How (Not) To Reject Job Applicants

What’s the proper way to reject job applicants? Canned email? Personal response?

How about a long list of 42 application do’s and dont’s?

That’s what one employer did. According to Gawker, the head of a technology news site decided to send a rather lengthy rejection letter to more than 900 applicants, bcc’d thankfully.

In addition to a thorough explanation of which candidates were and weren’t selected, and why, the letter than provides 42 bulleted application tips, such as “Do be a badass” and “Don’t send Squidoo links.”

One of the rejected job applicants forwarded the email to Gawker and commented, “I don’t find it helpful. I just find it arrogant.”

Here’s an excerpt from the email:

• Do keep it short and sweet.
Tell me a little bit about yourself— where you’ve written before and a few sentences on why you are awesome. Short and sweet.

• Don’t describe yourself as zany, crazy, or wild.
Zany is not high on the lists of attributes we’re looking for. I don’t imagine it’s high on the list of many companies, this side of birthday clown agencies.

• Don’t ask me questions.
I had 900+ email applications to go through. I’m not going to email with you and answer questions about the job on the first pass. If you want to apply, give me the information asked for in the ad. If you want to know more about me and my partners, click over to Google.

• Don’t talk about SEO.
I know it’s important for a site to have good SEO and all, but I don’t want to hire writers who stress their ability to write “SEO-optimized” or “keyword dense” stories. Our primary goal is to develop great content, not to try to position ourselves better for Google’s spiders.

• Don’t apply using a Gmail profile picture of you making a pouty face.
You know, like this—

Helpful or just annoying?

Read the entire rejection email.

Publish date: March 28, 2012 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT