We’ve all been there… submitting a resume for that perfect job, and then waiting for a response… and waiting. We send a second follow-up inquiry, or make a call, but we never hear back. Stop for a moment and think about what kind of impression this left on you about that business. Would you apply again for a different position? Would you give them your business? For most people, the answers to both questions are “probably not”. So why do companies operate this way? Is it so hard to shoot out an email response that says, “Hey, thanks so much for applying, but we’ve gone with another candidate.”?
No, it’s not hard, it just takes a little time, and often in the fast pace at which the hiring process moves, communication with rejected candidates isn’t seen as a priority. I hope that this article will make managers think twice about the value of this communication, though.
From the candidate’s perspective, nothing is worse than being stuck in the limbo of waiting for the phone to ring. Invariably, they would rather hear that they have not been selected than to keep wondering. This phase, particularly if it is extended, can leave a candidate with a sour taste in their mouth regarding the position, the hiring manager, and the company. The impression that the company leaves applicants with may range from disorganized, to uncaring and apathetic toward applicants. People want to work for, and patronize, companies that value them as individuals.
So how can companies stand out in their hiring process and convert applicants into brand loyalists? It boils down to communication and organization. The hiring process should be mapped out before it is begun, and at each decision point, there should be communication with all applicants, whether they are selected to move forward in the process or not. This communication should convey:
- Respect & appreciation for the time that the applicant took to apply for the position
- Timeline for the next decision point, and when to expect the next communication
- Invitation for the applicant to engage with the company on social media, and even if not accepted for this position, to apply again for future openings
These communications can be in the form of a “canned” email that is sent to all applicants (personalize the name!) in the early stages, but once the applicant pool is narrowed to less than ten, a personal email is in order. Less than five? Make the phone call.
Companies who pay close attention to their communication with applicants have a much easier time attracting top candidates, and capitalize on the opportunity to convert rejected applicants into advocates for their brand.