We all know the reputation of the recruiting industry. Submitting your information to a recruiting agency enters you into the black hole where your application disappears forever. It’s frustrating to apply for a position that you view yourself as ideal for, only to fall into this black hole. It may cause you to quit using this avenue in your job search, sticking to communicating with your network to find your next exciting career opportunity.
I recently had an applicant tell me that he was one of my candidates and I didn’t respond to him. He seemed to think that when he applied for one of our positions, I owed him a personal response. I took a moment to share with him the difference between an applicant and a candidate in our industry. An applicant applies for a position, expressing interest in the role, even if they do not meet the requirements shown for the position. A candidate is someone who has been moved into the process to assess fit and interest on both the hiring and candidate sides.
Both candidates and applicants should get some form of communication. When a position is posted, it may draw 100’s of applicants who don’t fit the requirements. It’s not realistic to send a personal note to each one. An email letting those who didn’t move forward in the interview process know that other applicants who fit the description more closely are being considered is typically generated and sent to them.
Communication with candidates is oftentimes happening via email, phone and text, with updates as the process proceeds. It serves both the hiring team and the candidate well to be in close touch and to understand where the candidate stands throughout the interview and hiring process.
In today’s active talent market, some candidates seem to think it’s all right to move out of the process by no longer responding or communicating; by “ghosting.” Perhaps it seems like this won’t matter with so many opportunities to choose from. In the recruiting industry, we all have stories of how this backfired when a previous candidate came back later with interest in another position, after showing that they don’t demonstrate the strong communication skills that they tout on their resume!
Communication is important on all sides of the equation. It is how trusted relationships are built. Don’t take yourself out of the running for an opportunity because you’ve broken trust with someone in your network who may influence future hiring for a position you covet! Just as you might think you’re owed a response when you invest your time in applying for a position, as you get the opportunity to enter the interview process, consider what you might owe those who are investing their time with you!
“You cannot antagonize and influence at the same time.” ~J.S. Knox