LI Decline letter post

Eight hundred and twenty applications for a handful of roles. A little outrageous or the absolute norm in today’s job market? Regardless of the answer, the fact is that a company reviewed 820 applications. They may have taken a lot longer than the average time to fill rate of 25 days, but their follow up actions reduced any negative impact that could have had.  And the 800 plus applicants who didn’t get hired? Chances are high they all received a follow up letter such as the one shared in the LinkedIn post above. Eight hundred follow up letters.

Let that sink in.

Eight hundred follow up letters to let the applicants know they were not selected to move forward in the process. Even though James Wilkinson didn’t get a job offer, his relationship with the employer is kept warm by the simple courtesy he received. So warm, in fact, he decided to share his experience with the world.

Imagine for a moment that James received a different communication (or, as is all too common, no communication at all). One that simply said “Dear James, We’re sorry to inform that you that the position has been filled.” or even “Dear James, After reviewing your application we have determined that you’re not a fit.” Not very inspiring messages to someone who took the time to apply to a position that you posted. James’ follow up actions of broadcasting on social media about his experience would have been very different. No warm and fuzzy feelings, no pat on the back, no commendations on the experience you provided him.

Three simple (and cheap) ways to provide a positive candidate experience and boost your employer brand.

  1. Thank people for applying for a role and provide a little insight about what they can expect. Go beyond the generic “Thank you for your application” statement. Tell them that you appreciate their interest, what your time frame is, and when they can expect to hear whether they will be selected or not. It’s a message that can be sent out to every applicant in the same manner.
  2. Provide an applicant information page on your website (in your career section) that talks about your application, selection, interview, and onboarding process. Provide testimonials, fun graphics, and clear communication to help applicants know what to expect.
  3. Send out a stellar communication like the one above to all applicants who were not selected to move forward. Invite them to stay connected by joining your talent community (which if you don’t have one, may we recommend Talent Dojo?), to apply for future opportunities, and to follow your social profiles. Tell them how awesome they are and how much you appreciate their interest not just in the job they applied for, but in your organization. Just like the initial thank you message, it can be an automated email that gets sent out which won’t take up your time.

For actions that are easy to implement and won’t take much time in execution, the ROI on the effort to provide a good candidate experience will be phenomenal. They support and promote a positive employer brand, which will help to draw in more applicants to your organization.  What message do you want going viral on social media about your company?