When your company has a job opening, your goal is to find a worker with the right skills and the right fit for your organization. Unfortunately, too many employers have a laser focus on this one result and forget that there are plenty of other factors involved in recruiting new talent that can have an affect on your business.
Think of it this way: Employers understand the negative impact an unhappy or disgruntled customer can have on their business. Well the same can be said of job applicants who come away from their experience with your company feeling like they haven't been treated with respect. They tell their friends and family about it, and that can cost you in terms of both your reputation in the community, as well as your ability to recruit top talent in the future.
Given today's economic climate and the fact that - even in the best of times - seeking a new job is a stressful and emotional venture, it is vital that you pay as much attention to those applicants who don't land that plum job, as the one who does. Remember, a person may be disappointed that they didn't get an interview, or ultimately land the job, but they can still come away from the process feeling good about your company - if you treat them fairly.
We've all heard different versions of the same story, of someone who crafted a cover letter and sent along their resume for a position for which they felt qualified and the next thing to happen was... nothing. While the vast majority of applicants will be screened out very early in the process, it is still important to acknowledge their application and prevent them from feeling like their application was swallowed by a "black hole". A simple and to the point email or post card at this early stage should be enough. Acknowledge receipt of their application, thank them for their interest in your company and explain that only those selected for interviews will be contacted.
In the day-to-day of managing your business, filling a position is one of many items on your ?to do' list. However, for a person who has interviewed with your company, the recruitment process is probably their primary focus, especially if they are not currently working. So, if you say you'll call next Tuesday to advise regarding the status of the search, it's important to follow through so that the candidate is not left waiting and wondering, or considering an offer from another company.
So the interviews are done and there are still a handful of people who won't get the job. At this stage, you have a more personal connection with the applicant, so make any communication of bad news personal and private. No one wants to come home to a voice message their roommate has already listened to saying they didn't make the cut, or have a postcard sitting on the kitchen table their kid brought in from the mailbox saying that they aren't qualified.
Paying attention to these details does take a bit more of your time, but in the end it pays off to preserve and enhance your company's reputation in the community and can help set you apart as one of the preferred employers in your market.