Keeping Your Candidates Warm

Keeping Your Candidates Warm

No, this isn’t an article about offering your interviewees a blanket so they don’t freeze due to your office AC. This is an article about how to keep your applicants engaged in your hiring process when it’s taking longer than expected. We look at three stages of the process and provide some example emails and guidance we hope come in handy the next time you hire.

If you’ve got too many resumes to review

Send an automated email to applicants within a business day of receiving their application. Keep it short, sweet, and clear about what they can expect from you if they advance to the interview stage.

For example:

Hi (candidate name),

Thanks for your interest in the (role title) position at (your organization). We received your application. If it seems like a good fit for the position, we’ll get in touch by the end of the month regarding the next steps.


(Your name or team name)

This email can also help you avoid communications from applicants double checking that you received their application.

If it’s been a while since the candidate’s second or third round interview

If your process gets delayed, it’s important to reach out to strong candidates to make sure they know you’re still interested. Express gratitude for the time and energy they have invested and share when they can expect to know more.

For example:

Hi (candidate name),

I’m writing to update you about the (role title) position. We appreciate the time and energy you have dedicated to the interview process. We hope to have a decision to share with you by the end of next week.

Thanks again you for your interest in (your organization) and I hope to be in touch by (insert date). I’m happy to answer any questions you may have in the meantime.

Talk soon,

(Your name)

If it’s the home stretch but you need a few more days

Give your candidate a call. In our hyper-digital world, candidates feel especially valued when an organization takes the time to speak on the phone. Share more about why the process is taking more time than expected. For example, you might explain that you’re waiting to hear back from references. Or that your Executive Director was at a conference but will be able to make a decision after their return. It can also be reassuring for candidates to learn when things unrelated to their candidacy, like your organization launching their new website, or the planning of a gala, may have delayed the process. Thank them again for their patience and take time to answer any questions they might have. If you’re able, provide a timeline for when they can expect a final decision.

We hope these examples are useful and help you keep strong applicants toasty until you’re ready to make your hire!

Ready to find great talent?