rant - letters to applicants

Not really a question that I expect many answers to . . . more of a rant, but . . . WHAT is up with HR people NOT responding to applicants & resume responses to open advertisements??????????????????

I really hate this.  I currently work as a stand-alone full-service HR guy for a small/medium size company and I am busy as hell but if I put an advertisement out for an open position I ALWAYS send acknowledgement letters to respondents.  They get 1 letter confirming that I got the resume, and another letter when I have filled the position or closed the search.  Granted, there have been a few times in the past when I got behind and the last letter didn't get sent until a month after the fact, but I felt guilty as hell for it.   I just always assumed this was common practice.  Basic manners!  It is plain rude to not do so in my opinion.  It doesn't take that much time to craft a general letter that can be individualized for the situation.  People who actually make it to the interview stage always get something even more personal from me if they don't make the cut - a phone call if possible, a detailed letter and encouragement if not. 

It's one thing to recieve a random resume when you weren't looking - in those cases I usually don't respond.  But if I put an ad out - then I'd better be prepared to answer to people inquiring.  I was lucky enough to only have two jobs in the last 15 years, so I haven't had to endure it myself very often, but I'm in a situation now where I need to start and the lack of courtesy is astonishing. 

I have to know, is this just an LA thing?  Are people just lazy and rude here, or is this everywhere?  What is the norm?  And if you don't acknowledge job seekers, how can you defend your laziness?   [:@] ; grrrrr


  • 6 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • This is not just an LA thing. That rudeness is prevalent in the midwest as well. I, like you, always make sure letters are sent to applicants. I don't do them myself however. I have given templates to each hiring manager for them to send. It is a part of our hiring procedures. When the application comes to me it had better have a copy of the letter in it. It is common courtesy. Besides, our business is in the public sector. We view all applicants as potential clients.

  • "We view all applicants as potential clients"

    That's another excellent point.

  • I don't send letters to every applicant.  I will send an initial response to the resume as receipt of the resume basically saying it will be reviewed and we will be in contact if they meet our needs.  If I conduct a phone screen or invite someone in for an interview, I will send a letter.
  • I think it can be agreed upon that we are busy people and sometimes it's hard to respond to every applicant, especially if you see a deluge of resumes for one opening.  It seems to me that this is why it is expected that the applicant follow up if they don't hear anything...it's your resume, you need to put in some leg work if you're interested...not just sit back and let them come to you. 

    But I will agree that I'm not a fan of not following up after the interview is over.  I had that happen to me when I was transferring from the military to the civilian world and it irritated me.  I don't expect for the interviewer to give me pointers or tell me specifically why they didn't accept me, just be considerate and say thanks, but you're not what we are looking for.  I always follow up after an interview to let them know what we are thinking and what they should expect. 

  • 20 years ago. Microsoft received 8.000 applications per month.

    Who wants to pay for 7.950 postcards?


    The larger the company, the more like you won't hear anything.

  • Many businesses now have an auto-reply feature to electronic submissions.  That way you at least know your resume/application has been received for processing/review.  They also have a similar feature that allows for notifying applicants when the position has been filled.

    I'm also with a small business and do contact all applicants.  Professional courtesy dictates some type of response if you post a position.  But at the same time I agree with the comment that it is "your resume and responsibility to follow-up" after you've submitted a resume/application for a posted position.  There's also that fine line between a follow-up phone call to check the status of the hiring process and becoming a pest.  I've had people submit electronic paperwork and then call 10-minutes later "just to be sure" we received it.  And then proceed to call several times a week to check the status.  Now that just gets plain annoying.

     HJopefully your search will be short and fruitful!

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