Recruitment Etiquette Lesson 3: Pre-Interview

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by BrightMove Applicant Tracking Software and Traci Kingery

Lesson number three goes back to the beginning of the hiring process. No matter how long you’ve been in your current role, think back to when you were job hunting. Remember what it was like to submit an application and get no response or to spend a lot of time going through the process, only to end up getting a denial letter? Rejection is unavoidable, but how you handle it can make a significant difference. A candidate you decline today may be an experienced potential hire down the road. Leave a good impression of your organization with them to ensure the ability of a future hire, if and when the need arises.


Spending the time to fill out an application and, perhaps, give a follow-up call can be defeating when no response is received. There really is no excuse anymore when most job board sites and applicant tracking systems have the option to send an auto-generated response to let the candidate know their submission was received. While the auto response is a good way to let candidates know you received their application, be careful of the wording you choose. Let applicants know they will be contacted whether they are considered as a candidate or not. Shy away from any wording that discourages candidates to contact you directly, even though you probably prefer they wouldn’t. “Don’t call us, we’ll call you” should not be your organization’s recruitment motto.


When you’ve selected those that will be called for face-to-face interviews, keep in mind where each candidate is located. If possible, phone interview those that will have an extended drive. You may eliminate them without forcing a 60 mile drive each way at $4 per gallon. If an in-person interview is a must, try to be considerate. Don’t schedule interviews for first thing in the morning or at the very end of the day when the candidate has a long-distance drive.


When calling to set up an interview, give as much information as possible. Make sure to repeat the date and time at the end of the call so there are no misunderstandings. Offer directions and any helpful hints on how to find where they need to be. If interview attire is out of the ordinary (i.e. a suit is expected when it’s not obvious or jeans and sneakers are acceptable), be sure to let the candidate know. Provide up-front information on the process such as how many interviews there will be or how long before you expect to have someone hired. Also, ask any quick, pertinent questions before scheduling the interview. If the education is not clear on the resume and you require a bachelor’s degree, be sure to ask. Don’t waste a candidate’s time (and yours) by bringing in someone you won’t consider when a 60-second phone call will verify what you need to know.

Candidates talk and those that are treated badly will tell others that your company is one to avoid. You do not want to garner a potential reputation as one of the “Worst Companies to Work for” when it could be simply avoided with common courtesy. Again, today’s rejected applicant may be tomorrow’s perfect fit. Don’t hurt your chances at next year’s great hire merely because you failed to employ proper recruitment etiquette.

Traci K. is an HR Professional and freelance writer based in the Midwest, specializing in recruitment and immigration.  When she’s not improving unemployment, she keeps busy with her husband and four children.



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