Employers: Swamped with Applicants? Give the Courtesy of a Reply

Job Applicants

It may be an employers job market right now, but it’s important to your company’s reputation to treat all prospective employees with respect. Not only do you want to keep a good applicant interested while you sort through your list, but applicants who initially feel excited about working for you are going to update friends and family about their job application status, thereby affecting your overall business reputation. No one wants to patronize a company that treated their job-seeking friend poorly!

Sometimes busy clients hire me to process their job applicants for them. So I know first-hand how overwhelming it can be when the job market is flooded with qualifed, but also highly unqualified applicants. Yet there are several quick and easy ways you can manage responses while also managing your company’s excellent reputation. Here are some of my recommendations:

STEP 1. Create a special email alias just for applicants such as [email protected]

STEP 2. Create an email inbox subfolder just for jobs and a filtering rule so that all emails sent to that address bypass your regular inbox and go straight into that folder.

STEP 3. Create a courtesy auto-reply that immediately gets sent to ALL new job applicants, acknowleding that you’ve received their resume and telling them what to expect next. Here is an example that you can modify and use:

Dear Applicant,

Thank you for sending us your resume. We look forward to reading it!

Our advertisement is drawing a large response, so we can’t respond to each applicant personally at this time. However, we want you to know what to expect at each stage of our interview process:

  1. We will be doing call-backs for interviews within the next 10 days. If you don’t hear from us by then, it means that you weren’t selected as a candidate.
  2. If you are chosen, we will telephone you for a short preliminary discussion and decide if we should schedule an in-person interview.
  3. Candidates that progess through the in-person interview process may be invited to perform a practical skills examination and additional interviews.
  4. We hope to make a final decision and have the position filled by (insert date here.)

Thank you again for including us in your list of prospective employers! Sorry, but we cannot accept phone calls about the job, as we need to keep our lines open for customers. If you should have any additional questions, please email us at [email protected]


Hiring manager’s name
Your company’s name

Contact information specific to the hiring dept.

STEP 4. Create subfolders in your “jobs” folder to sort leads after you’ve read their resume. I use a simple 3-folder system: Hot, Warm, Cold:

  • Unread resumes start in the main “jobs” folder.
  • Unqualified leads get moved to the “cold” folder (don’t delete them.)
  • Semi-unqualifed leads get moved into the “warm” folder.
  • Qualified leads get moved into the “hot” folder.

STEP 5. (Simultaneous with Step 4) Start doing your call-back interviews and sort leads accordingly! Sometimes you’ll find that you’ve run out of hot job applicants and need to work with your warm list. That’s the purpose of subfolders. It’s easy to recategorize applicants as needed!


After you’ve filled the position, send out a courtesy letter or email letting applicants know. Thank them again for applying and wish them well. Remember, they are going to update their friends on how their job application went and you want them to speak favorably of you!

You might also use this as a marketing opportunity. You could offer them a coupon or other special offer they can use if they’d like to become a customer. If your business provides beauty or stress-reduction services, you have an easy tie-in. People who are going on job interviews want to look their best and could certainly use some relaxation!

I like to practice “campground rules,” when interviewing: Leave things (in this case people) as good or better than when you found them. Even if those applicants don’t end up being your employee, they’re going to be someone else’s employee. Treat them right!


About the Author

Jaya Savannah - Chief Inspiration Officer. Strategy Coach for Holistic Businesses. Trainer, speaker, and writer. Spiritually aware, yet street smart. Elephant lover.

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