HR Etiquette: How to Tell Candidates They Didn’t Get the Job.

HR Etiquette: How to Tell Candidates They Didn’t Get the Job.

searchAs an applicant, we’ve all been there – applying for a job, then waiting anxiously by the phone while compulsively checking email, hoping for a status update on where we stand in the hiring process. For applicants, sometimes the hardest part of the process isn’t hearing the bad news that they Didn’t Get the Job – it’s the waiting for communication that’s the most difficult.

So why do some HR professionals seemingly “wait” to communicate to applicants that they didn’t get the job?

Most of the time it has to do with lack of resources and time. To follow up with applicants each step of the way is very time consuming, so to add this step to the process can be overwhelming to some. However, communicating to applicants in each step of the hiring process whether or not they got the job is not only professional and considerate, it’s also best interest of your employer brand, making this a must-add step in your process. Your employer brand is just as important as your company brand, so setting a positive image is extremely important. Customers talk, so do applicants. You don’t want to run the risk of developing a negative reputation that could impact the number of applicants you receive in the future.

Get Personal.

While the standard “thank you for your time, etc.” mass, automated email is useful for large groups of unqualified applicants, consider utilizing a more personalized approach when informing your final candidates that they didn’t get the job. You don’t have to make a personal phone call to every single candidate you’ve interviewed, but if you’ve narrowed your options down to a few applicants, then you should take a few moments to personally thank them for their time. Serious candidates invest a good amount of time into your interview process, so thanking them for their time is both professional and considerate.

Be Quick To Communicate.

If you know an applicant has been disqualified, then reach out to them in a timely manner to let them know they will not be moving forward in the process. Do not wait until the job requisition is closed to inform all applicants of their status in the process, which unnecessarily keeps candidates in limbo for a long period of time. If email notifications become time consuming, considering utilizing an applicant tracking system that can automate emails quickly and easily.

Utilizing the right etiquette in your hiring process is a win-win for both company and applicant. If you need help streamlining your hiring process and improving organization and efficiency, considering utilizing an applicant tracking system. You can sign up for a live group demo.

ApplicantStack is a complete applicant tracking & onboarding system for HR professionals. Post jobs online, recruit via social media, communicate with applicants quicker and much more!

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ApplicantStack is a complete applicant tracking & onboarding system for HR professionals. Post jobs online, recruit via social media, communicate with applicants quicker and much more!

Start a Free Trial!


What Defines the “Best” in Applicant Tracking Software?

When choosing software, many companies want to know – who’s the best? Unfortunately for the shopping end-user, all vendors claim to be the best so you’re left figuring out for yourself which system truly is the best.

Here’s what you should be looking for:


When choosing a new applicant tracking software system, or evaluating your current one, efficiency is key. After all, software is developed to make your life easier – if it’s making your life harder, then it’s not fulfilling its end of the deal. Questions to ask yourself are:

  1. Is your applicant tracking software fast or slow?
  2. Are there frequent “time out” periods?
  3. If there are technical issues, is technical support easily accessible or do you need to wait an entire business day for a response?
  4. Is your applicant data accessible from anywhere?
  5. Are you able to perform basic recruiting functions?

At ApplicantStack, we offer free trials that allow our future end-users see just how functional our software is for their company, and how it fulfills efficiency expectations. Although we don’t require contracts or long-term binding agreements, some vendors do, so look for trial opportunities before getting into any binding agreements.

Actual time-saving features.

Time and efficiency go hand in hand. If the applicant tracking software you choose isn’t efficient, its clearly not saving you any time. Aside from the efficiency questions stated above, its important to ask yourself these questions when determining if your applicant tracking software is truly saving you time:

  1. Are features easy to use?
  2. Are there frills and features that aren’t useful that are just making the system bloated and harder to use and navigate?
  3. Does the software offer intuitive collaboration tools that makes communication with hiring managers more efficient?
  4. Does the software enable me to communicate?


Whether you’re a small business or large enterprise, cost is always a factor when choosing the right applicant tracking system. As a growing company, Applicant Tracking software is critical to ensuring you’re managing applicant data efficiently and safely, so it’s a good monthly investment to make. Make sure you ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is this something I can afford?
  2. Will I need budget approval for this?
  3. How long will the budget be approved? Quarterly? Yearly?
  4. Will rates ever change?
  5. What are start-up costs?
  6. Are there installation costs?
  7. Are there any hidden fees?

ApplicantStack offers pricing starting as low as $65/month which is good for smaller companies with fewer recruiting initiatives, but we still stay very competitive as the plans grow for larger corporations. We are extremely transparent in our pricing and don’t charge start-up costs common in the industry.

Interested in a free demo or trial? Sign up for one today.

Is Your Hiring Process “Scaring” People?

OK, “Scaring” might be a little intense, but some hiring processes aren’t that far off. With multiple interviews, lack of communication, and lengthy online applications processes – applicants will actually avoid filling out applications with companies if they’re too time consuming, cumbersome, or don’t receive a response within an appropriate time frame.

So why are these sloppy processes still common? Unfortunately, far too many recruiters and HR professionals alike think applicants will gladly endure the rigors of an intense hiring process if they truly want to work for their company. This can be a red-flag to applicants.

When you are evaluating your hiring process, keep these things in mind:

Keep applications short. Don’t make the mistake of “over-screening.”

If you were an applicant, would you honestly want to enter in over 5 pages worth of information, just to have the same questions asked of you in an interview? Be strategic when you’re asking your screening questions. List out a few critical qualifications that all applicants must meet before proceeding to an interview screening, but try not to use the online space to ask all of your questions. Having that human element in your screening process is beneficial to making sure you’re not weeding out potentially good candidates. Besides, the right questions will do its job and weed out unqualified applicants, without scaring off the good ones.

Redundant rounds of interviewing? Don’t do it.

It’s perfectly OK to have a candidate to come back for a second or third interview. But do not make the candidate come back a fourth or even fifth time if you can avoid it. Having the candidate come back multiple times (and worse, multiple days) only gives them the impression that you might not value their time. This gives the candidate a negative impression of the company, causing them to possibly retract their consideration, especially if they feel the company is being over-demanding. If you must have a series of individuals meet with your candidate, your best bet is to let your candidates know they will likely be at the company office all day for multiple interviews. By combining multiples interviews in to one day, it’s more efficient and decreases the overall length of the process.

Talk to your candidates.

The worst part of the interview process is the waiting period to see if the job will be offered or not. In some unfortunate cases, candidates can wait weeks before hiring managers come to a decision, and by that time it can be too late. It’s important to remember that candidates are likely interviewing elsewhere. If you wait a very long time before reaching out to extend an offer, or simply don’t keep them informed of what the next steps are – you can run the risk of losing them to another company. Unfortunately, in most cases, lack of communication is the result of time constraints. Despite communication and follow-up being a crucial step in the process, recruiters and HR departments find it difficult to follow up with each and every candidate – especially if they’re interviewing for other positions within the company.  A good solution would be to invest in an applicant tracking system. A good applicant tracking system will have communication and emailing features that lets you schedule and send automated emails to keep desired candidates in the loop.

As you settle on a hiring process that works best for your company, remember one critical thing: All applicants and candidates are either future employees, or future patrons. As a company, you always want to make sure you’re leaving the best impression for candidates and customers alike, as these are the people that will freely communicate experiences they’ve had with your company – good, or bad.

Recruitment Tools to Improve Your ROI

Recruitment Tools to Improve Your ROI

How can a potential applicant look at available careers at your company? What recruitment tools do you have in place to track your applicants? Your recruitment management system should make it easy for qualified people to find and apply for jobs.

The Careers Page

Applicants are looking for your careers page, so don’t hide it at the bottom of the main page or as a sub-link under a ‘more important’ navigation tab. Companies often talk about how important their people are and what a great work environment and culture they offer, but making applicants go on a scavenger hunt to find job openings doesn’t put that into practice. How many good applicants are you losing along the way?

Qualified talent is difficult to attract and hire; fewer than 50% of applicants even meet the minimum requirements of open positions. If attracting high quality talent is a part of your business strategy – and it should be! – then your Careers page is one of most important recruitment tools and should be prominent on your website.

Analyze the Hiring Funnel

For years HR consulting firms have analyzed recruitment tools and recruiting processes and have come up with a theory called the “hiring funnel”—sound familiar? Here’s a hypothetical example.

  • Your career page or job posting is viewed by 1,000 individuals.
  • About 20%, or 200 people, begin the application process.
  • Only half of those people complete the application process and are entered into the recruitment CRM.
  • Of those 100, about 75 are actually reviewed by a recruiter.
  • Only 25 of those applicants make it through the recruitment management system screening and are reviewed by the hiring manager.
  • About five of those people are invited for a face-to-face interview.
  • A second interview is conducted for two or three applicants.
  • The job is offered to one applicant. The average job offer acceptance rate is about 89%.

Even with a recruitment management system or recruitment CRM in place, your recruiting efforts may result in failure because offers are rejected. New hires quit or are terminated, and you’re back to the top of the hiring funnel.

Use a Recruitment Management System

While technology isn’t the only solution – the human element is essential – a recruitment management system can be one of your most powerful recruitment tools. There are several ways to leverage your applicant tracking system to improve the success rate of your recruiting efforts.

  • Rework or refresh outdated job descriptions, and then repost them to multiple job boards.
  • Make your Careers page easy to find. Better yet, use your recruitment CRM to create a branded Careers page linked to your website, so you can quickly add and remove jobs.
  • Shorten the time it takes to apply by making it easy to upload resumes, cover letters, and additional documents.
  • Use a recruitment management system that can create and utilize job-specific pre-screening questions. This gives your hiring manager more time to focus on the best-qualified candidates.
  • Trigger emails are wonderful recruitment tools to communicate effectively with candidates and show your interest.

A recruitment management system can streamline the process for applicants and free your hiring manager or recruiter up to focus on that human element. Investing in a recruitment CRM that can automatize the basics means that your hiring managers can separate the wheat from the chaff, increasing your recruitment ROI.

The Importance of Agility in Staffing

The nature of the global workforce has rapidly changed. The idea of getting a job from one company, working their for 30 years, and then retiring is long gone. Companies need to scale their workforce up and down in order to stay competitive and job seekers have to be more flexible and mobile as well. Hence, the importance of agility staffing.

This has placed a premium on the need for companies to increase their agility in staffing. Companies need to source, screen, select and on-board the right talent at an accelerated pace. If they take too long or fill positions with the wrong type of talent, it can directly impact their competitiveness.

According to an Intelligence Report from the American Staffing Association,

The number of people working at a company, their skill sets, their cumulative cost to the company, and their ambition and motivation all combine to create the single most important variable in the success or failure of any enterprise: the staff. A company that can get the right people in the right positions at the right time and at
the right price has a tremendous advantage over less astute competitors.

In response to the need for speed and agility, companies are increasing their adoption of Applicant Tracking Systems even during a slow economy.

Bersin & Associates says in a recent posting that the Applicant Tracking Systems market (ATS) grew by 11% to nearly $1 Billion as of April 2011. Reasons for the significant growth are that companies need to move quickly and they cannot keep pace if they either have no technology at all or if they have out-of-date ATS software.