Some years ago I did an independent research project on “Candidate Rejection and Corporate Communication”.
I was interested at the time in learning more about the perceptions of job seekers in regard to how they were notified by companies about being unsuccessful in their job application. The study was simple and straightforward. I had handpicked three actual notification letters from various companies where a candidate was being advised they were unsuccessful in their job application.
One letter was quite terse, and direct.
One letter was short, but informative and expressed gratitude.
A third letter was longer and empathetic.
All of the participants in the study agreed that it was appropriate to be notified of their job application status, even if they were unsuccessful. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, they all felt that a short, informative letter expressing gratitude for their time and interest in the role they applied for to be most appropriate. It left them with a small degree of encouragement to continue their search, and gave them a degree of respect for the professionalism of the organisation they were applying for.
After all, if the company treated candidates with respect, then perhaps it is true they are treating their employees appropriately in respect to doing the right thing with appropriate communication.
As the years have gone on, there has obviously been a shift from print advertising and mailed letters of communication, to on-line advertising and emailed communications.
Candidate management systems from companies of all sizes have gone from the file cabinet, to on-line folders, to software programs for any sized enterprise. Much of the technology affords the user the ability to send various forms of appropriate pieces of communication to would be job seekers, or alternatively the most stripped down applicant email response can be a simple cut and paste exercise of chosen content.
So with all of these communication capabilities to reach out to job seekers to notify them of their application status, why is it that there is a growing number of companies and recruitment suppliers that seem to have adopted the practice of only contacting those applicants that they want to, without feeling the need to let others know?
More and more you are seeing ads that say, “Only short listed candidates will be contacted”, or “Thank you for your application. Only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted”. Today, I saw yet another ad with a slightly different twist on the disrespectful communication theme; “Kindly note that only the short listed candidates will be contacted. All applications will be held in confidence.”
You can’t help but think that all these companies are leaving applicants to wonder… How long will the recruitment process take? Will I get a call at some stage? and most importantly… Should I really consider applying again to this company, or any other company for that matter that doesn’t take the time and effort to respond after I took the time and effort to submit a well thought, professional application??
Not that long ago I was involved with a high volume recruitment campaign. We were able to notify candidates fairly quickly that they were no longer being further considered due to the specific selection criteria. Several applicants went out of their way to say, “Thanks, I really appreciate your company letting me know that I am not being considered”.
The kudos went to the company for doing the right thing.
In the mission statement, values, or key performance indicators of a multitude of companies in Australia is the noun Respect. Respect for Fellow Employees. This may very well be the cornerstone of an Employer of Choice. If an organisation is trying to position itself as an Employer of Choice, it may be best to ensure they extend respect to candidates that may be potential employees, by giving them the courtesy of some basic information about their application.