To expect a rejection letter

(67 Posts)
JanuaryShoes Wed 22-Jan-14 10:45:34

I've just applied for a job, I got a letter acknowledging my application and then nothing.

The interview day has long passed so I assume I haven't been successful.

Isn't it just good manners to send a letter of rejection?

BrianTheMole Wed 22-Jan-14 10:47:41

Why don't you ring and ask for feedback?

sallysoubriquet Wed 22-Jan-14 10:51:11

Yes it is, but a lot of places cover themselves with an 'if you don't hear from us byx date please assume you have not been successful...' type of thing.

Last time we recruited I acknowledged all applications and sent an email to all unsuccessful applicants. With a basic email template, tweaked as appropriate, it takes very little time and no actual cost, but it's worth huge amounts in goodwill (very important when you are a small family business...very importnat anyway!) I lost count of the number of people who replied to my rejection email saying how pleased they were to get it and how unusual it is.

It did make me wonder whether I should write back thanking them for their thank you, but I thought that might be over egging it!

JanuaryShoes Wed 22-Jan-14 10:51:47

I'm planning to. I'm a bit nervous to be honest, it's the first time I've applied for a job since stopping to have my family. I thought my application form was pretty good but maybe not hmm

Juno77 Wed 22-Jan-14 10:53:15

Sadly this is the case now, there are hundreds of applicants for each position. It just isn't feasible to respond to them all.

You are lucky you got an acknowledgement to be honest.

JanuaryShoes Wed 22-Jan-14 10:55:10

Sally - that's what I thought. I applied to a local business and we're customers of theirs (although they wouldn't know that from my application). I'm definitely inclined not to use them anymore so think you're doing the right thing. Although, thanking the thank yous may be going a bit far wink

JanuaryShoes Wed 22-Jan-14 10:56:33

That makes me sad Juno - it took hours and hours to complete my application. It wouldn't take that long to do a mail merge rejection letter.

Juno77 Wed 22-Jan-14 10:59:51

Indeed, but they don't. Especially small business who just don't have the time or facility.

I applied for over 100 jobs last year when I was looking to move. I got maybe, 10% of responses.

I hired 2 staff myself this year. Advert in the job centre, over 250 applicants for two positions. We are a small business, I don't have a mail merge facility and I couldn't afford to spend time replying. So all applicants never heard back, bar the 8 that I interviewed.

I did obviously respond to the 6 unsuccessful people, but I just couldn't reply to the rest to let them know they weren't going to interview.

Sheldonswhiteboard Wed 22-Jan-14 11:05:26

I'm afraid we only send out rejection letters to those we have interviewed but we do put the "if you haven't heard from us by xx" on the application packs. I think most companies operate on this basis though.

sallysoubriquet Wed 22-Jan-14 11:12:05

Well we are similarly placed to you Juno and are thankfully very busy but respecting applicants who are potential customers is a top priority. I guess when you own the place (hah!!!) you make the time.

myitchybeaver Wed 22-Jan-14 11:15:37

It does take a long time to send rejection letters. I manage a small business and do all my own HR. I cannot respond to every application or CV I receive. It sounds like a quick 'mail merge' but it's not that simple. Two thirds of the applicants don't supply/have email addresses so I have to type and print a letter, write the address on the envelope, put the letter in and then take my mail to the post box. I have no admin support.

When I started this job I did everything 'properly' and I nearly had a breakdown. Some corners need to be cut. It's not necessarily laziness or incompetence.

sallysoubriquet Wed 22-Jan-14 11:26:04

Two thirds of the applicants don't supply/have email addresses

This is easily overcome by requesting all applications be sent by email: not too big an ask nowadays.

Honestly, honestly, it really is that simple! And SO worth it!

sallysoubriquet Wed 22-Jan-14 11:27:09

Looks like I'm fighting a rear guard action all on my own here!

DameDeepRedBetty Wed 22-Jan-14 11:32:35

I've always acknowledged job enquiries etc, but since I've never had to advertise for staff yet I haven't had the hundreds of applications to deal with scenario.

I regularly get calls or emails from people who would like to be dogwalkers or sitters, and have so far always filled my vacancies from these. I feel that anyone who has been motivated enough to make on-spec enquiries like this is likely to be the sort of self-reliant person I need.

myitchybeaver Wed 22-Jan-14 11:39:07

sally I completely disagree with you! You must have so much more time than me (and other similar business owners that I know). Each to their own.

MrsKoala Wed 22-Jan-14 11:42:29

Unfortunately it's very rare to get a rejection letter. I've spent weeks on applications and not heard anything. I've also spent ages preparing for interviews, putting together presentations and printing hand outs and buying a new suit to turn up to people wearing ripped jeans, flip flops and vests (the Tate), no projection equipment (English Heritage), and once no chairs, so i had to sit on the floor (The Old Vic). I have even not heard back after interviews and had to call weeks later. Surely if you taken a day off work and put lots of effort in people could have the decency to let you know.

JustGettingOnWithIt Wed 22-Jan-14 11:45:05

"I thought my application form was pretty good but maybe not hmm "

Don't let it knock your confidence, there's probably nothing wrong with your application, just lots of competition at the moment.

givemeaclue Wed 22-Jan-14 11:45:46

This is normal, you will need to toughen up and not take it personally. Don't boycott the business because of it! Do apply for lots more jobs, you need to apply for lots to get anything not one at a time. Good luck

Juno77 Wed 22-Jan-14 11:46:21

Sally Sorry but I also disagree! I just haven't got time. You must have a lot more spare time than me too, I just could not justify sending out 250+ rejection letters/emails. My time is worth too much.

I wish I had the time spare that you do!

sallysoubriquet Wed 22-Jan-14 11:46:27

Well you would know exactly how busy I am Mitchy (the fact that we are both MNing suggests there is some slack somewhere for both of us!!)

But try as I might I can never find any excuse for lack of courtesy. As you say , each to his/her own.

Juno77 Wed 22-Jan-14 11:50:24

It's not 'lack of courtesy' though, is it? It's lack of resources at work.

I mean, I just cannot justify paying myself for hours spent responding to over 250 applicants. That time can be better spent.

It's not great, I agree, but please don't call me uncourteous. I would love to respond to each and every applicant, but it would take hours. And that costs money, money a small business can't afford.

*It's my day off today, in case you wonder why I am MNing wink

sallysoubriquet Wed 22-Jan-14 11:50:49

Well as I say Juno we clearly all have a bit of slack.

But seeing as snidey remarks seem to be oikay maybe I should just say that if you were to work as efficiently as I do (alright alright) and introduce smart systems which cost nothing if you have a basic suite of PC applications then you might find you have the time for really important stuff too.

I'm out. January YANBU....not at all!

sallysoubriquet Wed 22-Jan-14 11:54:03

But I didn't call you uncourteous Juno I didn't even call you discourteous! (Christ I'm on a roll today!!!)

Please show me where I did!

Juno77 Wed 22-Jan-14 11:54:05

Oh, I am only 'slacking' today as it is my day off. Are you suggesting I do it today?! I am not going to work for free!

Can you give me an idea of these free smart systems? I would be really interested if there was a way to respond en mass to things.

Oh, and don't be snidey wink

Juno77 Wed 22-Jan-14 11:56:17

In was referring to this comment:

But try as I might I can never find any excuse for lack of courtesy. As you say , each to his/her own.

Which implied that those of us who don't have time are being uncourteous (or discourteous, if you prefer?)

sallysoubriquet Wed 22-Jan-14 11:57:28

Seriously Juno if you would like to PM me I will tell you what I do to make it the matter of a couple of seconds per applicant!

And as I say, we own the business so in a sense everything we do is paid/for free. It is of course a different matter if you are paid for your time!

Snidey hugs!!

sallysoubriquet Wed 22-Jan-14 12:00:09

Which implied that those of us who don't have time are being uncourteous (or discourteous, if you prefer?)

You got me...I completely overlooked that one. Many apologies, out of order, but in my (lack of) defence I was piqued by Mitchy's implication that I had too much time on my hands (though s/he's clearly got a point today!!!)

Bowlersarm Wed 22-Jan-14 12:00:49

I'm not currently trying to get a job, but if I were, I wouldn't expect a rejection letter if I hadn't been called in for an interview.

It's well documented that all jobs are massively oversubscribed. I would assume that companies and businesses just wouldn't have the time to respond to every cv sent in, unless they were interested in you.

I would imagine sally is very much the exception, rather than the rule.

Juno77 Wed 22-Jan-14 12:02:36

No idea how to PM blush

I am very serious though, if there is a specific system that I can use to facilitate this, that doesn't cost money, I would be really interested. We are really tight financially (I work for a small business) and can't afford to out systems in place, I have to do everything manually.

If you have some time saving systems, I would be very interested!

sallysoubriquet Wed 22-Jan-14 12:07:28

Juno find one of my messages, click on massage poster, write me a message: job's a good'un! xxx

PassAFist Wed 22-Jan-14 12:16:34

I am with sally. I know time is precious and we all have very little. I also think that common decency costs nothing but is all too rare these days. Fair enough if it says in the ad that "if you haven't heard from us by xx date", but I still think it is so much better to send a letter/email. I think it is a poor reflection on the company that doesn't send that letter, and likely a reflection on the level of respect you can expect from them as an employee (sorry, my personal opinion and no reflection on anyone here, but I work for a company currently that has zero respect for their employees - never again!).

I do not currently own a business but I am in the planning stages. It is a long way down the road until I will be in a position to hire someone, but I hope that I will not forget how it feels to send in many applications to places and hear nothing at all, no acknowledgment that the application was received, no call regarding an interview or not, no letter that the position has been filled. I have seen DH in that position many times and it's awful! All for the sake of a few moments to send out a nice letter. His applications are all online too, via email, so there's no excuse really.

I think public image is so critical. If I think a company is run by decent people I will use them, even if they are not the fastest or the cheapest. If I think a company is run by arseholes, I will not use them no matter what. It doesn't just apply to how they treat their customers but also to how they treat their employees and potential employees.

JanuaryShoes Wed 22-Jan-14 12:29:23

Sally - I'm with you, obviously! I think a mail merge email is pretty easy, they asked for email addresses on the application.

It is a point of courtesy for me, maybe I'm a bit old fashioned, but I just find rude!

Juno77 Wed 22-Jan-14 12:38:54

Pass Do you really think I do it out of disrespect?

For the last position I advertised, I got 268 applications.

I spend maybe, 5 minutes reading each application. That's 22.3 hours I spent reading applications.

I then invited 8 for interview.

Each interview was around an hour, plus maybe 15 minutes each side pre and post prep. So 1.5 hours, x 8 interviews = 12 hours.

I then wrote to the 6 that were unsuccessful. U gave feedback, so probably 10 minutes per person? That's another hour.

If I was able to write a rejection letter for each applicant, that would be 250 rejection letters.

Lets say it takes me only three minutes per person. That is 750 minutes. That's 12.5 hours to send out all the emails.

And you think I am a bad employer because I can't spare 25.5 hours, once a month, to fill one vacancy?

That's a weeks wages for one of our staff. I would have to cut existing staff hours quite dramatically to be able to facilitate this.

So please, don't call me disrespectful. I wish it could be different sad

JanuaryShoes Wed 22-Jan-14 12:47:49

Point taken Juno, I can see that it's very time consuming

PassAFist Wed 22-Jan-14 12:49:21

But Juno, as an applicant to a position at your company I have no way of knowing any of that. I only know that I sent in an application that I have spent many hours on myself and I have heard nothing back. That is the only information I have to go on, and I'm sorry, but yes I do see it as a lack of manners/respect/decency. Sorry. sad

PassAFist Wed 22-Jan-14 12:50:49

I do take your point that it is very time-consuming though! I don't know what the answer is.

Unexpected Wed 22-Jan-14 12:52:34

Umm, if you are sending out rejection emails, you do a single email, blind copy all the recipients and press send. Job done for whatever number of applicants with one email!

Bowlersarm Wed 22-Jan-14 12:57:17

I'm with you Juno

minibmw2010 Wed 22-Jan-14 12:57:40

To send out 250 rejection letters by post (and I mention post because earlier it was mentioned that people don't always supply email addresses and there was also a comment about 'how hard is it to send a letter') would cost that small business £150. That's £150 alone in stamps if sent first class (let alone time spent and other stationery costs) - each letter being a minimum of a 60p stamp. That's also then to include the cost of someone taking all 250 letters to the post office and sending said letters. That's just too much.

squoosh Wed 22-Jan-14 13:01:06

I oversee a lot of recruitment and respond to everyone who applies, the last ad generated approx 250 applications. I think sending out 250 letters is a waste of money and resources but an email costs nothing and involves minimal labour.

MerylStrop Wed 22-Jan-14 13:04:01

I've worked for years in small organisations - there just isn't the time or funds to reply postally to everyone

Email is a lot easier, but its unreasonable to expect a personal response when each vacancy is getting upwards of 100 applications, often more.

Standard form even for big operations like Unis and Local Authorities with HR depts is only to correspond with shortlisted candidates.

I know it is hard when you are making your first steps back into work OP, but you probably have to look elsewhere for support and feedback.

Juno77 Wed 22-Jan-14 13:05:39

unexpected You could, but you would still have to take the time to open each application, copy the email address and paste it into the mass email. Not as time consuming, granted, but still something that takes time.

Say each one takes 20 seconds - you are still talking about over an hour and 20 minutes. And that is if you can do each one in 20 seconds! Some won't be as easy.

Pass - Its really saddening me to hear it described as lack of manners/respect/decency. I am not lacking in any of those things. We pride ourselves on our customer service, it really is one of the ebst I have ever worked with.

I would maybe expect that attitude (though still be saddened by it) from a layman, but to hear someone who is also planning on running a business have that attitude, is really upsetting.

FWIW - most people do not spend 'many hours' on their applications. Half of them don't even bother with a cover letter. People apply for jobs en mass as much as I reject applications en mass.

MerylStrop Wed 22-Jan-14 13:16:25

Pass - Sorry but how can you not appreciate the cost in postage and time? Did you fill in your application in copperplate with a quill and ink? wink

in the the case of the OP though they got a letter acknowledging the application, so someone has gone to the effort once already, so its a bit odd.

BarbarianMum Wed 22-Jan-14 13:22:45

<<People apply for jobs en mass as much as I reject applications en mass>>

^^This. I had 120 applications for the last post I recruited for. It took hours to go through them once just to sift out the complete duds (90 or so) and hours more to thoroughly score the final 30 to get down to a short-list of 8.

Would an automatically generated email really make anyone feel better for not getting an interview? I think the answer is to stop feeling hurt if you don't get a rejection letter when you send in an application.

The internet has made applying almost too easy. We advertised on a job site last year and got hundreds of applications - 90% of them just weren't suitable. Think logistics managers when we wanted someone with an HR background or similar. They had read the heading but not the detail.

This is so frustrating to employers it tends to drive us to be less good at replying. If 200 people couldn't be bothered to read beyond the job title then I struggle to feel inclined to waste any more time to send them a rejection.

Unfortunately this then impacts on the way the better candidates are treated. Which is a great shame and frustrating to everyone.

sallysoubriquet Wed 22-Jan-14 13:46:17

Would an automatically generated email really make anyone feel better for not getting an interview?

Fair point...but there's a lot to be said for know where you stand!

If 200 people couldn't be bothered to read beyond the job title then I struggle to feel inclined to waste any more time to send them a rejection.

I have to say that whatever else I've siad upthread, I have a grudging sympathy for this pov.

wonderingsoul Wed 22-Jan-14 13:57:47

i had an interveiw monday.. got my rejection latter today....

i was sad of course but part of me was thankfull that i got one and knew where i stood. they was aswell pretty nice about it to.

i do think if you have gone to an interveiw they should let you know ethier way. my friend waited 2 months before she got a call back saying youv got the job... something in between that would have been nice... its not a rejection latter but it proves that the wiating is horrid.

wonderingsoul Wed 22-Jan-14 13:59:01

letter even

JanuaryShoes Wed 22-Jan-14 14:00:47

I can see both sides. For me personally, I'm not hurt, I clearly wasn't right for the job.

It's the lingering that gets to me. Could they be delayed? Is my interview letter stuck in the post? Have they tried to call and I've missed it? A short email would take that away in a second.

Interestingly, Matthew Parris, makes exactly this point in The Times today. The comments online are not dissimilar to this thread, unsurprisingly!

Juno77 Wed 22-Jan-14 14:01:07

Just to add..

I had an interview last year, and never ever heard back. I think that's pretty appalling. If you have time to interview people, you have time to let them know the outcome.

If you take someone to interview stage, you definitely need to provide a response.

I have applied for loads of jobs over the last couple of years and I think that either you put if you haven't heard from us by .... date then you have not been selected for interview or you reply saying no thanks. Juno I appreciate the time involved and obviously the way out of replying to 250 applicants is to use the above phrase, but don't forget that for us applicants it also takes a lot of time and effort to put in an application and it is disheartening beyond belief to do that and hear nothing at all.

A couple of companies didn't even bother to let me know after interview and were surprised when I rang them up to ask, and another who did let me know promised feedback but never delivered...... Oh yes, don't bother with we'll keep your details on file for another time you know and I know that's a load of rubbish!

LondonMother Wed 22-Jan-14 14:08:26

If you have an online recruitment system it is easy to generate automatic messages at every stage. If you don't (and very few small businesses would have that, I'd imagine) then as everybody else has said replying to all the people who're not going to get an interview would be massively time-consuming (if you're dealing with dozens of applications, as lots of employers are in these difficult times). At its most basic, you have to find their email addresses and paste them into a spreadsheet or an email message just to get to the point of sending one email with a bcc to all the unlucky ones. Even more time-consuming to send individual emails, and completely unworkable and expensive to send letters nowadays.

I thought it was a given now to say in the advert 'Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted so if you do not hear from us within x weeks of the closing date you should assume you have not been shortlisted'.

BarbarianMum Wed 22-Jan-14 14:09:35

<<If you take someone to interview stage, you definitely need to provide a response.>>

Now that I agree with. And a fairly prompt one too.

Juno77 Wed 22-Jan-14 14:09:53

frosty It's not 'us applicants' - I was one of you last year!

I applied for over 100 jobs. I know how disheartening it it.

But as an employer, I also realise how infeasible it is to reply to them all.

Sadly, the people who do not put in the time and effort, and just email a CV off without much thought, are the ones ruining it for everyone who does make the effort.

MillyONaire Wed 22-Jan-14 14:10:18

JanuaryShoes this was me a year ago - hadn't heard and too scared to ring. Well I did ring and they hadn't even started going through the applications (the deadline was long over) anyway evenutally I got a rejection letter but so sure was I that I'd get an interview (after ten years as a sahm!!!!!) that I rang or emailed the HR dept and to my surprise got a very encouraging letter back saying I'd been close but someone else had more specific experience (hmmm: she was the bosses sister....I guess I couldn't have trumped that!!) Though the whole thing was disappointing I felt much better that I had been proactive enough to ask about the job rather than submissively waiting to hear. Not too sure whether it would've harmed or enhanced my prospects if there hadn't been a rellie in the wings. Good luck!

LondonMother Wed 22-Jan-14 14:10:58

Completely agree, though, that not letting people know the outcome of an interview is very bad. The numbers involved at that stage aren't going to be all that high usually so it really is just disorganisation and laziness, surely, not to let them know. Could mean you're well out of that place, of course!

Chippednailvarnish Wed 22-Jan-14 14:19:47

I applied for a job last year, went to two interviews with them. They made me an offer, I declined, they asked what I would accept, I told them. I've never heard back from them. Given the time and effort we both spent going to interviews, I think this is rude.

However I am completely with Juno regarding not being able to reply to every single applicant.

JanuaryShoes Wed 22-Jan-14 14:39:47

Milly - that's heartening, you've given me the encouragement to ring them.

It's hard applying for jobs after a long period away. I have no confidence in my abilities at all and yet people used to fall over themselves to recruit me, I've been headhunted twice. I need to get my confidence back somehow.

BombayBunty Wed 22-Jan-14 15:11:19

My DH went for an interview for a job in a university four years ago. He's still waiting to hear if he got the job.....

Justholdthesmile Wed 22-Jan-14 15:17:00

Sadly this is the case now, there are hundreds of applicants for each position. It just isn't feasible to respond to them all.

Exactly. I was applying for jobs this time last year. Some I rang to apply for the job and was told that they were not taking anymore applications (this was well before the final date). I could have been the perfect candidate for the job but they weren't interested.

It's a shame but apparently I've heard it's not as bad this year. All you have to do is keep trying and develop a thick skin. If you're not successful it's not because your application is bad it's just that they have so much choice.

Not following up after an interview is absolutely unacceptable and rude.

frostyfingers we have just hired someone 18 months after our initial interview with her. We loved her at the time but went with someone else for a variety of reasons. When a similar role came up we contacted her on the off chance she was still interested. She was. We re-interviewed, still liked her and offered. she is doing really well.

Juno - sorry that wasn't meant to be as rude as it probably sounded! As I said, I agree that you can't reply to everyone, but do you put the bit about "if you haven't heard from us by such and such" in your job ads? To me, that's fine - at least the applicant knows where they stand. What I think is totally unacceptable is not letting someone who've you have interviewed know whether or not they've been successful. Think - I'll keep hoping then!

I do actually have a job, just looking for another so am fortunate in the respect that at least I have some income coming in, and, although it's frustrating, it's not life and death as it is for some people.

callamia Thu 23-Jan-14 08:19:54

Not providing feedback after interview is very poor.

We don't provide feedback unless you were shortlisted. I am sympathetic to wanting a rejection response, and a blanket reply that is clear about feedback expectations seems reasonable. I definitely couldn't provide feedback for 100-odd people who weren't shortlisted. My HR dept does expect me to provide feedback for anyone who was interviewed though.

DamnBamboo Thu 23-Jan-14 09:15:40

What if 200 people applied, should they send letters to them all?

The standard default phrase, 'if you don't hear from us you haven't been successful' is pretty clear really isn't it.

Or should they give individual feedback to each person too?

And it definitely isn't lack of courtesy.

If it is clearly stated in the advert for the job that if you haven't heard from us by .... date then you have not been selected for interview then there's no need for letters to the initial applicants, and feedback for those is totally unnecessary - I don't think many/any applicants would expect that. It's not rocket science to put something like that in an ad and it cuts out any need for 100's of letters.

What I feel is inexcusable is the lack of notification and/or feedback after interview - that rarely involves more than a dozen people, most I know of only interview 5 or 6 - and is common courtesy surely?

icetip Thu 23-Jan-14 13:55:55

I'll always give some specific feedback after interviews if requested. But I'm not doling out career advice (as some seem to expect).

grumpyoldbat Thu 23-Jan-14 16:20:45

80-90% of my applications haven't received replies. It's more soul destroying than a rejection.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now