Why "Dear Candidate" just isn't good enough

If you're anything like me, every day your inbox gets filled with emails from businesses you’ve shopped with.  Each one is personally addressed to me and contains an offer meant to tempt me to part with my hard earned cash.

Just yesterday I received three.  “Dear Fiona, get in for our 3 for 2 offer”, Fiona, here’s what’s hot for winter”, “Hey Fiona, this offer only lasts until midnight”.

Not one said, “Dear Shopper” or “Dear Customer”.

So why is it OK for us to write “Dear Candidate”?  It’s not!

Most “thank you for applying” auto-responders say it and yet, in this day and age, there are a million systems that allow you to personalize emails.  And yet, no one seems to be using them. 

It’s ironic that, in the human resources industry of recruitment and employment, we’re de-humanising the process.  Why is that?

It seems that there is a lot of focus on the way we treat our employees - but the people who could become our employees, or who might even be existing customers who want to work for us, aren’t treated the same way. 

Businesses tell us that good people are still hard to find, and the predictions are that it’s going to get harder as we move into a market where the candidate has the power.  If that’s the case, and you want to get the pick of them, then you better start treating them a bit better.

In recruitment, it seems that common courtesy has simply gone out the window.  Years ago, when we all seemed a lot more respectful, every applicant received a thank you and declined applicants received a polite letter of rejection.  Now, with system that can automate practically every part of our business, and would make it simple to do this, basic manners have disappeared. 

For a start, when someone applies for your job, give him or her a response.  It’s amazing just how many companies still don’t even acknowledge an application.  Let candidates know what to expect, how long you’ll be reviewing applicants for and, if they’re granted an interview, approximately when that might be.

Think back to when you last applied for a job.  We’re you anxious about hearing back as to whether you where in with a chance?  So are your candidates! 

It can all be done in one simple “form” email from pretty much any auto-responder system.

Then when it comes time to award the job, let the unsuccessful candidates know.  It’s not OK just to let them assume they’ve been unsuccessful.  In fact, it’s downright rude and it’s hugely damaging to your employment brand - and, if you’re a consumer brand, to your customer relationships.  In these cases, your candidates could well be your customers as well - and I’m hazarding a guess that you wouldn’t ignore a customer in this way.

It’s not hard to keep people in the loop - especially today.  And it’s not hard to personalize a response.  You’ve got their names - they told you when they applied - so use them.  Dear Candidate is just not good enough.



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