25 October 2007

Recruiting: Send regret emails efficiently (1/2)

Part 1 is a walk down memory lane that leads to today's challenge: how to process hundreds of regret emails efficiently.

In part 2 I'll describe how you can send a regret email within seconds.

A recruiter is unlucky if he gets only 3 applications in response to a published job ad (especially if none fits the required profile). But he's also a poor sod if he gets 50 or even 100 CVs per position.

The illusion of personalized regret letters

At my very first HR job the HR Director instructed us to send personalized regret letters to each and every candidate. For some time, we were hiring up to 30 Customer Care Representatives per month. One day, we actually bothered to analyze the available data and realized that we hired around 5% of all applicants. This means that we processed close to 5'000 applications to build up a call center with 250 representatives (by then we already had to replace the first leavers, of course).

Needless to say that we silently ignored our orders (of course, this was never held against us). I also became an expert in using the MS Word "mail merge" function.

The cyber age: more bits, less paper

Back then we received most applications on paper. Personal email accounts or even Internet connections at home were brand new and revolutionary. Applications were measured in piles (start a new pile when the current one is starting to keel over). Best practice: start a new pile when the old one reaches 24.5 centimeters [1].

Jobsites and email applications

I love the Internet and I love email (except when I get 50 emails per day and 2/3 of them require some action from my part that can take between 2 min and 2 hours).

It's so easy to send an email application. Either you already have a profile on a job site or you just send an email with a copy-pasted text (if at all) and a few attachments. 3 years ago I used to get a lot of applications from India, nowadays it's often Romania, Poland or Russia.

Warning, here comes an ugly word: BACKLOG

If you don't have an efficient recruiting tool that allows you to automatically send regret emails, you might know this situation: you're at your desk at 1 am, feeling very, very guilty because you still haven't said "no" to dozens or even hundreds of hopeful job applicants and you're asking yourself when too late is "too late". After 1 month, 3 months, 6 months?

Automated regret messages?

From a job seeker's point of view: it's tough working on your CV for hours and trying to come up with the perfect motivation letter... and then you receive a well-drafted, polite, but still standard regret message.

But I'd say it's still better than receiving no answer at all. As mentioned above, applying is becoming almost too easy nowadays. Some applicants don't even bother to write "Hi, here's my CV. Regards, Billy" anymore. Some just send a CV without any text and even without mentioning the job title in the subject (this is really annoying if you have 10+ open positions in different departments and maybe even in several countries).

Automated regret messages: YES!

The next part will be about sending regret messages very quickly and very easily.
Stay tuned...

[1] 24.5 cm = 9.65 in

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