Today I spoke with a colleague who was puzzled. He’d applied for a position posted on LinkedIn from a very reputable, established organization. He thought he perfectly met all the criteria so was quite surprised that, after waiting almost two months for a reply, today he received a two-line rejection email.
The sting intensified when he realized it was sent with an anonymous “donotreply” return address, and without a name or contact for him to ask “why?”. To not even get an interview was no less than shocking but then to receive such an impersonal and chicken response was insulting.
My colleague used to think highly of this organization but now, given the way he feels he was treated, he thinks poorly of them … and is telling everyone.
Listen up, hiring managers.
It’s perfectly within your rights to screen out candidates. In fact, that’s what you’re hired to do. However, if you fall into a couple communication traps, you do yourself and your organization a disservice.
These few tips will ensure you serve your organization well, position it as an employer of choice, and portray yourself as a professional and compassionate leader. To do otherwise risks the opposite.
TIPS to avoid communication pitfalls when screening candidates:
1) Screen and respond quickly. Don’t take two months to reply to candidates. That shouts of bureaucracy (is that really how you want to position your organization?);
2) Be a person, not a faceless identity. When you do respond, don’t do it anonymously. Reply with a contact person and title. I know you’re busy and swamped, yada yada. We all are. Have the courtesy of putting a face to your email, as you’ve asked your candidates to do.
3) Be prepared to explain your decision. Any candidates, whether internal or external, are completely within their rights to ask WHY they were screened out. If you can’t do that, it suggests that your screening process isn’t transparent and your decision unjustifiable. They may be neither of those, but without a response, that void is quickly filled with doubt and speculation.
4) Use this as a learning experience (for both of you). When you allow for dialogue, you allow for growth. Speaking directly to candidates not only helps them prepare for their next hiring opportunity, it helps you understand how you are presenting your organization to the world. This information will in turn, help you attract and retain talent. And that helps everyone.
In short, when you’re requiring candidates to spend a lot of time submitting proposals (especially if for management and high-level positions), extend to them the courtesy of a personal response. That’s asking no more from you than you asked of them.
Communicate like a leader. Sign your name. Allow for dialogue and learning. And who knows? You might be the one who learns the most from the feedback you receive.
Marion Grobb Finkelstein
COMMUNICATION CONSULTANT www.MarionSpeaks.com
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