Contact Every Candidate

Every person, every candidate, and every applicant has value. I have yet to meet a single person in my career who does not have within them an intrinsic value or skill that offers benefits.

Although the majority of candidates may not be the right fit for a role for a multitude of reasons, they should still be contacted. I prefer to give a personal call to all candidates I engage, explain who we are and what we do, and more so why we do it. This is not realistic to do via a phone call or personalized email in all cases, and I understand this, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could? 

That said, a company that invests in software that can give a more personalized approach to engage rejected candidates is investing in their future as an organization. Using e-blast functions that personalize with the candidate’s name, or other information regarding their application, or integrating social media or other forms of engagement software within your rejection to engage them as a future candidate, is an investment not only in increasing your candidate pool, but your future client portfolio.

Article Continues Below

Simply showing individuals the respect that you would want for yourself, treating them as individuals and people, and a minor investment in your ATS that increases candidate engagement will allow your talent acquisition department and your company to enhance its ability to enhance employer brand and the overall public perception of your organization.

photo from bigstock

Jeff Battinus is a seasoned healthcare recruiter, holding nearly a decade of experience in nearly all facets of the healthcare recruitment. He has worked in the staffing industry, home infusion services, hospital, non-profit, biopharmaceuticals, and oncology services. He also works with the Coast Guard Auxiliary serving on its national staff in charge of recruitment for the International Affairs/Interpreter Corps and holds the office of National Branch Chief.


20 Comments on “Contact Every Candidate

  1. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been thanked for sending brief rejection emails to candidates! They are so used to the “black hole” of online applications that any communication at all is a differentiator.

  2. Good post with an important and invaluable piece of advice.
    We live in an ever more interconnected world, as as such more and more people are getting to become connected/knowing each other than ever before. What is a little acknowledged fact and one that sits at the core of this subject is that no one can say where a possible next contact (and with that a possible answer/solution) will come from. It may sit in the closest possible ecosystem be a direct relation, or a more distant one. I may being based in the UK just happen to know or be connected to the very highly specialised senior IT software architect that someone may be looking for in San Francisco, or some person in India may happen to have a mate or contact in the UK that is exactly what I need. This is about immediate and more long term opportunities and getting answers. Assumption is as everybody knows the worst anyone can do in recruitment, and many will testify to how it has made them look stupid. If one has an open mind and embrace and explore all the possible contacts there may be, – who knows, perhaps the just rejected Mexican candidate happen to have an uncle that is the CEO that you are in need of!
    A whole different question is how to handle them all and be able to reject yet keep in the loop, – that is where this whole wonderful interconnectedness becomes a little complex.

  3. Great post! It’s true, candidates crave feedback from the companies they apply to, even if that feedback is just a polite rejection. Sending a brief and personalized thank you for applying email is a great way to maintain a positive employer brand and ensure some of this talent might even re-apply in the future. Even if you haven’t spoken with the candidate in an interview, whether in person or through online video, try to send a personalized note to everyone thanking them for their interest in the company. This little gesture can do wonders for your employer brand.

  4. Thanks, Jeff. I know of a company that will very affordably outsource the entire candidate care process, so that each and every applicant has a professional (if not actually pleasant) experience.

    Meanwhile back in the real world, candidate care is irrelevant except to the candidates themselves- employers (particularly “employers of choice”) JUST DON’T CARE. Either the sr. folks overseeing the process didn’t have to go through it (“We’re special!”), or they regarded the dysfunction as some weird kind of initiation rite which everybody should go through. When is the last time a Staffing VP at a major company got canned or called on the carpet for overseeing a hiring process that alienates tens or hundreds of thousands of regular (not “Fabulous 5%” and/or politically unconnected) people, some of whom the company actually hired?

    @ Larry: Want to find out more about The Candidate Experience Project but having some trouble with the site….


  5. A few years ago when I was still trying to make it as a freelancer I thought I’d cover my options by registering with a recruiter that specialises in my field. In fact, as I recall, I think they got in touch with me via Linkedin and I thought ‘why not?” on a sort of nothing to lose basis. So, I travelled up to their offices, spent time being interviewed, showed them my portfolio and gave them a copy of my details proving I was qualified to work in the UK (I would hope so, I’ve lived here all my life!). I didn’t expect a call a week or even a month, but since then, possibly 6 years later, nothing, nada, zilcho. Now, I am very likely not the best creative writer that ever walked through their door. I could even be deemed to be ‘of an age’ beyond the bright young things they were seeking, BUT (and that was a big ‘but’), why put me to those lengths if you then plan to do precisely nothing with my details?
    I sense that this happens increasingly in recruitment circles these days. Not just as a result of people dropping into agencies and never hearing from the recruiter again, but also in the aftermath of an online job ad and the resultant applications. OK, times are hard, there are lots of people looking for fewer jobs, but I cannot emphasise how much of a difference it makes to know that someone can be bothered to take the time to keep in touch or even acknowledge an application. It’s an esteem thing for many jobseekers I’m sure. not so much they didn’t get the job or even shortlisted, but that there was a complete veil of silence. Get a dozen or two of them (or more) and it;s easy to see why many would get disillusioned with the whole concept of using recruiters. Of course, I recognise it’s a case of the few giving the many a bad name, but it is surely down to every recruiter who genuinely cares about the candidates they serve to ensure they deliver nothing but the best service to those candidates, regardless of where they are on the talent pecking order.

  6. @ Alasdair
    What you describe happens all over and apply for 90% of ALL job seekers. You describe the UK, and I can tell you that I have myself over a 8 month period job seeking as a corporate recruiter seen and experienced every single and possible example there is of the so called ‘bad candidate experience’ It is shocking beyond words and apply to whether small agencies or very large multinationals.
    As I write this I have yet to have response on a tel interview late Oct and submittal of additional information directly to and from the global head of talent acquisition (that I had tel interview with) of a Fortune 200 US origin.based, 50.000 employee company. One original email requesting response/follow up and one reminder email and still no result!!! – tempted to name and shame, although I shall refrain.

  7. Thank you for the nice post. I could not agree more with what you stated. I believe one of the major problems that most of the recruiters have is short term vision, with the huge numbers of calls each recruiters need to do a day to meet a target, they miss the point of building future relationship with people who will make them business in the future. I have tried quiet few of these so called recruitment agencies. However I dropped 99% of them from my preferred list, I would not consider them for any recruitment. I have been dealing with 1 or 2 organisation only for the last few year, mainly because these 2 recruitment agencies did show interest in me as a person and built long term relationship. They kept me informed of the outcome of any application I made when I was looking for a job positively or negatively. The rest of these agencies work sound to me like sending messages to outer space, one day may if you are really lucky and the aliens enjoyed listening to the song you broadcasted, may be in few million years time, you will get a response!

  8. @ Everyone: I understand what you’re saying and feeling- I go through it ALL the time. At the same time, we need to face the world not as we would like it to be, but as it is.

    The world as we would like it to be:
    We are treated with pleasant professionalism, courtesy and regular communication, and are made to feel as valued individuals even if we do not get the job.

    The world as it is:
    Since we are not members of the “Fabulous 5%” (or possessors of a few in-demand skills), our phones are not ringing off the hook, we’ve not had to pull down our LI profiles because we’re being swamped with recruiters’ InMails, and we’re not having a really hard time deciding on which of many wonderful competing offers to accept, WE DO NOT MATTER. As the old song goes:” You’re Nobody till Somebody Loves You”. We should not expect any type of ordinary civility and polite communication, but should value such as we do get as a rare and precious gift, like morning dew vanishing in the harsh desert sun…

    Do we deserve better than this? Hells yeah!
    Will we get it? Well, people in hell want ice water – that don’t mean they get it.



  9. Recruitment is a service industry. You.d soon be mightily pissed off if the hotel you wanted to stay a didn’t take your calls for a reservation or failed to make your bed every morning.

  10. @Keith,I really feel sorry for you. Your self esteme is not even existing and if we keep thinking this way then idiots will role and stupidity will prevaile. It is for now because of people who think this way!

  11. Everybody has an intrinsic value. This is my belief.
    Thank you for contributing to make our profession more human (what it should never have stopped to be).
    While searching for the best candidate for the client, I always try to find out people’s qualities, even if the profile does not suit my client’s need.

  12. Contact every candidate. Do they really want an automated email? I can’t see how that would make them feel better.

  13. Ohh yes it does, – it is the difference between ending in the so called ‘big black hole’ and at least getting some kind of response/acknowledgement. It is the subject of being treated with some respect or with complete indifference.
    Indifference is the most demoralising thing you can expose a human being to, it signals that you could not give a flying hoot about someone, and that is something no one wants to see.
    A generic mail irrespective of sent to thousands is at least something.
    20 mins thought process and you can in fact create these templates so that they are more than just a cold and mechanical message, and it does not matter whether being sent to thousands, it is the tone of voice that makes the difference.

  14. @Jacob : totally right !
    It is just like the concept of “stroke” in NLP: a laboratory rat (thus a person) prefers to receive a negative stroke (and feels better) than receiving no stroke at all (indifference). And the rat with no stroke may die from it.

  15. @Sylvain, No idea that NLP support what I wrote about. My perspective is from what I feel is personally the way that I would like to be treated, and consequently what I would imagine others too. This is about human decency and being able to look yourself in the mirror.
    It really is very simple, treat others like you want to be treated, – it works every time and in all aspects!

  16. @Sylvain, a very sad fact, and one that is of the deepest concern for those of us that are partly in the game on basis of the human aspect. A constant battle and fact that only maximum of 10% of companies and organisations around the world have a focus/care about.

    That leaves 90% that don’t, – pretty shameful in this day and age and given the journey of HR in the last 30 years.

    What have we learned, how far have we come, ……. not far.

  17. Thanks Jeff. When job seekers go to a careers page and apply, they’re showing interest in that business. Not hearing back could affect them on a personal level. Job candidates have more power than ever before and can share their poor experience with their social media networks. But that shouldn’t be the only reason a company should improve their hiring process, companies should want to find the best candidates. One way to do this is to reply every step of the way, as a courtesy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *