generally speaking, in an interview, you should really keep the conversation about topics relevant to the job. It seems like a no-brainer, but yeah. Also, try to appear sane. We still refer to her as “the crazy woman.”

To further impress upon you how desperate we were “the crazy woman” was actually hired. Fortunately, she got to Istanbul and sort of wandered off or something. Consequently, Hasdil had the pleasure of interviewing applicant number two.

Applicant number two illustrates what you should do in an interview. He was a charming, brilliant and sexy teacher with an MFA in writing, a BA in English, a TEFL certificate (shitty online one) and basically no experience. In the interview he excelled by asking specific questions about the job and accommodations, and talking about his previous jobs only to show that his experience, little as it was, served to perfectly prepare him for precisely this job (Yeah, that was me). Obviously, they hired me (otherwise I never would have heard the stories about the rejects).

The most recent applicant sounded like a shoe-in. Number three looked great on his resume. He’s a Brit, and worked at the Brighton branch, for the same school. Then my boss got an e-mail from him saying that he would need private accommodation away from the school, because he’s a writer and needs privacy to write (obviously an amateur). Hell, we have private rooms, and except for during the children’s classes, the place is pretty quiet. Aside from revealing himself to be a pretentious douche, he effectively asked for a 50% raise, prior to the interview.

What really makes applicant three so entertaining is the fact that he only worked part-time for the Brighton school, for a few weeks, before being fired. If you’ve been fired from a job, and want to lie about it, you will get away with it, in many cases, especially when you’re changing countries. However, it’s probably not a great idea if it’s THE SAME COMPANY.

So yeah, hopefully this has reassured anyone currently seeking a job. Some of your competitors are idiots, and that helps your odds. Also, again, we’ll be hiring soon. I’d continue to dither until coming up with a decent ending (as I usually do), but I’ve got class in five minutes and I need to prepare (by which I mean put my pants back on, have a smoke and locate the book).

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Candidate Black Hole: How much feedback is appropriate?

It's a fact that most candidates, when applying to most jobs, never hear anything back. It's not simply a matter of rejection; it's a matter of never hearing from the organization again. It's a chronic problem that, despite being easily solved, isn't.

In my day job, it's considered of primary importance to respond to every applicant. Yes, sometimes the process takes longer than we'd like, and yes, occasionally something strange happens where a candidate slips through the cracks (and the reasonably common scenario where we do respond, but it gets routed to the applicant's spam folder, which candidates are still apparently not checking, which is a huge mistake when job hunting). But, for the most part, people will hear back from us about whether they're being advanced in the process, or being rejected.

But this article from TLNT has me a bit perplexed. It seems to suggest that a form letter isn't good enough. That the new expectation is to provide personal feedback on every application.

That just doesn't seem like a good idea.

I mean, feedback is great. I would be happy to provide feedback on anyone's application that asks for it. However, at my current job, I have not one time ever been asked. No candidate has ever emailed me to ask what they were lacking, what they could have done better.

Now, I do think candidates probably would like to have that feedback, and most just don't know that it's OK to ask. I can see that. Or at least, I think most candidates think they want feedback.

Now, one thing I do get is surprisingly rude responses to my rejection emails. Most of the time, when I send a notification that a candidate is being rejected, I hear nothing back, which is fine. Occasionally, I get a polite "thanks for letting me know." Which is nice. But occasionally, I get the email implying that we're horrible or stupid (if not outright saying it) for not choosing them. Or some kind of comment like "Well, I'm surprised I didn't make it to an interview, but whatever." And I've gotten a phone call checking on the status of an application (after I'd emailed the candidate a week before), and when I told them that someone had been selected for the role, and I just hadn't sent notifications to the other candidates yet, the reply was "Well, a phone call would have been nice." Click.

It's flabbergasting that candidates behave this badly, and then expect that they are still promising candidates. You might have just not been a good fit for that position, but we would have been open to another application. Until you blacklisted yourself by being an asshole.

Ask a Manager has examples here and here of the kind of assholery that can come up (granted, rarely) with even a form rejection letter.

When you start sending each person the "here's what was wrong with you" letter, do we really think that that will go over well? There are plenty of people who can't take constructive criticism, and while I think it's really kind of noble for a hiring manager to subject themselves to the vitriol that would come with sending personal rejection letters in order to try to help candidates, it's really giving a lot of people the opportunity to get themselves blacklisted from a company when they, in a moment of desperation or anger, hit "reply."

Not to mention that sending 200 personal rejection emails, complete with feedback, becomes an exercise in using stock phrases trying not to offend, writing the same thing over and over again, and taking short cuts to make it so the process of rejecting people doesn't take longer than the process of advancing a small number of others. When apparently most employers can't even be convinced that form rejection emails are worth their time, good luck convincing them that they need to spend their time telling 50 strangers that their resume looks like crap in personalized emails.

Look, it would be great if we could all be grownups about the job search/hiring process. And yeah, getting that angry email in response confirms that the company made the right choice and they can avoid that candidate in the future. But as long as bad behavior abounds on both sides of the process, the idea that we can all be honest about why a candidate didn't reach the standard is perhaps a bit naive.