Respectful Communication for Job Applicants
It is a tough job market these days. For every open position, there are even more applicants. A hiring manager, and their HR department, has many obligations to fulfill within their organization to fill the position. While I understand their responsibilities, I feel they have one additional responsibility – timely, respectful communication to the job applicants.
I have a close friend who is unemployed. He has applied for position after position, and rarely hears a thing from the companies where he is applying. Not even a courtesy email that states “Thank you for applying but our assessment does not show that you meet the qualifications for this position.”
But what is worse, is that he has had a few face-to-face interviews and had absolutely no word back from the hiring manager or their HR department. When a person is told that they are within the top 3 candidates for a position, they are likely putting some effort into the interview. Why is it that a hiring manager cannot put forth a little effort to let the person know that while they were not selected for the position?
Now perhaps a mishap occurred and the need for communication fell off the radar somehow between the hiring manager and HR. That happens. Honestly – it happened to me once. I came across a friend of one of the candidates weeks later and heard that they had never been told that they were not selected for the position. I immediately reached out to the candidates personally and communicated the status of the position. It was the respectful thing to do – even if it was a little embarrassing for me.
What’s the risk of not communicating as a hiring manager? It reflects not only on you but also on the company. Will that candidate ever consider your company as a potential employer again? Maybe they were not right for your position but they might have been a perfect fit for a future opening. What story will they tell their friends & family? How you may not have selected them but the interview process was one of the best they have ever been through? Or that you dropped them like a hot rock when you decided to go with another candidate?
Communicating with someone you have not selected for a position might seem uncomfortable. It can be kept short & polite.Dear Bob, I appreciated the opportunity to talk to you about the open position on my team. We have finished our interview process and selected a candidate to fill the position. I hope that you will consider future opportunities with ABC, Inc as they become available.
3 sentences sent via an email or letter. Yes, the candidate might push harder by responding and asking about other openings, or asking why they were not selected. If they are professional, they will just take your note as closure. If they push for additional communication, you can either reply and refer them to your HR department or your corporate website where jobs are listed. No reason to get into a long string of emails.
There is nothing easy about looking for a job – just as it is not easy to fill a position. Why not make it as pleasant as possible by treating candidates as kindly as possible.I am sure there might be reasons why hiring managers do not follow-up and I’d love to gain that insight. And if you have been through an interview process and had a great or not-so-great experience with communication afterwards – please share that too.