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Aug 20, 2019

Reflecting on the past nine years, I have been in the recruiting industry, calls to mind my first experience with a recruiter. I had just finished two tours in the Air Force and was very new to civilian life, including searching for a job. There were many instances where I applied online and heard nothing.  Often, I applied for employment through a company website or an agency.

One particular moment still sticks with me today, where I met with a recruiter at an agency for an administrative position. Everything seemed to be easy from the get-go until I had the face-to-face with the recruiter. I can remember her being so sweet, and then she reviewed my resume and said it looked terrible. She couldn’t understand my military experience and then sent me on my way, leaving me feeling pushed aside. When you are not in the recruiting industry, it comes across as uncaring and a feeling that you do not matter. Fast forward eleven years later, where I find myself on the recruitment side and thinking, how am I going to be toward candidates while I am in the recruiting industry?

Time is Money for Recruiters

According to an article published in 2016, “Although most companies send an immediate “thank you” to the candidate when they receive an application, only 40% of recruiters respond at all.”

Acknowledging every candidate can be draining, but imagine the candidate applying for the job which can be time-consuming in many cases. Recruiters do not have time to respond to every candidate, but how you say you do not have time is what matters.

Responding to Candidates

If a candidate has taken time to apply for a job that you have posted, then you should give them the courtesy of responding, even if it’s automated. I have formed a habit over the last eight years to respond to every candidate that applies. It takes seconds to copy an email address into a scripted email template and send. Here are a couple of examples I use:

Example 1 – For those who are not qualified for a particular position after confirming with the recruiters in my office:

Hi <Candidates Name>!

Thank you for your interest in Fidelis Companies.  Currently, we don’t have any openings that are a fit for your background. You can also continue monitoring our “Search Jobs” section of to keep updated on our most current opportunities.

Example 2  – For those that are not in any of the industries my agency recruits for:

Hi <Candidates Name>!

Thank you for your interest in Fidelis Companies.  Currently, we don’t have any openings that are a fit for your background in mechanical engineering.  We specialize in semiconductor engineering (hardware and integrated circuits).  You can monitor our “Search Jobs” section of to keep updated on our most current opportunities should we start recruiting for your particular industry of expertise.

When I was a candidate, I would have instead heard something from a company/recruiter vs. nothing at all.

The Lost Candidate – Casting Too Wide of a Net

I cannot tell you how many candidates call into our office wanting to apply for our positions. Many of them are not in any of the industries we recruit for, or are recent college graduates searching for jobs and so do not meet qualifications for our positions. Not wanting to send them away empty-handed, I created an email template with a sample resume, articles to help them interview, and ways to connect with recruitment professionals for their particular industry. The email takes me less than one minute to send.  Here is what a typical email looks like to help out the “lost candidate.”

In Conclusion: Returns Can Be Non-Monetary

There is no return for a recruiter spending a few minutes to help a candidate. I get it. We are all busy, but I can find a couple of minutes during my lunch hour or after work to support a candidate who may be lost. One day these candidates may be the next hiring manager, and they will remember how someone gave them a bit of help that took them to the next step of their career. We can all do better to improve the impression candidates have of recruitment professionals.

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