Success concept


Every time you recruit, you become a blip on the radar for hundreds if not thousands of job seekers, who all send off their CV in the hope that they will be noticed.

From an HR perspective, this creates a mammoth task, as they are charged with filtering the pool down to the best of the bunch. This process can be time consuming, and it’s tempting to throw your net as wide as possible, leaving applications open for weeks in order to increase your chances of finding the ‘perfect’ catch, but in doing this, you can leave those on the hunt waiting for too long.

Obviously, you cannot shrink your recruiting endeavours into week long projects, but leaving applicants in the dark for undefined amounts of time will result in loss of interest and frustration on the applicant’s part.

Not to mention your ideal candidate is likely a busy person with demands on their time, and treating them like they are just sitting at home waiting for your call will cause you to lose out on your golden opportunity.

Just Keep Talking

So how can we fix this? The key is communication. Much like if you were dealing with long distance clients, once you have engaged with an applicant, you need to keep them informed about when they can expect to hear back from you. This does not have to be time consuming, as Applicant Tracking Systems have been developed to assist with this very thing. An effective and practical method to keep in contact might involve the following contact points:

  • Send template acknowledgement emails sent out to each applicant
  • An email to all those who get through to first selection process (to tell them they have been shortlisted).
  • A phone call to ask some further screening questions might be appropriate – this kind of ‘real world’ contact will reinforce the applicant’s confidence that you will be in touch.
  • Sending an email to all those who are not being interviewed would be appropriate, as well as a different email or perhaps a phone call to those who you wish to interview.
  • Post-interview, it is vital to send a courteous rejection email to those who were unsuccessful, as it lets you cleanly end contact with the unsuccessful applicant, without opening yourself up to questions or confrontation.

Assuming that you have worked out a time frame prior to implementing this recruitment strategy, you should also provide all applicants with a time frame for when they should expect to hear back from you. You do this to ensure candidates feel like they are in the loop, to show that you value them and appreciate that they are waiting for results.

Don’t leave Applicants in the Dark

A common complaint among job applicants is that the businesses they send their CV’s to remain radio silent and ambiguous, leaving applicants unsure if they’ve even applied to the correct address!

This can also leave applicants with the fear that they have fallen victim to a recruiter simply ‘fishing’ for CV’s to add to their system, which will reflect negatively on your business. According to one study, over three-quarters of applicants expect to hear back from a company, regardless of if they have gained the role or not, and almost a third of those would be less likely to use that companies services if they were unhappy with how they were treated in the recruiting process.

No one likes to hear ‘you’re too good for me’

Another reoccurring complaint is that applicants are sick of hearing ‘you’re overqualified for this position’ as a reason for not being hired. This is becoming more relevant as the job market tightens and people are forced to look below what they would be considered qualified for, in order to find work.

Whilst there is some obvious logic to having reservations about hiring someone who on paper looks like they would get bored with the role in a week, it is important to respect and appreciate someone’s desire to ‘downgrade’ (as they may not see it that way) or expand their experience base.

Instead, ensure you ask why they want to pursue something that is so seemingly below them, and if you honestly do not feel they would be satisfied with the role, at least point them in the direction of something more suitable, or give them feedback on how to present themselves for such a role in the future.

We’re all People

Perhaps this is a good time to remind you that behind every CV is a human hoping to be successful in their endeavour to land a job. In between deadlines, quotas and minimum targets it is easy to forget this, but the more you remember, and act accordingly, the more fondly you and your company will be remembered by those who come into contact with it.