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Employers: Write Job Candidates Thank You Notes (Seriously)

job candidates

It’s standard practice for job candidates to thank employers after every interview they have. The format has been outlined for decades: Show gratitude for the opportunity, reiterate strengths, perhaps expand on points that may not have been fully communicated, illustrate your professionalism and eagerness.

But here’s a related practice that will be critical for hiring in 2022: EMPLOYERS should write JOB CANDIDATES thank you notes. Why? Supply and demand.

It seems whoever the job market currently favors (employers versus job seekers), that group too often wields its power by ghosting the other (disappearing without explanation) during the hiring process. Since the onset of the pandemic, 77% of job seekers say a prospective employer has ghosted them. But now that the power is back in the job candidates’ favor, about 76% of employers report being ghosted themselves.

So what does this have to do with thank you notes? Thanking job candidates throughout the hiring process keeps the lines of communication open, which is vital to winning them over. CareerBuilder research found that poor communication is the leading cause of candidate drop-off. Nearly 60% of job candidates have said that they walked away from a potential job offer during the interview process due to poor communication. Among the worst offenses are employers leaving them in the dark about where they stand as candidates and taking too long or being too vague or impersonal with the next steps.

The HT Group fills roles in Temporary Staffing, Executive Search, Technical Recruiting, and Retained Search.

Sending job candidates a note to thank them—or responding to their thank you note in the same way if they beat you to it—gives you a chance to:

  • Enhance their experience. Candidate experience is tremendously important. Research by Austin-based software company CareerPlug shows that 58% of job seekers have declined a job offer because of a poor experience with a potential employer during the hiring process. Conversely, 80% of candidates said a positive candidate experience influenced their decision to take an offer. 
  • Keep them engaged. Job candidates who received feedback on the same day as their interview are 52% more likely to increase their relationship with a prospective employer. About 40% of job candidates will lose interest in a job if they haven’t heard from an employer within a week of an interview. Some job candidates are even disappearing between accepting the job and starting (Indeed puts that number at 7%). So don’t stop communicating during that time. Send a welcome packet, invite them to happy hour, do what you can to keep them engaged before their first day.
  • Set expectations. This is especially important if your time-to-hire is long or requires multiple interviews or steps. Don’t wing it. Create a timeline of both the hiring process and communication touchpoints throughout that process. After each task is completed (an interview, assessment, etc.), send a note – either an email or text, depending on that industry’s standard – thanking them for their time and then clarifying what stage they’re at in the process, what to expect next, and when to expect it.

An outside recruiter can help make these points of communication happen seamlessly and in a critically personalized way.

“You, as the employer, could offer to answer any questions they have or encourage the candidate to reach out at any time. But the intimidation factor is real no matter how comfortable you make the candidate feel in the interview,” says The HT Group President Chad Macy.

A good rule of thumb is to follow up immediately with the recruiter after an interview and to ask them to thank the job candidate for their time. Give them some general feedback to pass along. For instance, “It’s good that they have database storage management experience already.” In return, you may get critical bits of information as the job candidate responds to them. For instance, they may be concerned about benefits, or they’re interviewing with another company they feel aligns with them more. Those are significant reasons employers are ghosted, and ones that job candidates wouldn’t usually confess to employers directly.

Give it a try! This little step could mean a world of difference when it comes to keeping job candidates engaged.

The HT Group fills roles in Temporary Staffing, Executive Search, Technical Recruiting, and Retained Search.

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