One tip for better communication between job seekers and hiring managers

Can we talk instead of bumping heads? (Photo credit: gin_able, Creative Commons/Flickr)

A few weeks ago, we released our 2012 nonprofit survey reports, culling the responses of over 1,000 U.S.-based organizations and over 3,000 active job seekers. Together, the reports help paint a picture of today’s nonprofit sector: who’s hiring and who’s looking, trends in funding and compensation practices, and what’s posing the biggest challenges to both organizations and job hunters right now, along with a lot else.

Most surveys yield some surprising results, and these were no exception. But a few statistics that received the most attention from readers were in the area of communication between organizations and job seekers regarding application submission.

Communication breakdown?

Only 14% of job seekers reported receiving either a personalized or automated acknowledgement after sending an application, but 63% of hiring managers said they send them. Seekers also said that hearing back from and general communication with employers is their number one frustration during the search process. In the same arena, 40% of hiring managers said they dislike candidates contacting them to check on their application status.

Job seekers take time applying for opportunities and want to know as much as possible about where they stand, but many understaffed organizations already strain to keep up with the array of tasks that need attention daily, in addition to hiring. In fact, 84% of staff filling human resources roles at organizations reported wearing at least one other hat at work, the majority of them also responsible for program management or support.

Communication solution

So what are applicants and hiring managers to do? Here’s one tip we love that could help bridge the gap: the autoresponder!

Here at Idealist, we use Google for our email needs, and their handy autoresponder, Canned Responses, can be found in the Labs tab in Settings. In their words, this feature allows you to “compose your reply once and save the message text with the ‘Canned Responses’ button. Later, you can open that same message and send it again and again.” You can also, “set a filter to grab one of your saved responses, create an automated reply, and hit the Send button for you.”

So whether hiring managers want to cut down the time it takes to manually send out “Thanks for your resume! We’ll get back to you soon” emails to every applicant, or set up an email address just for applications that will automatically shoot an acknowledgement message back to the sender, autoresponders are here to save everyone time and effort as well as keep potential candidates up-to-date on their status. Additionally, Constant Contact, GetResponse, and lots of other companies produce low-cost or free versions. Autoresponders have helped us streamline our HR practices and keep our applicants in the loop.

How else can anxious job seekers and busy hiring managers find more common ground? Readers, share your thoughts!

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