Why Following Up With Job Candidates Is Incredibly Crucial

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Feb 19, 2013

With tens or even hundreds of candidates applying for jobs at your company, it can be rather time-consuming to keep each one in the loop about the status of the opening.

But most job seekers hope to hear from you — even if it’s simply to tell them they were not right for the position.

Still don’t think a follow-up email is vital? Perhaps these reasons will change your mind:

Candidate experience is key to attract top talent

The candidate might have wowed you in the video interview, but unfortunately someone else was just a little bit more qualified. In this case, many recruiters and hiring managers will drop the ball when it comes to follow-up. But a nice note thanking the candidate for their time can make a huge difference when it comes to candidate experience. That difference can result in more talent coming to your organization — or less if you bungle the follow-up.

Josh Tolan, Spark Hire


 Avoid job applicants’ No. 1 complaint

The most common single complaint amongst job applicants is that “no one ever got back to me.” I find it amazing that recruiters will spend enormous amounts of money attracting “talent,” only to virtually ignore them if the person is not right or needed right now. Fixing this is easily done with an auto response email that sets expectations about the process and ends with, “While we would like to contact every applicant personally, unfortunately this is not possible. We will however attempt to reach every person who progresses to the shortlist within five working days of application. Thanks.” Done

 — Michael Larsen, InsideTrak

Treating all applicants professionally is important

Given how interconnected we are, companies benefit when their recruiters treat all applicants professionally, which means a speedy, “thanks, doesn’t quite fit our requirements” to off-target resumes and a “thanks for your application, we made a different hiring decision” to anyone who put time and effort into interviewing or other parts of the application process.

Lynne Curry, The Growth Company

Follow up with candidates to avoid Small World Syndrome

The same job candidates that apply to work in your company are the same individuals who make up the community and are or influence your customer choices. But it is also no longer a local game. The Internet and social networks have changed the game on a company’s ability to maintain its reputation.

Tresha Moreland, HR C-Suite

Close the loop, follow up

Following up with candidates, regardless of the decision, is key to building a positive reputation in the recruiting world. Bad news is better than no news and leaving people hanging and not knowing where they stand. Although a candidate may not have been the best fit for one role, he or she may be perfect for another down the road, and you will want to have built a positive, respectful relationship with that person. At a minimum, all applicants should receive a regret email. Candidates who have interviewed with the hiring manager should receive a phone call from the manager or the HR representative.

Jim Geisler, The Oliver Group

Remember, applicants are customers, too

As a corporate internal recruiter, it is really important for the brand image that you follow up with candidates. Companies often overlook the fact that all these applicants are also their customers when it comes to product and service based B2C companies. For firms it is important, but far more difficult with agency recruiters never get feedback on whether a candidate it no longer available, is the position on hold, etc.

Jim Thompson, JMJ Phillip

Following up can help prevent negative perceptions

Following up with a candidate — even if it is a rejection — is extremely important. It sends the message that you appreciated their time even though they were not a fit. Also, you don’t want candidates to spread a negative perception of your company in the marketplace. Following up is a simple action that pays intangible dividends.

Jon Chadiha, Gild

What do you think? Do you agree that following up with job candidates is important?

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