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How to respond to candidate applications


You’ve placed your job vacancy on the job boards, your website and on social media platforms, have shortlisted your favourite CVs and now you contact the applicants to arrange an interview.  You can’t get hold of half of them and the other half are either no longer interested or have accepted an offer elsewhere.  I hear this a lot from employers, HR, managers and business owners, and it is so frustrating because it’s such a waste of time and money. Even if you outsourced the advertising campaign to a provider like Recruit Direct to reduce the cost and the time spent, it doesn’t solve the problem of your unfilled vacancy.

Here are a few tips to increase your chances of securing the right candidates before they go elsewhere:

Timing is everything 
The best candidates will be motivated and proactively seeking a move.  They are not going to wait around on the chance that you may be about to offer them a job.  We send CVs to you daily so that you can respond to good candidates within 24 hours of their application (barring weekends).  No matter where you get your applications from you should shortlist daily and contact the best candidates immediately.  Don’t wait until you have a batch of people to compare.  You will miss out on the best. 

Text and email are your friend 
A well worded text and/or email will ensure that applicants respond to your invitation to progress to the next stage.  There are two main advantages to this approach:  1. Block messaging saves time and 2. Putting the responsibility for getting in touch back on the applicant gives an in-built commitment/interest check point.

Keep your message simple and don’t make it sound like a mass mailing.  Make sure you send any emails separately so you can use individual names in the salutation.

I usually use something like this in a text or email: “Thank you for applying for the XXXX position.  You have some great experience and I’d love to talk to you in more detail about progressing your application.  Please call on XXXXX and ask for XXXX”.

Personal phone call
Make a call straight away if you have applications that look fantastic on paper.  If you don’t get through leave a voicemail and send the text.

Rejection email 
If somebody has taken the time to apply for your role it is the decent and courteous thing to inform them that they have not been selected for interview.  While this will not be your priority, you should aim to send notification within 3-5 days of receiving the application.  Make a template email or letter to save time.  Something simple will suffice: “Thank you for your application for the XXX position.  Unfortunately, you have not been shortlisted in this instance.  Good luck with your job search”.

This will not take too long, and you will be surprised by how much damage can be done to your reputation by ignoring unsuccessful applications.  People will assume you conduct your whole business how you conduct your recruitment process.  People tend to talk about bad experiences more readily than good ones.

The next step is to make sure that you conduct the interviews promptly and make decisions and offers quickly.

If you lack the time or expertise to put together a great candidate attraction campaign, and don’t want to use an agency, our Recruit Direct packages start from just £189.  We write professional copy, run a job board and social media campaign, and you get CVs sent to your inbox daily.  Book your recruitment advertising campaign now by calling 01902 763006 or email info@recruitrecruit.co.uk with “Recruit Direct” in the subject line.

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