A Marketing Opportunity

Have you ever received a marketing email that said:

We’ve received your inquiry about doing business with us. If we’re interested, we’ll let you know. Due to the volume of orders, we cannot reply to every submission. Please don’t follow up.

A marketing manager who drafted such awful copy wouldn’t be a marketing manager for long. But how often do automated responses to employment applications sound just like that?

Two days ago, I saw a very different kind of auto-response (I’ve edited out the identifying information):

Thank you for your interest in [Company Name]! We appreciate the time you took to apply for the [Job Title] role and look forward to reviewing your application.

Applying for a job can be exciting — and nerve wracking. Especially when you find your dream job, click apply, and wait, and then wait some more. We’ve been there too, so we want to share what’s happening now that you’ve clicked that ‘submit’ button.

Your resume will be reviewed by a real-life human, not a robot (hooray humans!). If selected for an interview, a recruiter will reach out within two to three weeks to schedule a call or hangout. The goal of the call is to get to know you a little better, tell you about the interview process, and answer any questions you have about [Company Name].

If you don’t get selected to move forward, it doesn’t mean you’re not awesome, it just means your particular awesome doesn’t align with the team’s needs at this time.

With Love,


What makes this response special?

First of all, it treats the applicant like a human being. It empathizes with the anxiety of the job-seeker. Most unusual, it commits to having a human review the application.

The company that sent this is a hot property and probably receives thousands of applications a day. So why take this approach to candidates – many of whom will be rejected in the first cut?

This approach does reflect their core values, which include respect, trust, community, and love. Love! How often do you see that mentioned in a core value for a for-profit company?

Maybe you’re cynical about those core values — I’m not — so let’s look at this differently:

Perhaps this company likes making money.

Perhaps they know that the people who are attracted to them as an employer are the same people who would be attracted to purchasing their product. If I ever need to hire a vendor who does what this company does, I’ll remember this positive response and that will color my decision-making.

Compare this to what hiring managers often hear from candidates:

  • “Where are you on your hiring decision?” (Answer: The hiring manager gave HR a decision two weeks ago and is waiting for them to move forward.)
  • “It’s been weeks since I interviewed, why haven’t I heard back?” (Answer: The hiring manager told HR right after interviewing you weeks ago that, while they liked you personally, your skills and experience just didn’t reflect the core requirements of the job and they should take you out of the running. But HR doesn’t like to share decisions with rejected candidates until the new hire has actually started.)

Does this reflect love and respect? Does this make people want to work at this company?

Just as importantly, does this make these people want to do business with that company, the company for which the hiring manager (and supposedly the HR manager) are trying to increase sales?

Every interaction an organization has with the outside world is a marketing opportunity.

What do your automated applicant responses say to your potential customers?

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