Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Responding To Job Applications

The most common complaint among job seekers is that the application process can seem like a "black hole."  They feel that there is little chance their job application will ever be read when they click "submit" on that nonprofit job application.

As an HR manager, you know well enough that job applications do get read.  But with the amount that come in everyday, it's nearly impossible to respond to them all personally.  It's easy to understand, then, why job applicants feel as if they are sending their resumes out in vain.

Although it might be unreasonable to personally respond to every resume and cover letter, today's technology offers alternatives that give candidates assurance that their application has been received.  Most e-mail programs have the ability to send an automatic reply to incoming messages.  This is usually used when you are planning to be out of the office, but you can also use it for the hiring process.  The key is to set up an e-mail address used specifically for hiring new employees, and have an auto responder that ensures the sender that their application was received.  An automatic response might seem impersonal, but job seekers do appreciate at least knowing their information was received.

You should also be sure to set reasonable expectations for applicants.  You can do this by putting a note in your job description or automatic responder that lets the candidate know what information they can expect to receive from you.  For example:

"Since we receive so many job applications every day, we will be unable to respond to your requests personally.  If you do not receive a response from us within the next X weeks, it means we have chosen another candidate."
A message like that will give the individual a better idea of the timeline that your organization uses to determine who they will interview.

What other suggestions do you have for responding to job applications?  Leave your feedback in the comments section.

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