Job ads: The One Sentence That Will Turn Off The Best Talent. Especially Millennials.

The impression of being in a position of power can lead recruiters to misjudge an applicant’s reaction to their hiring practices.

by Fabian Sautier — 11 September 2016

Over my 10-year career as a young professional, I have prepared and sent applications to dozens of companies. You have probably done the same.

You come across an interesting job offer, so you read it with attention. Next, you do some research about the employer on the company website or employer review sites. Who are they? How do they work? What are their values? How do they treat their employees? Then you start compiling arguments why you are the right person for the job. You tailor your CV, you write a tailored motivation letter, you fill out the endless online forms and you submit. At this point you have invested multiple hours, sometimes split over a couple of days.

Why do we do that? Out of respect, professionalism and because you believe it is the way to put the best chances of success on your side.

As you have experienced yourself, some applications get you an interview, others don't. That's not the problem, that's part of the game.

What is problematic though is when applications remain completely unanswered. The worst I have seen are employers who bluntly announce in their job offers that an application might remain unanswered stating phrases like "due to the large amount of applications we will only get back to candidates who match the profile we look for."

This attitude towards talented applicants testifies to arrogance and a lack of respect. While many applications put in the necessary hours to prepare and fine-tune their application, many employers do not even want to give back a fraction of the time to send a refusal message.

While employers except tailored, high-quality applications of potential employees, they often are not even willing to make the slightest effort when processing the application. Imagine applicants sending the same CV and motivation letter to every company stating that "due to the large amount of applications I send I am unfortunately not able to tailor mine to your company." Who would hire them?

Don’t get me wrong, I don't expect employers to answer every application, no matter its quality, I am well aware that many applications send generic CVs and letters and of course these half-hearted efforts should remain unanswered, yet an employer needs to make the effort to distinguish between HQ and LQ applications and answer all the HQs, even if they decide not move forward in the recruiting process.

Recruiters leave applications unanswered because they believe that not answering applications creates efficiencies and saves time in the short run, yet it actually harms employer branding and image in the long run. Talented people who engage with a potential employer through their application expect to be heard and talked to, especially the Millennial generation of professionals. If they are not heard, initial interest for the company will turn into rejection, due to the lack of appreciation towards their application. All that will remain is a bad memory of a bad employer experience, and certainly not another application of recommendation of this company.

So, is saving a few minutes today worth losing a chance to hire the talent tomorrow?

Every recruiter needs to answer the question for himself.

What is your perspective on this crucial HR topic? We would love to discuss with you in the comment section below.

To go further, we recommend:

How to Write Job Listings Top Candidates Can't Resist


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