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10 Recruitment Etiquette Tips for Employers
By Sonya Buck, Australia

If you are an employer no doubt you are busy and sometimes you may even feel that the whole recruitment process is just more work for you to complete within your normal working hours.

Having said that, it’s good to remember we’ve all been there and have been looking for alternative employment or even just, some employment.

Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost some of the etiquette we used to use when carrying out our recruiting activities. Being a little ‘old school’ and having been on the other side, I’d like to share the following tips on recruitment etiquette:


  1. Ensure ALL applications are acknowledged, even by using an email auto response message. “Only those attending the interview will be contacted” in your job advertisement just doesn’t cut it. Let’s face it, we all like to know if our correspondence has been received in the least.

  2. If the recruitment process is taking longer than expected or has stalled because of internal issues, reach out to applicants and explain the situation. Creating an email and adding a blind copy distribution list doesn’t take long.

  3. When arranging an interview, be mindful of fitting around a candidate’s current work schedule. This can be quite stressful for an applicant as they usually have not told their current employer they are looking for work. You may need to work beyond your normal work hours to interview a particular candidate.

  4. Respect a candidates’ confidentiality. If their current employer twigs to their search for new employment and they are unsuccessful with your role, they may be treated adversely (or even worse) by their current employer. Don’t share your candidates’ names in your workplace, as the word may get out, particularly in country towns.

  5. Ensure you have taken the time to be familiar with an applicant’s application before the interview. Sometimes interview panel participants are most guilty of this practice. A candidates’ application deserves attention, as they would have spent a lot of time and effort with their application.

  6. Be on time for interviews. A candidate’s time is as important as yours. Schedule enough time in between each interview for an interview overrun or to return your calls or emails.

  7. Ensure you make a candidate feel comfortable at interview. Being too overbearing will not put them at ease and you won’t be able to find out what you really need to know.

  8. After the interview, ensure you get back to the successful and unsuccessful candidates quickly, including those who did not make the interview. There is nothing like waiting for this sometimes life changing advice.

  9. Unsuccessful candidates may want to know why they did not get the position. Avoid saying the successful applicant was “better qualified” as this may leave an employer open to legal action. Maybe state the other candidate was “more appropriate” for the position, but remember to let unsuccessful candidates down gently.

  10. If informing someone they were unsuccessful, do not give a person false hope regarding any possibility of future employment in the organisation unless this is absolutely a possibility.

You might say I’m crazy, but I’ve always put myself in the candidate’s shoes. A candidate’s situation may vary and they could need to feed their family, may be being bullied in their current workplace or the many other reasons they want or need to change employment.

Ensuring you see things from their side will make sure you treat each and every candidate with the respect they deserve and during the process, you may even gain a reputation as a preferred employer.