Treat Your Also-rans Well
In most cases, recruiting and hiring is a long, drawn-out process. When you’ve finally selected that promising candidate, made them an offer, and they have accepted, what is your procedure for communicating with all the other applicants? Do you ignore them? Send them a brief note of regret? Have your HR person contact them? Or do you or the hiring manager call them personally? How you treat the also-rans says a lot about your firm.
Online job boards and recruiting tools have left firms vulnerable to receiving dozens, even hundreds, of applications from mostly unqualified candidates. Many employers choose to ignore them, without even a form email acknowledgement. For those candidates who are just fishing, that may not matter. On the other hand, for those applicants who have taken the time to customize their application to your position posting, no reply is a slap in the face. Even if they don’t meet all your qualifications, they should get some kind of acknowledgement for their interest and effort.
When it comes to candidates you have contacted, screened and interviewed, things get more personal. Whatever the reason you choose not to make them an offer, they deserve a follow-up from you or the contact person managing the hiring process. Employers are understandably reluctant to speak with a candidate who has not been selected for fear of getting into an unpleasant conversation as to why they were not hired. But an impersonal email can leave the candidate with a bad impression of the firm that they may well pass on to others. The next time you hire, you may have fewer promising candidates to choose from. Instead, provide positive feedback and, if appropriate, let them know you may have an interest in contacting them at some point in the future for a more suitable position. Your firm will gain a reputation as one that really cares about its employees and a desirable place to work.