DEAR MISS MANNERS: Over the past couple of years, I’ve received many of what I term impersonal thanks-but-no-thanks emails from recruiters and hiring managers. Worse, sometimes I receive no response at all.
At best, I’m receiving a mass email after I’ve invested significant time into researching the company and the job, and have even developed ideas and presentations.
I’m not alone in either the limbo (waiting by the phone) or the receipt of an impersonal email follow-up. In some cases, I’ve called the recruiter or hiring manager directly and asked, “What could I have done better? What were you looking for that you didn’t hear from me?” etc.
Sometimes the managers are responsive; in other situations, they have promised to call back and haven’t. In a time when we seem to want more communication, rather than less, and when email seems like such an impersonal cop-out response to someone who’s truly spent time preparing for an interview, what is your suggestion?
GENTLE READER: Hiring managers and recruiters should, out of courtesy, acknowledge applicants and tell them when the search concludes with hiring another candidate.
As Miss Manners suspects that etiquette is not a sufficient incentive, however, she will give them a sound business reason for doing so: The rejected candidates know who you are and where you work. When they tell people you made a huge mistake in not hiring them, even their close friends will wonder if maybe you had a good reason. But if the candidate can say that you were rude, their anger at you and your company is more likely to stick.
How the recruiter should break the bad news will depend on circumstance. A form email is acceptable for an online posting that garnered hundreds or thousands of responses and when the candidate was not advanced beyond the opening round. The further along in the process the candidate gets, the more personal the delivery should be of the subsequent bad news.
Miss Manners hopes that hiring managers will take note, as she discourages you from trying to enforce this rule yourself.