Many employers consider the recruitment process to be complete once the chosen candidate has accepted the positioned offered to them. For each of the applicants, successful or not, closure comes only once they have received a communication from their potential employer.

How many times have you left messages for someone and not heard a peep in return? What was your reaction? Were you angry? Did you mutter, “How rude!” I’m going to go out on a not too distant limb here and surmise that you did exactly that. It’s annoying isn’t it? When you cannot get a response to your query? Put yourself in the shoes of a hopeful job applicant. You have actively sought them out, they have spent time labouring over their resume and application letter, putting their best foot forward as the job description demanded, and you ignore them! I can’t imagine that they would think too highly of your organisation, nor apply for a role with you again. Too bad for you if they’re a super star of the future.

Now a candidate does not always need a blow by blow description as to why their application was not successful. In this day and age, it is not uncommon for one position to attract hundreds of applications. It is common, regardless of how many applications are received, that only a handful is interviewed. This being the case, those that do not make the cut to be interviewed, a standard rejection letter, or email as is practical now, can be sent to those who failed to make it past the first round. Following from this point, communications tend to become more personal. And so they should, you have established a connection that goes beyond the written word.

Now despite everything moving at high speed and no one ever having any spare time anymore, it is not an excuse to ignore your job applicants!! Rejecting unsuccessful candidates is an important part of the recruitment process and silence is not the answer. Failing to communicate sends a very LOUD message. Whether that message is interpreted correctly or not will manifest itself in the response to the next position you post. That is to say, you will attract fewer applicants in the future. If you’re asking why, I will explain…your rejected applicants now think they are not worthy because they are not qualified…your applicants, aka your customers, no longer want to align themselves with an organisation that does not epitomise their values of customer service…your unsuccessful applicants have just told their 230 Facebook friends that your company sucks! If you only hire one employee per annum, the damage is less felt. If you’re a large company hiring fifty new recruits each year, how many disgruntled applicants are now out there, spreading their negative thoughts of your organisation, all over social media? It’s the digital age people. No one can hide anymore.

Whether an applicant is lacking experience, are one of a thousand interested in the role, or the job was a forgone conclusion before it was advertised, this age of technology can actually help you to reach out and communicate quickly and effectively with unsuccessful applicants, thus avoid their negative counterattack. And some companies do this really well. They have a staged communication process that conveys the receipt of the application, through to an explanation of the interview process moving forward, and concludes with a communication as to the success or failure of the candidate’s ability to be awarded the job. Some of these communications are automated, but almost always involve a combination of written and verbal communications. Regardless of how the message is delivered, you have made the effort to correspond with the applicant and they can now be at ease as to where they stand in the recruitment process.

Hiring a new employee isn’t simply about filling a position, it’s also about the candidates experience with your company. Think about it. Looking for a job is hard work. Not being successful on multiple occasions is even harder. Having your application fall into a black hole and never be responded to, well that’s just plain disrespectful. The lingering feeling of rejection is often shared and the loser, well it’s not just the applicant but the organisation who failed to communicate! So even if an application is unsuccessful, a simple and timely communication will preserved your reputation, your brand, and your pool of future candidates. And that is worth finding a little extra time.

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