Job seekers hear it all the time: Looking for a job is a full-time job itself. Your job begins when you dispatch your cover letter and resume or complete an employment application. Interviewing is the next step in the hiring process, but it doesn't stop there. Your to-do list might consist of second interviews, skills testing and follow-up calls and messages if you're really interested in the position because it's not uncommon to hear absolutely nothing after your job interview.
Compared with the technology that companies use to attract applicants nowadays, posting help-wanted ads in the Sunday newspaper is a waste of time and money. So, companies use a combination of online job posting, social networking and applicant tracking systems, or ATS, to streamline the recruitment and selection process. Automating the application process can make follow-up communication with job seekers easier. But it can speed up the process so much that recruiters overlook simple courtesies, such as sending a rejection letter to applicants who aren't chosen.
Seasoned recruiters may be more likely to understand the implications of making post-interview contact with applicants. Recruiters who look at the hiring process from an applicant's perspective are likely to show professional courtesies, such as follow-up emails and phone calls. An experienced and successful recruiter knows that the job seeker community is a small one where news about applicants' job-search experiences travels at lightning speed on the Internet. Employers who don't bother to follow up with applicants they interview usually don't get high ratings on employer-review sites, such as Glassdoor.com, Vault.com and CareerBliss.com. Nevertheless, even recruiters with years of experience don't always contact applicants to give them interview feedback.
Without some form of technology to aid in the hiring process, recruiters and hiring managers often are faced with providing post-interview feedback one candidate at a time. When unemployment rates are high, the number of job applicants usually rises, too, because so many job seekers are looking for work. Having to call or write dozens, or even hundreds, of applicants after an interview is a daunting task that quickly becomes a chore. And when there's more of the hiring manager's regular work just sitting around, calling or writing applicants gets put on the back burner and eventually just gets put off indefinitely.
In many cases, it takes a phone call from the candidate to jog the recruiter's or hiring manager's memory. Interviewers who work for large companies might have so many other job duties that they forget to follow up with candidates they interview. Candidates who show initiative and interest in jobs they interview for sometimes stand out among their competition. Candidates who sit back and wait to hear whether they get another interview or if the company is interested in making an offer can miss out on opportunities.
Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.