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Candidate Follow Up

    Valerie Streets writes in the SHRM Blog, 

    "Talent acquisition has been continually evolving for the past several years.  One of the biggest changes has been an increasing emphasis on the candidate experience.  This growing focus is fueled by a number of factors, including

    • Candidates have more choices of where to work,
    • Candidate access to information and opportunities is ever-increasing,
    • Technological advancements have raised expectations surrounding efficiency and personalization, and
    • Work flexibility is expanding the talent pool to include candidates who previously would not be possibilities."

    Human resources professionals have a large responsibility in public relations and customer service, as many external candidates only experience the company through the recruitment process. It is important to maintain a positive brand for candidates seeking a job, just as the same is done for customers. Below are some critical steps that can create a positive experience.


    There are several points when communication is essential during the recruitment process:

    1. After submitting an application
    2. When the candidate is not selected for an interview
    3. When the candidate is interviewed but not selected for the job

    When a company does not communicate with candidates along the process, applicants are left feeling anxious and frustrated. “They also start to question the practices and culture of a company that can’t—or won’t—even adhere to the basics of business etiquette. Often, a simple note following up with the candidates on their status can go a long way to help ease anxieties and build trust.” (Heidi Parsont).

    Rejection Letters

    While it's never fun to deliver bad news, almost all candidates prefer hearing the bad news over waiting with high hopes for selection. Rejection letters can be send out at any of key points listed above and should contain enough information to let the candidate know that they have not been selected.

    How the employee is given the rejection news can have a significant impact on the organization's public relations.

    One factor in this is the medium used to deliver the news. Chad MacRae, of Recruiting Social, encourages recruiters to speak to interviewed candidates over the phone instead of sending an email. If a candidate is simply phone screened, an email will suffice. Systems allow for automatic messages to be sent to an applicant if they are not chosen to move forward. 

    Another factor is the amount of information given. While it may be beneficial to applicants to have a reason for the rejection, giving too much information can come back and have a negative impact on the company. Instead, decide what is the essential information given to employees. Let the candidate know that you are moving forward with other candidates that more closely align with the job desciption. Again, the job description is the starting and ending point for many aspects of the recruitment process.

    Lastly, keep the big picture in mind when interacting with candidates. Look out for the right person for the company before the position. If an applicant would make a valuable addition to the company in a different area, be sure to communicate this. When the timing just is not right for a quality candidate, keep in touch with them for future opportunities. More on rejections.

    Additional Resources

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