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Jan 9, 2014

Here are some shocking statistics for you: Only 4.4 percent of candidates receive specific feedback from hiring managers and recruiters.

Another study indicates that 75 percent of workers who applied for jobs using various avenues didn’t hear back from employers.

The takeaway? The majority of job seekers, who may have put an enormous amount of effort into their applications, will never hear a peep from your side of the table.

Harming your employment brand

Though you may be busy going through stacks of resumes, managing HR processes, and conducting your day-to-day activities, are you too busy for a little feedback, even if it’s general?

The truth is, putting candidates in the so-called “black hole” does more harm than you may realize. It may dampen your image, make the wrong candidates apply to the position, or turn them off, which may result in some brand bashing.

Yes, the job market is flooded these days. However, giving candidates feedback and acknowledging them in their search is a vital part of your job. Here are some quick tips to optimize this process:

1. Keep your candidates informed

Each step of the hiring process is important. From receiving an application to conducting an interview, you need to acknowledge applicants at every interval.

For example, recognizing the fact that you received an application, even if the provided message is generic, is advisable. In addition, if after rounds of interviews a candidate didn’t get the job, you should let them know. This keeps them informed and prevents time wasted on either side.

Try this: Many organizations have applicant portals which house a candidate’s materials, like their submitted resumes and cover letters. So, if you don’t have the time to provide personalized feedback, this is convenient space you can provide it — generic or otherwise.

2. Use social media for feedback and updates

Who says you have to keep the candidate acquisition process quiet? Resources like LinkedIn and Facebook are being used more and more in the application process.

Why not acknowledge and provide feedback through these platforms? Since a large chunk of job seekers use social networking in their search anyway, it may be a good place to keep in touch with candidates about their application status.

Try this: Going social with your feedback may be as broad as posting a status update on how the search for the right candidate is going. You can even private message a candidate directly. Or, if you’d like to be really bold, you can even give them a public shout-out, through Twitter or Instagram.

3. Make honesty your policy

Hurting someone’s feelings is obviously not your intention. However, it’s important to be honest with candidates about their applications.

Maybe they don’t have the correct skill sets. Perhaps they lack the right recommendations. It’s possible that they just don’t fit in with your company culture.

Regardless of the reason, be as straightforward as you can with job seekers. This will not only help them out in the future, it makes you and your organization maintain a positive image.

Try this: If possible, give applicants an example of what a chosen candidate would look like. This could be an already created mock-up, a list of qualifications similar to the job description, or a testimonial from a current employee.

A little insight is a good thing

While you may be guilty of making one of the worst hiring mistakes, acknowledging and giving feedback to your applicants won’t take much out of you.

Regardless of whether the candidate is right for the job, providing them with a little insight helps maintain a positive employer brand, helps them to become more savvy job seekers, and improves the overall hiring process.

What do you think? What are some other ways to acknowledge and provide feedback to job seekers?

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