Employers Still Struggle with Follow Up

When companies engage with job candidates, a new survey reveals the importance of following up—even if they opt not to hire them. 

The Conference Board survey found that 18 percent of candidates who didn’t hear back from a company after an interview took a negative action against the company. That includes declining to recommend it to others or leaving a negative review. And only 7 percent applied for another job at the same company in the future. Indeed, businesses that don’t respond to job seekers risk taking a reputational hit, losing out on future talent who read a negative review, heard an unfavorable opinion about the company, or who felt mistreated during a previous experience with them.

Additionally, the survey revealed that the number of interviews a candidate must endure to get a job could be dialed back. There is a disconnect between the number of interviews both candidates and hiring managers think are necessary versus the number that actually occur. Both candidates and hiring managers believe only two rounds of interviews are necessary, but nearly a quarter of candidates had four or more rounds of interviews.

Both candidates and hiring managers also agreed that formal education is not as important as work experience, yet many companies still include formal education as a hard requirement for hiring.

The latest workforce survey from The Conference Board polled more than 1,100 individuals—predominantly office workers. Respondents weighed in on job-hunting preferences, hiring practices, and interview processes.

Key findings include:

Unresponsive companies can lose out on future candidates.

  • Only 7 percent of candidates applied for a job at the same company if they didn’t hear back after an interview.
  • 16 percent declined to recommend the company to others when the opportunity arose.
  • 2 percent left a negative review online.

Almost 2 in 10 companies took four weeks or more to respond.

  • 14 percent of companies took four or more weeks to respond to candidates with next steps.
  • More than half (56 percent) took less than two weeks.

“It’s important for hiring managers to be aware of the potential consequences of not responding to job candidates, as it can lead to a reduction in the pool of future applicants,” said Rebecca Ray, Executive Vice President, Human Capital, The Conference Board. “To avoid this, hiring managers should make sure to communicate with all candidates in a timely and respectful manner, regardless of the outcome of the hiring process. Even if a candidate is not selected for the current role, they can still be a valuable colleague, client, or customer in the future. By treating all candidates fairly and professionally, hiring managers can help shape the way they think about the company, even if they were not a good fit for the role.”


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