On Tuesday, NPR’s All Things Considered aired a commentary from author Firoozeh Dumas about the lost art of job rejection letters. It was coincidentally the same day I sent out almost 1150 rejection emails. I had to let candidates know they were no longer in the running for an Administrative Assistant position for our show This American Life out in NYC.
By far, this was the largest batch of rejection notices I have sent for any position at the station ever. It’s a lot of bad news to deliver all at one time, and I was feeling bad about it.
But then, a strange thing happened. Not long after my email went out I stared getting responses like this:
Dear Mr. Lara,
While I am very disappointed at not being considered for the position, I really appreciate your informing me of the situation re: my resume. It was very kind of you to take the time to notify me in this way, as this has not been done this for me previously by other perspective employers. In ending this letter, I look forward to many more hours of This American Life, and it was lovely for me to imagine working for Chicago Public Radio…I wish the new Office Assistant well.
I received about 20 emails from applicants simply thanking me for letting them know they were out of the running. They all pretty much said the same thing: Companies just don’t send out this kind of correspondence anymore; it was nice to actually hear back from someone.
As an HR manager, sending out rejection notices can easily fall off your list of things to do, especially when you have a large volume of applicants for a single job. But job seekers are not letting us off the hook and are being loud and clear: Don’t leave me hanging!