How to respond to job applicants

how to respond to job applicants by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

When every job you post gets lots of attention, how should you respond to applicants?

Have you ever advertised a job opening and been overwhelmed with hundreds of applicants in the first few hours? The thought of having to respond to every single one is overwhelming, and you haven’t even looked through them yet!

In reality, looking through an application might only take you a minute but typing up a response could take 10.

But taking the time to respond to job applicants isn’t as hard as it seems. And with a simple process in place, you will be able to save time.

And not just your time, but your applicant’s time. These days, the best job applicants are constantly weighing up their offers. If you wait too long to respond, you could miss out on the talent you need.

That being said, let’s look into how you should communicate and respond to your job applicants.

1 – The thank you

The first thing you need to figure out is your thank you message. Every applicant wants to know that all of their time and hard work fiddling with cover letters hasn’t gone to waste.

Sending a simple ‘thank you for applying’ email can save you time down the road when all those applicants email you, worrying that you don’t have their CVs.

If your job applicants are applying through your company website this should be simple enough to arrange.

Be sure to include:

  • A ‘thank you’!
  • Your name.
  • The rough timeframe – when will they hear back from you?

2 – Carry on communicating

Recruitment can be a tricky thing. Sometimes the one person you need to consult with goes off sick, or your funding falls through, or your main client has a major issue.

All of these things can hurt your hiring efforts. But they are also things that you can’t control.

Be sure to let everyone involved – from your candidates to your recruitment team – know if something comes up. No one deserves to be ghosted by an employer, so please try to give updates if things don’t go your way.

Valuing your applicants just the same as your clients is a good way to think about this. You want them to like you!

And even if they’re the weakest applicant now, in a few years you could be offering them a job. So make a good impression, value their time and be polite. Hopefully you’ll reap the benefits for years to come.

3 – If you’re interested

Now that we’ve got to the stage of creating your shortlist, you need to carry on communicating! I know this just never ends!

When emailing or ringing job applicants, the idea is to be as clear as possible. The way you respond could invite more excitement… or put your top candidates off.

Be sure to:

  • Introduce yourself.
  • Congratulate them for getting this far.
  • Explain what comes next. Is it a phone interview? In-person panel interview? Application task?
  • Let them know the timeframe. Do you want someone to start in a couple of weeks? Reiterate it! Your candidates might have applied for 50 more jobs since they applied for yours, so refresh their memory.

4 – And if you’re not

If you’ve created a great shortlist, you’ve probably cut through a fair amount of applications.

No matter whether your applicants were successful or not, they deserve to know. The times of ghosting the unsuccessful are over. We know how important it is to reject candidates well, for reasons I’ve already said! They could be your frontrunner candidate a couple of years down the line.

But sending out rejections can be tricky. I’m a firm believer in taking the time to give feedback. At every stage of the application process.

So even if they’re just a CV and a name to you, please put a little thought into it.

Consider including:

  • A kind ‘thank you, but I’m afraid you were not successful’ message.
  • A reason why. Maybe the other candidates had a little more experience or knew a certain technology.
  • A sign off that invites them to try again next time.

Speaking of next time… this is all a bit of a hassle isn’t it? Why don’t you leave all of this admin and communicating to the experts?

Hiring through DigitalGrads is simple because we do all of the dirty work for you. We post adverts, curate a shortlist, arrange interviews and let you focus on making the best hire for your business. Let us do all the communicating for you!

About post author

Hi, I'm Daisy. I'm using my passion for writing to work with DigitalGrads on their content and social media campaigns.
Posted in Your Hiring Bible