Lately I have been hearing a common complaint from many colleagues who have been engaged in job searches. This complaint involves the failure of many companies to send follow up emails to inform potential candidates that they were not selected for the position. In several cases, the candidates were for senior level positions and attended several rounds of interviews at the company’s headquarters. In at least two (2) instances, candidates sent one or more follow up emails to inquire about the status of his/ her candidacy and the emails were ignored.
As someone who has both gone through the job search process and has also interviewed and hired candidates at all levels, I believe I have a balanced perspective on this issue. I believe it is always appropriate to send an email to every candidate who has interviewed for a position with your company to inform them they have not been selected; and more importantly, to thank them for their interest in your company, for time they spent interviewing and to wish them well in their job search. First and foremost, every candidate deserves to know when he or she is no longer a candidate for a position. To leave a candidate hanging without either an offer of employment or a rejection is neither kind nor professional. While receiving a rejection is always disappointing, receiving no feedback at all adds insult to injury.
It seems that many companies have abandoned the simple courtesies that were once commonplace in the business world. You may dismiss me as “old school” but in my company, anyone who interviews for a position with our firm is treated with the utmost respect and courtesy. We communicate with all potential candidates by telephone or email as soon as a decision has been made with respect to their candidacy. We even send follow up emails to anyone who submits a resume. Such courtesies do not take much time and set your company apart from your competitors who may not extend these basic courtesies. I personally believe that courtesy and respect are always appropriate and are always good for business. You never know where that candidate you left hanging may end up. You may find him or her at a company that you may be soliciting business from in the future. Rest assured they will remember and appreciate being treated with respect and courtesy by your company, even though you did not ultimately hire them.