With good jobs still scarce, companies often receive thousands of job applications every month. In a scenario where a thousand people apply for one job opening there will be 999 disappointed jobseekers. That’s a LOT of collective disappointment.
Often job applicants spend hours crafting the perfect customized resume and cover letter, more hours researching the company and its competitors, and several dollars in mailing costs. They’ve made a considerable investment in time, energy, and money in an attempt to work at your company. When job-seekers don’t receive a reply to their application, or in most cases, a terse form letter rejection (“While your credentials are impressive, we’ve decided blah, blah, blah”) hope turns to anger and resentment toward your company. Rejection is a bitter pill to swallow.
But in classic “lemons to lemonade” thinking, there’s a better way.
Job applicants are a prime untapped resource for companies. Remember, these are people who liked your company enough to want to spend years of their life working for you. Treat them with respect and love. Why? Because they can help your company…
(a) Enhance its reputation
(b) Increase sales
(c) Develop a valuable talent pool
And because it’s the right thing to do.
- SWAP YOUR REJECTION LETTER FOR A THANK YOU LETTER.
Start with the rejection letter. Change its tone of voice. Like the pretty girl or handsome guy who turns you down for a date by first telling you how incredible you are before saying there is someone else they love, be gracious in your rejection. Thank the applicant and acknowledge the effort they put into their attempt to work at your company. Say that you are flattered they want to work for you. Be genuine in your appreciation.
- SHOW THEM YOUR APPRECIATION WITH A GIFT.
As a “thank you” for their interest in your company send the applicant a free sample, a coupon for one of your products, or a discount on your service. This “gift” alone can turn resentment into admiration for your company. Your gift will come back to you in other ways as well…such as increased sales. People who like your company well enough to want to work for you are ideal target consumers. And when they tell their friends and family about your company don’t you want it to be positive?
- BE A GOOD CORPORATE CITIZEN.
Create a resource page at your website for job applicants. Include tips from recognized career management experts. Offer free downloadable books on job search subjects…often available at no cost from career experts. Give the disappointed job-seeker tools, resources…and hope.
- CREATE A RESOURCE FOR FUTURE HIRES.
Create an applicant resource database your company can use as a first step in future hiring. Many new hires, even at the executive level, don’t work out within the first 18 months. If you’ve stayed in touch with your job applicants, you can avoid the laborious and expensive process of looking for a replacement by tapping into your next best candidates.
Stay in touch with job applicants from time to time and let them know they haven’t been “round filed.” Tell them about developments at your company. Send them another “gift” on their birthday. Create relationships that will bear fruit for a lifetime.
- CREATE A FAN BASE FROM YOUR FANS.
Consider creating an online community of people who want to work at your company. Engage with them. Ask questions that can help you improve your company, products, and hiring process. Ask them to report in on their career developments. Creating a personal relationship with people who would like to work for you someday can reveal insights no other group can.
- STAND OUT FROM YOUR COMPETITORS.
Because so few companies have thoughtful, considerate, kind programs in place to address their job applicants, your company will stand out. Don’t be shy about telling the world you are different. You might even make the evening news. And morale among your current team members will improve as they see how valuable you consider them…your company’s #1 resource.
Remember, in an age when the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are people, it pays to act personally. Show that your company is more than an impersonal corporate entity. Show that you are human. Show that you care. In hiring, as in all other things in life, the Golden Rule applies…do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Eric Wentworth, Author, “A Plan for Life: The 21st Century Guide to Success in Wealth, Health, Career, Education, Love, Place…and You!” www.APlanForLife.com Twitter @APlanForLife