Stop Fooling With Candidates and Respond to Their Applications

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Applying for a job and never hearing back from the company is like asking someone to marry you and having the person simply look over your shoulder, as if you didn’t just offer a proposal.

Sometimes, all one needs is a response; a simple “yay” or “nay” to release them from the agony of possibility and free their soul from the pit of false hope. Your failure to respond sends a message, perhaps not the one you intended to send but a message nonetheless.

The job market can be an ugly place, especially for someone who has been out of work for a while. Why make that endeavor even more challenging by overlooking an applicant’s submission?

How a failure to respond impacts your brand

This individual took the time to apply for a job with your company: submitted a tailored cover letter indicating their interest in the position, created a resume that highlights their relevant experience, produced a list of willing references, answered accompanying questions, and then crickets.

How’s that working out for you? More specifically, how is it impacting your brand?

Research shows that 44 percent of job seekers who don’t receive a response from an employer after applying for a job adopt an unfavorable view of the company. And it gets better: 80 percent of those respondents are prepared to share their negative experience with others.

Just how will they communicate this bad news? Try word-of-mouth, social media sites, job boards and interactive forums (the very places you’re looking for talent and employee referrals), eventually leading you to hire a dedicated PR team to patch the gaping hole in your brand.

The worst part is you could have avoided this kind of attack. An overlooked element of damage control is prevention. Don’t let it happen in the first place – if you can help it – and the good news is, you can.

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Yes, EVERYONE is busy

HR professionals are busy. That is totally understandable, but guess what? So is everybody else.

That woman who completed your 90-minute application process has an energetic toddler she must tend to and managed to squeeze in time to apply for the job while her little one was sleeping. That man who answered your 28 mandatory screening questions and submitted his resume through your career site splits his time between a part-time job, online classes, an ailing mother and seeking full-time employment.

These resumes come from human beings who have obligations just like you. Many of them have limited time and resources just like you. They have hopes and dreams just like you.

Think about the people behind that flood of applications. They need and deserve a response.

This article was originally published on the HireFuel blog.

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9 Comments on “Stop Fooling With Candidates and Respond to Their Applications

  1. Shirell, thanks for this brief and pointed post. I’ve written about this issue THREE times on my blog, because it bothers me that much. Damage to brand is a reality, but companies who behave this way won’t be convinced, it seems. But I can tell you that in my head is a list of organizations to whom I won’t donate money or otherwise patronize because I don’t like the way they treat applicants. It’s that simple.

  2. I really appreciate this. There is truly very little less frustrating than spending an hour on an ATS application and never hearing from that company again. Or, if your system can generate an email to tell me my application was received, why does it not at least generate an email to tell me I’m no longer in consideration? It is definitely something that adds to the general malaise of some jobseekers.

  3. Amen! I made it to the second round of interviews for a position that for both interviews they were very tight with the timeframe (asking me if I could come in the next day for an interview). Additionally, each interview comprised of me meeting with 4 people the first time and three people the second. All who had behavior based interview questions. As someone who hires, I hate these and have managed to hire fantastic staff without using them. Mind you, this was not a huge Fortune 500 company but a midsize nonprofit organization with maybe 50 staff. After the second interview I never heard a word. “End rant.”

  4. ‘Love me or hate me but don’t ignore me’ – Anonymous.
    As a candidate, I appreciate and respect when a company reply that my profile isn’t matching or not successful this time; that didn’t hurt but ignoring!

  5. It’s truly astounding how common this is, too! It’s ridiculous. There’s no good reason for it, but companies still do it because its sooo common that they feel they can get away with it.

  6. I work for a small (130 employees) Company where I do everything HR. We don’t have a fancy application process and most of the time we post jobs on Craigslist where I get literally hundreds of resumes for just 1 position. Right now we have 8 open positions, so you can imagine how much of my time is spent weeding through resumes. Also, our Company email system does not allow us to hit ‘reply’ to the email address populated by Craiglist, we have to type in the direct email address of the person. Can anyone recommend how to handle this type of situation? It is impossible for me to respond to candidates.

    1. Hi CAHR. I don’t know how everyone else feels, but I wouldn’t expect you to respond to every applicant. (Exception–if you’ve put together some behemoth application that takes employees several hours to complete, that’s different). However, anyone you interview about the job deserves to know the outcome.

  7. I’m not that bothered if a company doesn’t let me know I’m not being considered at application stage, but if I’ve gone to an interview (which often involves actual expenditure – not just time, but fares – one interview cost me more than £30 in fares) I think it is only good manners to let me know something even if it is just a yea or a nay.

  8. I think people who had or still have this bad experience time can really understand this article and this is exactly what they think. I think this is a realistic article Shirell.
    Good job.

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