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Susan M. Heathfield

Do You Acknowledge Job Applicants?

By October 22, 2013

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Reader Question: Why is it that the majority of companies no longer acknowledge the receipt of one's cover letter and resume? Nor do companies acknowledge the fulfillment of their position.

In a culture where people complain about the lack of common courtesy, it seems that corporations and businesses are completely disregarding common courtesy. Is it no longer considered standard business policy to at least send an email response of some sort?

My Response: I do think that there is a breakdown in common courtesy in our society, but I also believe that HR offices are overwhelmed with the number of applicants that they receive since the dawn of the web for recruiting. It's just so easy to apply these days, whether the applicant is qualified or not.

At the same time, that same web allows automated replies that, at least, allow an applicant to know that their communication / application was received. I am an advocate for replying when an application is received, but, even my standard response says that we will contact them again if they are selected for an interview. Following up a second time with each applicant would be a nightmare.

Once a person has become a candidate, however, and this includes coming in for an interview or participating in a phone interview, I believe that the employer owes them communication at every step in the process.

What do you think? How does your organization deal with communication to applicants? What's your rationale for how you respond to applicants - or not? Please vote in my poll.

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