Employer Insights

Why 'Only Shortlisted Candidates Will Be Contacted' Is the Wrong Policy

Lisa JohnsonPosted by Lisa
min read

One of the most challenging aspects of recruitment for employers is managing the applications. It's easy to see where it all falls down: dealing with the candidates you DON'T want.  

Think of it as an advertisement for John West – it's how you manage the fish that John West rejects. Whilst I understand how much time is invested in managing the candidate(s) that you want to progress through to a job offer, we can't ignore the people who are 'not right', no matter how time poor we are. 

A comment made on a recent article in the Sydney Daily Telegraph highlights how our lack of care impacts those people who ARE making a concerted effort to find a job:

'…HOWEVER Employers are not blameless. I have submitted more than 20 email applications in the past 3 months, all individually written and addressing the job criteria and with my CV attached, having the sections relevant to the job highlighted. Only ONE employer sent a thank you for your application response. What happened to good manners? This modern trend of only shortlisted candidates will be contacted is cruel and depressing for jobseekers. It takes but seconds to send a thanks but no thanks reply and at least tells job seekers that their efforts are not falling on deaf ears.'

Now, I know that this is an issue with recruiters, and they need to have systems and processes to manage the thousands of applications they receive.  But it isn't just recruiters – employers are also failing to treat applicants with respect. 

To be honest, I agree with Alan; this whole 'only shortlisted candidates will be contacted' policy is terrible. Everyone deserves, at the very least, an email to let them know that their application has been received, looked at, and that they are unsuccessful.  

Whilst I know generic emails are mostly useless, at least they send a message to acknowledge that the application has been considered. Nobody is perfect, and applications can slip through the cracks, but it helps if we remember that every single candidate, no matter how appropriate or not for the role, deserves to be treated with respect and consideration.