Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ponderous, man, really ponderous

My quick question and thought for the day is how are you handling all of your extra applicants? I keep reading about and seeing on the news how the dismal state of our economy has created many more applicants per job than in recent history. Normally this is an ideal situation for an employer. It's nice to be wanted. However, are you contacting all of these applicants? Are you at least acknowledging their efforts?

From the job seeker side, I hear that there is a long delay from the time an application is submitted to when they hear back from the employer. Now this isn't across the board and I want to praise employers who contact everyone and quickly, for that matter. That's great! But for the ones that don't get to their job candidates right away, what ends up happening, is that by the time they hear from what may have been their employer of choice, they have already made a commitment to another company. The savvy and respectful job seekers will stick with their commitment, which is the right thing to do for them, and certainly a great thing for the employer counting on their arrival. But perhaps, had you have contacted them sooner, they may be working for you this summer. So, did you miss out on a great candidate because it took too long to get back to them?

I don't want this to be a scolding post. I totally understand being busy and inundated with job applicants, and not feeling like you have the time to contact them all. I get it. But, if I was the applicant and I spent the time applying, and I had been out of work for an extended period of time, I would want to hear something, anything. I would even take a system generated "Hi" to at least know my application was successfully submitted. But nothing, no acknowledgment, that's tough to bear.

National unemployment reached 8.1% in February and I'm sure the March number will be even less savory. People are struggling. HR / Recruiting professionals are trying to help. Check out Job Angels if you haven't already done so. Now is the time to be kind to one's neighbor and lend a hand where you can. I'm not saying hire everyone. I realize that this economy is also very much touching the travel and tourism industry and the number of employees needed is down, but something human resource managers and hiring managers can do is treat their applicants with respect. And to me, respect means at least doing the applicant the honor of thanking them for applying.

Someday, I don't honestly know when, this market will recover and when it does, it will be harder to find candidates again. We've all been there before. We've desperately sought a good candidate to fill our open job. How you treat the plethora of applicants you have now, will most certainly affect how many of them will return to you when the market gets tight once again. Treat them well, and they'll come back. Treat them poorly, and they'll not only not come back, they'll tell all of their friends to not apply either.

Get it? Got it? Good.