Top Five Worst Hiring Trends of 2009

"I'd love to see an end to the recruiter calls for positions that don't exist," said Paul Riddell from Dallas, a technical writer and Web designer who recently gave up the job hunt to open his own plant nursery.

"I'm talking about the situations where a recruiter calls up frantic over 'a really exciting opportunity' but can't say anything about the position over the phone. It's only after a face-to-face interview and two hours spent filling out applications that you realize that the recruiter is just trying to fill a contact database -- and that the recruiter has as many actual positions available as he or she has brain cells."

Endless Interview Loops

Some hiring teams have elevated finickiness to a new art form. Just ask Jonathan, a search engine optimization specialist in San Diego who's waiting to hear if he successfully clinched a position for which he spent 10 weeks interviewing.

"This hiring process has been insane," Jonathan said. "I'm used to meeting with multiple people during the interview process, but my average over the past 10 years has included one or two phone interviews followed by a final in-person interview."

Instead, his bid for the position has taken six interviews: three one-hour phone calls and three half-day meetings at the employer's office. All in all, he's spent about 15 hours interviewing with 17 different people at the firm, including a presentation he was asked to give company executives on how he would improve their Web site.

"I've gone from being thoroughly enchanted by [the company] and the position to feeling annoyed and afraid that everything [there] is going to be bureaucratic, slow-paced, micro-managed and excessively time-consuming," Jonathan said.

No Follow-Up with Finalists

Candidates know HR departments and hiring managers are beyond busy. Between their job hunt, volunteer work and the part-time cashier position they took to make ends meet, candidates are spread thin too. That's why it drives them bonkers when a company they've interviewed with fails to tell them whether they got the job.

For candidates who've made it through a couple rounds of interviews and have been told that they'd need to start ASAP if hired, this radio silence is especially frustrating, said Jeffrey Deutsch, a Seattle-based life coach who works with job seekers.

"People deserve to know one way or the other whether or not they need to clear their calendars," he said.

Julie Yoder, who teaches English as a second language in Washington, D.C., agrees.

"You call in an attempt to get some kind of information so you can decide where to put your energy, and they act like you have some nerve to be bothering them," said Yoder, who grew so frustrated with the job hunt that she started her own business.

"Following up with applicants has gone the way of RSVP'ing for parties. No one does it anymore."

This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

Michelle Goodman is a freelance journalist and former cubicle dweller. She is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube". For more information, see

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