There comes a time in every hiring managers’ or recruiters’ career when they’ll need to deal with persistent job seekers.

At times, candidates who need work or who are hopeful they have a chance to work with your company are overly persistent. They can come in the form of temps, interns, short term contractors, and job seekers looking for full-time employment.

They may call or email often. Or if you’re a brick and mortar business, they may show up once a week or several times a week to inquire about the status of their application.

These job applicants may even try to push you to schedule an interview even though you know they don’t have the skills or qualifications you seek.

When companies receive approximately 118-120 applications per job opening, a pushy applicant adds to the stress of filling the position.  Here’s how to respond to persistent job applicants.

Be Straightforward and Honest

Sometimes it’s tough to be the messenger of bad news to hopeful job applicants. And when they’re overly persistent, they may not take no for an answer very well.

Often, companies want to skip the uncomfortable conversation of letting applicants know they didn’t get the job, and just move forward with the candidate they will hire.

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That leaves other candidates in the dust wondering if you’ll ever call them back. Or schedule them for another interview.

The key to stopping further inquiries from this job applicant is to be straightforward and honest. Tell them right away you already filled the position, and you appreciate their time.

Think of it like dating. If someone is persistent and shows interest when you’re uninterested, you want to let them know you aren’t interested right away. That will hopefully diffuse any future advances.

It’s a good idea to send all applicants a rejection email explicitly stating you’ll be in contact if you’re interested in setting up an interview. For instance,

“Thank you for your interest in the ____ position with our company. We receive a high volume of applications and unfortunately, cannot respond to every applicant. We will be in contact if we’re interested in setting up an interview. Please do not call or email to check on the status of your application. Thank you again for your time

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and interest in the position.”

You can tweak the above email to send to rejected candidates as well.

Related: What to Say to Job Candidates You Don’t Hire

Be Direct if They Don’t Stop

There are rare occasions when persistent job applicants are rude and act inappropriately because you haven’t scheduled an interview, or you aren’t interested in hiring them.

When they begin to act inappropriately, tell them to stop. Be direct and forceful but polite. Ignoring the applicant who keeps calling even after you told them the position is already filled won’t help the situation.

There are times when you need to be absolutely direct. The next time they call, tell them:

“We’re not taking applications or calls for the position during this time.”

Or: “If we’re interested in scheduling an interview, we will call you. I’ve already told you we are not currently taking calls or applications for this position. Please do not call again.”

You can say something similar in an email as well. Today in the age of technology, many job seekers may use email to inquire persistently about the status of their application rather than call.

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How do you deal with persistent job applicants? Have any persistent job applicant stories you’d like to share?

 

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