RecruitmentRecruitment Branding

Your templated response emails Suck Balls

‘Hi George, thank you for expressing interest in the position…we regret to advise that your application has been unsuccessful…’

How many times have we all seen this standard email responses…..! Sure, it’s nice to actually get a response for a change but what is this kind of response doing to your brand? Is it really engaging prospective talent to ‘want’ to come and work for you, or refer your company to others based on this experience…ehhhh I doubt it. I know, it’s a time saver having templates to fire like a thermomix is to cooking, but is it really a time saver in the long run? I’m not so sure.

There’s a lot of noise out there at the moment about content engagement and all these sexy tools to use. You can have all the rich, engaging content you want to attract folks to apply to your organisation but the content you dish out and when you dish it out in that process is just as critical. And for all you cash strapped resourcing departments, here’s a simply, low-cost – no cost idea. STOP WITH THE TEMPLATE RESPONSES…

Whilst with my former employer Resource Equipment Ltd I had to recruit my replacement. I was fortunate to have a manager (Hi Lori!) who was truly passionate about doing this differently and in a more personable way. We worked together to draft our advertisement and here it is:

REL – Resource Equipment Ltd is a small, growing ASX listed company headquartered in Perth, Western Australia. We retain our entrepreneurial heritage and flair in an emerging and highly specialised water management market. As a values driven employer, we’re focused on the continued growth and development of not only our business, but our people.

As Senior Advisor, you will join a small, passionate and fun-loving team of HR professionals committed to delivering quality advice and outcomes to all our stakeholders. You’ll report to Lori, our GM People & Culture, who is a fantastic, forward thinking, and pro-active leader. This role exists primarily to manage the provision of advice and support to business leaders at all levels as they manage the employment life-cycle of REL employees. To keep you further engaged there are a number of upcoming, exciting, People & Culture projects to sink your teeth into.

What will you need? You’ll have demonstrated prior success as a strategic change agent, in a dynamic, fast paced, multifaceted and complex organisation. This role has a significant focus on managing, workplace relations, recruitment and the development of robust people systems & processes. You will draw upon your abilities to enact change, influence positive outcomes, and be innovative in your approach. This is certainly not a maintenance role, but one which will provide frustrations, great challenges, and even greater reward. Tertiary education in the disciplines of Human Resources or Business (or the equivalent), together with a deep understanding of the Fair Work Act and Australian employment frameworks is essential. Oh, you’ll also be tested in our regular People Team MasterChef bake off. We like to ‘keep it real’ and have a bit of fun as you can see.

As an equal opportunity employer, REL is committed to increasing diversity within the workplace.

Would you like to know more? For an informal discussion Call Stan, the guy that’s sadly leaving on (08) 61416513 OR if the opportunity is of interest mouse on over to the Apply button.

We wanted to give a real sense of the REL business, and more importantly the culture of the team. That we had fun, liked to do things a little differently, and it was a great place to be whilst also being challenging. There were no fancy videos, infographics here, we just didn’t have the budget for it. Just your a-typical job advertisement. And for those of you wanting to know, YES we had also conducted a deep search through referrals and direct approaches before deciding to go down this path. Notice the reference to Lori in the ad. Anyone on LinkedIn could now search her out and check out her profile and experience. This was after all who the successful individual would report to. Yes, I was sad to leave this team and in fact catching up for lunch with my former team today.

The response was AMAZING, ENGAGED, and ENJOYABLE. Almost every applicant actually addressed their baking experience in a cover letter! Well, all the women did anyway, and boy was hungry A LOT. Feedback from applicants was extremely positive. I received calls from individuals not interested in the role, but wanted to provide positive feedback on the advertisement. You can’t buy that type of feedback.

Following on from this advertisement, we continued with the baking theme through our email updates. Here are our emails:

Successful Long List (going through to phone screen):

Thank you for expressing interest in working with REL.

After reviewing the strong response to our Senior Advisor – People & Culture vacancy, we would like to advise  that your application will form part of our long list for further consideration.

As a long listed applicant, my colleague Jodie we will be in touch with you over the next few days to conduct a general phone interview with you. Don’t worry your baking skills and knowledge won’t be assessed at this point in time.

Once completed, your application will then be further reviewed by Jodie and Lori, at which point we will determine a short list for face to face interviews to take place early next week. Please feel free to bring baked goods at this time, however this does not guarantee further progression in the process. Both successful and unsuccessful applicants will be contacted and advised of their application status.

Once again we appreciate your patience, and if you have any constructive feedback in relation to our process please feel free to reach out.

Should your position change in relation to other opportunities, please contact the People & Culture team to discuss further.


Stan Rolfe – Soon to depart Senior Advisor

REL People & Culture Team


Wow, what a response to our advertisement for Senior Advisor People & Culture. Who would have thought there were so many keen bakers amongst us.

Firstly, a big thank you for investing time and effort into your application.

Due to the overwhelming response, it’s taking us a little longer than usual to appropriately review your application. Just like baking, these things just can’t be rushed.

We hope to be in a position mid to late next week to provide you with a progress update. This should provide you with ample opportunity to practice those recipes.

We appreciate your patience, and will be in touch soon. For now, enjoy your long weekend.

Should you have any feedback, or need to update your situation with us, please feel free to reach out.

Now, back to those applications.


Stan Rolfe – Senior Advisor

REL People & Culture Team


Wow, what an overwhelming response to our advertisement. Who would have thought there were so many aspiring chefs! We’d like to thank you for your recent application and the time you have invested in the application process.

Upon reviewing your submission, unfortunately we have made the difficult decision not to proceed further with your application. A little disappointed myself, as I was looking forward to tasting all those baked goodies.

We will retain your details for future reference, and in the event a new opportunity arises through organic growth or poor baking practices, then we’ll certainly reach out to you for an initial discussion. We hope we’ve provided you with a glimpse into who we are as a business and a team, and that the process was a slightly more enjoyable one.

Should you wish to register for job alerts, please feel free to do so via our careers site, or alternatively look us up on LinkedIn and connect with us.


Stan Rolfe – Senior Advisor

REL People & Culture Team


The feedback poured in. Unsuccessful applicants were telling us keep us to keep them informed of new opportunities, they wanted to work for us, they enjoyed the application process, that we were missing out on their specialty baked goods…. What was really sad were the comments around how poor candidate acknowledgment and response rates were in the market. How impersonal it has all gotten, and it was all being driven via the very people who are responsible for the people in their business, HR/Recruitment. What a sad indictment on us. Lift your game people. I’ve learnt a lot from this experience, and trying my hardest to implement a similar change with my current employer.

Sure, video, fancy pictures, infographics, or gamification would have made it all that bit sweeter (the icing on the cake) but in Australia’s current economic climate specifically within the mining services and contracting sector, cash is king and there is very little spare change floating around for these great ingredients. Had we included them, I doubt very much we will have had the feedback with which we received for this particular recruitment assignment.

So the next time you are planning to advertise a role, or send out email communications to applicants make sure you plan a communication strategy in terms of your responses. Yes, it takes a little more time to create but the return on investment is well worth it. One size, DOES NOT fit all.

1. Tailor it to your audience

2. Keep it simple

3. Don’t be afraid to have fun

No fancy pictures to break up all the text in this blog… I’m keeping it real.. until next time… KEEP IT REAL


3 thoughts on “Your templated response emails Suck Balls

  1. Great post Stan. We have always tried to be ‘more human’ in our rejection emails (ours don’t “suck balls”), but your ideas have creatively stimulated us to do better. Under the proposed changes in Centrelink, we will all be sending out far more rejection letters, so let’s take this moment to put thought into how we can connect better. Well done.

    1. Thanks Dan. Yes the recent changes to the unemployed and the number of applications they need to be making is a joke. Quality not quantity, and of course education in the job application process to increase success rates.

  2. Hi Stan,

    Thanks for sharing, there are some great points here.

    We also used the more personal approach when we were advertising for our internal Recruitment Consultant for MPi and we received some great feedback from applicants and also a much better quality of applicant by using this approach – the feedback was that it really stood out from the other ads.

    Look forward to catching up next week.



    Nicole Reweti
    Managing Consultant – Workforce Perth
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