In today’s job market, it is increasingly difficult for companies to keep up with the massive influx of resumes. Smart ones do.
I recently talked with a hiring manager of a major restaurant chain who received more than 750 resumes in the first week after posting a job opening. Another executive told me she relied only on word-of-mouth when she posted a job internally–generating more than 100 resumes. Similar responses are being realized whenever a job opening occurs. The manner in which both sides handle the process can have an impact on their company and personal brands.
Today’s New York Times Preoccupations column should be required reading for everyone in recruiting and human resources jobs. Bottom line: Treat applicants well since they will remember your brand.
I have not been perfect in this regard, but I try to be as responsive as possible. I learned from the best–two bosses in particular come to mind: Bud Cairns of Eli Lilly and Bob Lauer of Sara Lee. Sadly, both are no longer alive, but their passion for conveying their company’s brands through the way they treat prospective employees has had a major influence on me. They practiced a simple policy mandating that anyone contacting their companies deserved a response. Back in my Lilly days, that was more complicated since it required individually typed letters with inside addresses and real signatures, not informal email responses.
For hiring managers: Please respond to every resume received. If the prospect doesn’t have a chance, a direct response will be most helpful since it allows the applicant to focus elsewhere. If the candidate is under consideration, keep him/her in the loop regarding the decision-making process. Long pauses typical in the hiring process at most companies are unsettling to applicants. A simple heads up note that the process is bogged down due to travel schedules or workloads is very much appreciated. If the hiring manager is swamped, he or she should promptly forward the resume to someone in HR who can start the process of assessing the candidate.
For applicants: Understand that the hiring process is not the only thing going on within the company or agency. Even when an opening exists and everyone seems eager to fill the position, the process often takes an illogical amount of time. Email has replaced phone calls as the preferred communications channel since it allows the hiring manager to respond in a less-pressure-filled time frame.
Good or bad experiences? Share them via Comments, but don’t burn bridges by mentioning names or companies.