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Optimizing Email Communication in an Applicant Tracking System

Posted by Kerrie McCarthy

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Mar 7, 2013 11:09:00 AM

One of the most repetitive elements of recruiting are the emails. Out of your pool of candidates, you’ll always have one offs, but then there are the emails you find yourself sending over and over and over again. Word processors brought seeming salvation with their templates and mail merges, but that still involved a lot of manual work each time you wanted to actually send out those communications. Miss one field and you end up calling your ideal candidate by the wrong name or informing them verbatim that “PositionTitle at CompanyName is currently on hold.”

Of all the time savers of an Applicant Tracking System, I think email templates are unsung heroes. As you plan on getting the most out of your system, here are some of the best practices we’ve picked up from our clients:

1.) Be aggressive with your templating

One-off emails can’t be changed, but there are actually a good number of email templates that you can make to save yourself a ton of time

  • Not a Fit: letting candidates know (gently) that on review of their application, you won’t be pursuing their candidacy
  • Position on Hold: candidates really appreciate the heads up from you that you’re not filling a role for a while
  • Set Up an Interview: the available time slots will change, but the place, attire, and general outline of the interview plan, will not
  • Application Needs More Information: if you’re on the fence about a candidate and want a writing sample, additional reference, or a little more information about their last job, get it


2.) Template does not mean impersonal

When building your templates, it does not need to sound like R2D2 and C3PO got together to craft your drafts. Putting your organization’s tone and feel into your templates is a perfect opportunity to make sure each candidate feels appreciated, even if they are getting a mass email. Use Form Fields freely throughout to pepper your templates with specifics that will make a candidate know that you care. You may even want to include a spot in your templates where you remind yourself to include a personal note that connects you to the communication.


3.) Review your templates regularly

Email communication represents much of the conversation you have with your candidates. Templates need to be freshened up regularly to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward. As you interact with more candidates, observe how candidates respond and use that as a guide for updating your templates to improve your interactions.


Good templating will save you time while still giving a personal touch to your recruiting process. Before you start building your templates, go through your outbox. What have you told the last 15 candidates that could have been standardized? What are some things you inconsistently mention, or need to start changing in your candidate communications? These are great places to start for getting some really useful templates right out of the gate. Templates have the potential to be one of your best friends within your Applicant Tracking System, feel free to dive in!

Topics: Recruiting, Tips, HRTech, Applicant Tracking

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