Hiring Etiquette: Interview invites and rejection letters

By Adam Robinson,
March 11, 2014

There’s a new trend in hiring, and it’s quickly becoming a huge problem. Managers aren’t communicating properly with job candidates. They’re ignoring phone calls and emails, and are not bothering to follow-up. Even worse, they’re not even bothering with interviews. 

What sparked this trend is still a question, but it likely has to do with the pressure to quickly fill positions. Questions like “Why haven’t you filled this position?” and “Why don’t you just hire Candidate X?” are all too common. But that’s no excuse to disregard proper hiring etiquette.

Interview Invitations 

Some hiring feel that they are doing the candidate a favor by bringing them in for an interview. This mindset needs to be eliminated right now. Both parties are going out of their way to be present at the interview, so it’s important to schedule it during a time that is convenient for both parties. In other words, don’t call a candidate and say, “I’ve scheduled your interview for Wednesday at 2:30 pm. See you then.” This also means a calendar invite should not be sent until both parties have agreed to a time. 

Rejection Letters 

If 60 candidates apply to a job, 59 rejection letters should be sent. Regardless of whether the candidate made it to the last phase of the interview process or didn’t even make it to the phone screen, they should be sent a rejection letter. This has nothing to do with the candidate “deserving” to hear from the hiring manager. It’s just a common courtesy. More importantly, it’s possible that a candidate rejected for Job A would be a great fit for Job B, and keeping them in the loop throughout the whole process for A helps to not burn any bridges for future positions.


Not only is contact important when rejecting a candidate, but communication channels need to be kept open during the entire process. Send the candidate an email when their application has been received, when an interview needs to be scheduled, if the decision is taking longer than expected, if they’re being rejected, or if they’re hired. Of course it’s not necessary to email a candidate every single day, but a weekly status update is ideal. This helps to keep candidates interested in the job, the company, and any future openings with that company. 

So before you brush aside a rejected resume, think about whether you’re upholding proper hiring etiquette standards.

About the Author

Adam co-founded Hireology with the mission to help growing companies make better hiring decisions through data and better technology. Adam is passionate about entrepreneurship, donating time to a number of organizations that support the entrepreneurial cause. Adam completed his undergraduate study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and received his MBA from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.

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