Maxwell Stephens

Why it's important to treat candidates with the respect they deserve

No one wants to hear that they didn’t get the job but applicants who don’t get asked to stay in the recruitment process still deserve to be treated with respect.


Earlier this week, the team spotted a job advert with a sign off which upset us. It stated that:

 “Due to the high number of applicants we receive, sadly we cannot reply to everyone. If you do not hear back from us within 5 days, please assume you have been unsuccessful at this time.”


Here at Maxwell Stephens, we were surprised to see that this practice still continued. As an employer with a job vacancy, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed when you receive a high number of responses; so much so that you can forget that behind each application is a human being. But that should be no reason for complete radio silence following a job application.


Why you should always get back to your job applicants


It may sound overly sentimental to some, particularly busy business owners and overstretched HR managers, but a little human decency goes a long way in recruitment.


When you put out a job advert, your candidates will have taken a great deal of time to apply for your position; going through their entire work history and coming up with answers to your questions to give you all of the information you’ve asked for in order to make your decision.

After all of this effort they have put in trying to help you find the right candidate for your position, they will no doubt have their fingers crossed and be waiting to hear back from you.

Whether you are calling or emailing them to let them know their application was unsuccessful at this time or to tell them the position has already been filled, that small, insignificant-seeming conversation means the applicant does not keep their hopes up waiting for your reply and does not waste their time when they could be applying elsewhere.


The importance of respecting your candidates


Telling a hopeful job applicant that you will simply not bother to respond if they’re not what you’re looking for is simply disrespectful! Candidates may think (wrongly) that your company views people as disposable – this can turn off other applicants and even impact on your brand’s reputation.


Calling or emailing candidates back, even if their application was unsuccessful, shows them that you appreciate their time, gives you the opportunity to maintain the relationship with the candidate for the future, and ensures they feel good both about themselves and about your organisation.


Whilst the applicant might not be right for this role, it is possible that you may need someone like them in the future – so it is vital that you do not burn your bridges so early on.


What to say and how to say it


Make sure you always thank candidates for taking the time to apply for the position and, where appropriate, ask if they would be happy for you to keep hold of their information should a more suitable vacancy arise. This lets them know that your rejection was nothing personal and that you value their time and skills.


Even if you are a considerably large organisation, receiving hundreds or even thousands of applications for a single role, no response is still not the right way for your business to act. Whilst a phone call is almost always the best way to communicate with your candidates, even something as simple as a gently worded rejection email is better than nothing at all.


This can even be set up on simple email software to be sent out in a matter of seconds. If this is the case, at this early a stage, all you really need to say is that there was a very high level of response to the vacancy and that some other candidates had met their personal specification more closely.


You want to be candid but gentle. Be honest but not blunt about your reasons for rejecting the application, whether it is a lack of experience or not being qualified enough for the role. Ultimately, wherever possible, you want the candidate to feel they had a positive experience with your company, even if they’re not right for the job.


It is always best practice to give a candidate feedback as soon as you know they’re not right for the job, so you don’t keep them hanging on any longer than necessary. Of course, some employers may not review any job applications until after the closing date, so this may be later for you.


If you don’t have the time or resources to get back to everyone


Not responding to unsuccessful candidates is unacceptable. If you really do not have the time and resources to get back to each individual job applicant, you may want to consider using a recruitment consultancy like Maxwell Stephens to take these duties off your hands.


If you’re looking for an FM professional for your business, we’ll do all the heavy lifting; sifting through mountains of applications to find the very best and most suitable candidates for you to interview. We’ll also add our own personal touch, contacting all unsuccessful candidates and passing on your feedback – making sure everyone leaves with a great impression of your business.


We’ll also be here to help through every step of the interview and hiring process as much as you would like.


To find out more about how we can help you give your job applicants the respect they deserve and find the best possible candidates for your vacancies, please call Maxwell Stephens today on 0207 118 48 48.


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