Don't Leave Them Hanging (The Value of Applicant Communication)

Giving applicants closure is increasingly rare in recruitment and there’s no real excuse for it.

Since the recession there has been a surplus of candidates chasing each role, and with that comes higher workloads for recruiters who often have to screen hundreds of applications (or more). When these numbers were lower, each application warranted a response – even just simple rejection – that gave an applicant closure. However this process has gradually been eroded and now many people receive nothing.

Let’s look at this from another perspective. Imagine you’ve sent a proposal to another company. You spent the whole day crafting it, showing how you understand their company and how you could meet their needs. You hit send and wait for a response. The week ticks by. “They probably had lots of proposals to consider” you guess. Monday comes and goes. “I’m sure they had lots to do from the weekend” you justify. Friday arrives again so you call them. “We’ve had lots of proposals in and we’re still working through them” they explain. Monday comes and goes. Wednesday comes and goes. “They must just be discussing it with higher management” you hope. Friday arrives (yet again) and you call them (yet again) just to get some sort of update. “Sorry we chose another provider on Tuesday and we had too many proposals to reply to them all” they state.

How would you feel in this moment? Would you want to work with this company in the future? Would you recommend this company to other departments?

This is exactly how the recruitment process can damage your employer brand (and even your consumer brand) and lose you both money and talent. Maybe someone didn’t have enough experience or didn’t have a certain skill. A year or two down the line they may have improved those lacking areas and would make a valuable team member. Maybe someone was too ambitious with the role they applied for but would be well-suited to a more junior position. How excited are they going to be to work for you having gone through all of the above? How likely are they to apply to your organisation again?

“But we don’t have time to contact every applicant!” I hear you cry. This just isn’t true. Even the most impersonal blanket email saying “thanks but you haven’t been successful” to all applicants is a huge step up from just leaving them hanging. You can even have template emails set up ready to give more detailed feedback.

“But we have a clause!” you defend. Ah, yes - the last bastion: “If you haven’t heard back from us within 7 days then you haven’t been successful”. In all fairness this is genuinely better than nothing at all. It gives the applicant a time frame and an understanding of the process. But what the applicant is really reading is “I'm not worth it!”. Is this a message you want to be sending out to the world? With all the time and resource your company spends crafting it's marketing, would you ever say something like this to a customer?

All of these responses forget one simple truth: the Candidate is King. As we move towards a more candidate-driven market and an explosion in passive jobseekers, they become your most valuable asset. And what about all the candidates that turn into clients? How much revenue has that brought you? It's time to start treating them with the respect they deserve.

Talk to your applicants! Your brand will grow stronger and recruiting will just keep getting easier. Plus it’s a nice thing to do. 


At Omnio we make sure applicants are updated through every step of the recruitment process up to interview stage, letting you communicate personally with the final shortlist. If you’d like to know more, give us a call.