Stop Being Rude in Your Adverts

July 22, 2020

If you scroll through LinkedIn there seems to be a common theme with candidates; they are applying for vacancies and getting nothing back: no feedback, no call, not even a “thanks but no thanks” email. Strange? Surely not? “Old skool” recruitment taught us many clichés and some of them still stand the test of time, “every candidate should have a good experience” being one of them. Have you forgotten:

  • “Today’s candidate is tomorrow’s client.”
  • “You don’t know who they might know.”
  • “One unhappy person will complain to 10 other people (or something like that).”

So, why are recruiters now ignoring candidates in such volumes that would prompt so many comments?


The Job Advert Small Print

And then I sampled some adverts on the job boards and found my answer, politely written as the last paragraph. “Due to the volume of applications received, if you haven’t heard from us in 72 hours, you can assume that, on this occasion, you haven’t been successful”. Job done! No need to send an acknowledgement email because the advert does it all.

It certainly does. It explains precisely why so many candidates are annoyed, frustrated, and disillusioned.

I’m not known for my tact or diplomacy, but even I’ve never stood in front of someone and said, “I’ve considered you. You are of no value to me; therefore, I can’t waste my valuable time acknowledging you. Be gone!” It’s rude, it’s arrogant, and it’s short-sighted.

But I get it.

I understand why recruiters, who’ve seen this get-out clause on a few adverts, have decided to adopt it themselves.


The Justification

As a recruiter, you are short of vacancies, so when you are asked to fill one, you are going to work as hard as possible to source suitable candidates.

But we know that vacancies in June were receiving, on average, a 106% increase in applications, and that is far too many people to respond to when your back is against the wall, and you have to find the right person to send to interview. The pressure to succeed is immense. You are probably working with fewer people in your team. Perhaps you have lost your resourcer or the admin person who helps sift CVs? And what you don’t need now is to spend your time with people who don’t have the matching skills. If you can’t make a placement, at the moment, you can’t waste a second.

And that’s exactly how your advert reads. “If you do not match the vacancy, go away, I don’t have time.”

In your busy head, you have done the right thing. You’ve explained the recruitment process; you’ve been polite, you smiled when you said, “Thank you, but not today.”

But that’s not how the candidate sees it. The candidate has applied for your job and wants a response. They won’t remember the last line of your advert; chances are they didn’t read “the small print.” They read about the job, the company, the salary and location and hit apply. And now they are waiting for you.


Time-Saving Solutions

So, how are you going to be the recruitment agency who does deliver excellent customer service to their applicants?

If you have an ATS that sends emails, you have no excuse. Even the most basic system will allow you to categorise people and send out templated emails. It’s one click of a button. You have to review the applications anyway, so why not mark them accordingly and send the relevant email? Two seconds of your time is worth a lot to a candidate and may be worth even more to you in the future.

If you don’t have an ATS, it might be the time to get one. I appreciate everyone is looking after their costs, but there are so many on the market to match everyone’s budget. The number of applications to each vacancy isn’t going to reduce anytime soon (in fact, sadly, it could well increase), so it’s worth the investment and time-saving now.

If you don’t want an ATS, set some email templates up or type some on a word document that you can copy and paste. But either way, send an informative email.


Adding Value to the Candidate Experience

When sending the acknowledgement email, send something more than, “We’ll be in touch when we have something that matches your skills.” A lot of candidates at the moment didn’t expect to be looking for a job, and probably haven’t done so for a few years, so passing on some of your knowledge will really help them:

  • Include links to sites that show them how to structure a CV.
  • If appropriate, give them a link to, a free website that helps them to “compose bold, clear, mistake-free writing.” (I know a few consultants who could do with this too!)
  • Offer career advice, suggest local community groups or volunteer projects that would give them experience.
  • Link them to advice when attending an interview via Zoom
  • Share articles on what they can expect if they will be onboarding from home
  • Promote LinkedIn’s “opentowork” profile

Once you have a template, you have the structure and can add specific feedback to those candidates who were “near but not quite.”

It’s cliché, but you have no idea who you are ignoring when you don’t respond to an application.

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