Job seekers I understand your frustration. You spend hours compiling your job application and weeks later, nothing! Not even a communication to state that they have received your application and are presently shortlisting candidates. And that company that you wanted to work for, the one you held in high regard, where are they now sitting in your list of organisations that you want to represent?

I’m often asked what the average response time is for a company to respond to a pool of applicants. In short, one to two weeks from the closing date of the application period. I’m asked this question because job seekers have applied for a role, for which they match at least 80 per cent of the job requirements, and weeks later they have not received any form of contact from the hiring organisation. As more time passes the ignorance begins to be seen as a sign of disrespect by the job seeker. And rightly so! Who appreciates being ignored? What a candidate cannot know is whether there are 200 applications to sift through, if the hiring manager is currently on leave, or if the company’s policy is to only respond to all applicants once the position has been filled. And we all know that can take some organisations a very long time to achieve. Yet while factors outside of the hiring organisation’s control may delay the recruitment process, there should at least be a step in that process that provides acknowledgement of the receipt of a candidate’s job application. That one undertaking will uphold the integrity of a brand and demonstrate the applicant’s efforts are valued.

77% of job seekers think less of a company that leaves them in the dark, and more than half would decline to buy or recommend that company’s product or service       

StartWire survey

Speaking with job candidates it is obvious too that some organisations are taking too long to make their decision once job interviews have been conducted. While a business is determining which applicant will fit and perform best within the one job role they have on offer, job applicants are seeking out multiple opportunities to progress their career. A great candidate will not stay on the market for long so a company cannot afford to procrastinate if they want the best of best representing them. ‘Snooze you lose’ is a somewhat colloquial yet apt phrase for the slow to react here. And lose you may do so. Even if a preferred candidate has not been snapped up by the opposition during the agonisingly long period of time it took to decide on a successful applicant, the applicant themselves may have come to the understanding that the values of their once ‘company of choice’ no longer aligns with their own. A stalled hiring process, no matter what the reason, and no effort to maintain contact, can see a candidate draw the conclusion that a company is too rude and obnoxious to be affiliated with. And that is where the recruitment process can start again for an organisation. Yikes!

With the very real potential for candidates to reject a job offer, or take up a role elsewhere before a final decision can be made, all due to a sloooooow recruitment system, I direct hiring managers to reassess their selection and recruitment process. Regardless of a major shift in business midway through the hiring process, the absence of decision makers higher up the chain, or a restructure of the original position, contingency plans need to take effect if an organisation is maintain its credibility with job seekers and potential superstar employees are not to be pushed towards the competition.

I must say, job seekers too can certainly action a strategy to maintain contact with a hiring company, taking each opportunity to communicate their continued strong interest in the role. For instance, if a role has closed and a week passes without word, simply pick up the phone and enquire as to the receipt of the application. Ask what the next steps in the process entail and when applicants can expect to be contacted. If enquiries reveal that the further provision of information will enhance the application, forward this through promptly. A bolder question of a possible meet and greet as you will be in the area in a few days’ time may demonstrate confidence that invokes a positive response. Likewise if you have been successful in attaining another role, communicate this to your preferred employer. If after two days there is no counteroffer, simply move on.

A candidate often takes the position that recruitment practices are a streamlined process that should happen quickly. An employer’s timeline is generally out of sync with a job seeker’s thus communication to keep all on the same page of expectations is imperative. Even if the contact doesn’t yield the desired message, good manners will not go unnoticed. Job seekers also have a responsibility to ignite a conversation, particularly if they really want the job. If an employer continues to ignore an applicant, they can only look to themselves for the consequences of that undertaking. As a job seeker, don’t let it be your lack of effort sees you drop out of the recruitment pipeline. Maintain momentum and the right job will find you. Sooner and not later!

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