Be Polite and Treat Your Candidates Right

Recruiters and hiring managers are a company’s bridge to the outside world. With so many different responsibilities to tend to daily, it can be easy to let seemingly minor details – like responding to your job applicants and candidates — slide. However, as tedious as it may seem, you owe it to the people who spend their time trying to earn a spot with your company — even if you have no interest in hiring them.

The key ingredient to effectively responding to candidates? As usual, it all comes down to communication, which is too often at a subpar level when it comes to keeping candidates in the loop. When someone applies to your company online, you should have an automated message that thanks them for their time. That message should specifically say something along the lines of, “We receive many applications and will reach out if we would like you to continue with our hiring process.” This at least gives the applicant a concrete idea of how your company conducts its hiring process. While applicants often complain about the “resume black hole,” it simply may not be feasible to respond individually to every applicant to let them know if they will continue in the process.

Do everything in your power to move your process along quickly. Especially in a tight employment market like today’s, no benefit comes from keeping your top applicants waiting and wondering if they are being considered.  Delay will only risk these individuals being contacted/hired by other companies. You want to see initiative and responsiveness from your candidates, but it’s a two-way street.

Once you have started interviewing, don’t leave your candidates in the dark. Let them know the specific steps in your process, such as multiple interviewers, assessment, references, background check, etc., as well as your expected timeline. There is nothing more frustrating for an enthusiastic candidate than being called in for an interview and not hearing back for weeks (or at all) afterward.  If you were not impressed by a candidate and they don’t make your short list, you should immediately alert them that you are moving in a different direction. No one wants to be left hanging, and doing so makes your company seem inconsiderate and disrespectful of others’ time.

It’s important to remember that candidates are evaluating your company as much as you are evaluating them. You should treat them like you’d treat a guest in your home — not an unwanted telemarketer or door-to-door salesman. Just as a candidate can say or do something that turns you off to them, your mistreatment of the candidate or slow response time can turn them off to you.

Anyone who has been hopeful about landing a job — but never heard back from the company –will tell you that they felt insulted and disrespected. You may not think it’s crucial to respond to every candidate, but word spreads quickly, especially in the age of social media. Don’t do your applicants (and your brand) a disservice by neglecting people who are earnestly attempting to land a job.

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