“Thank you for submitting an application for the following position: [position and address listed].
You, along with several qualified candidates, were reviewed for consideration. Your talents and qualifications are commendable; however, I am sorry to inform you that you were not chosen for the position.
We appreciate the time you took to apply and consider our [organization]. Please keep your portfolio current so you may be considered for future positions…”
This email message came last Thursday via the job site that is universally used for my profession in my state. The ability to send canned messages is useful, especially when you have 60 to 100 applications for an opening. It allows quick and easy communication when you don’t have time for personal contact. However, when I used it as an employer, I would always personalize the group message as much as possible (“Thank you for your interest in us.” “Sorry to have to tell you…” “Best wishes in your job search”); the standard messages provided by the service seemed too cold. I regularly received thank you’s from people for 1.) just letting them know that I had opened their file, 2.) informing them about the search timeline, and 3.) telling them that a decision had been made.
As for the email above, I received the exact same message for a position where I was not a finalist, and that felt acceptable. I wondered at the wording – it says “with several qualified candidates”, not “with several other qualified candidates”, so did that mean I wasn’t included in the qualified group? Now I realize that it is a poorly worded canned message and not to be taken personally.
Normally if you are a finalist and have spent hours interviewing and visiting, there is a call or at least a personal email to inform you of the final decision. I know that electronic systems are tricky to use, and that, for example, hitting a key too quickly can send a message by mistake. In this case they had told me they would be in touch by the end of the week, so I waited to hear something more. There was nothing more on Thursday or Friday.
On Sunday, to bring closure to the process, I sent the following email:
“I received your message from [the website] on Thursday.
I want to thank you for the opportunity to get to know you and the [XXX] community. It was a pleasure to spend so much time with you, as it is clear that you all care deeply about your [community and institution]. Although I am disappointed not to be sharing a future with you, I wish you and [XXX] the best of luck in the coming years.”
Normally, I would have started by thanking them for their message, but I couldn’t honestly bring myself to say that.
Monday, I received this response from the head administrator:
“I don’t know why you received that message. I been having difficulty with [the website] notifications, I apologize.. I intend to call you tomorrow when I am in my office. I would never email you my decision.
At least it was a response, and although short and apparently written in haste, an apology.
Tuesday, no call. End of story.