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This Company Sends Rejection Feedback Emails to Every Job Applicant. It's Made a Big Difference. Context and details are sent to every applicant once a role is closed.

By Ana Altchek

Key Takeaways

  • A consulting firm that recruits engineers provides detailed feedback to job applicants it rejects.
  • Applicants receive information on how many people applied and what made résumés stand out.
  • Forward founder Peter Berg said the aim is to improve the applicant experience in a challenging job market.
Abscent84/Getty via Business Insider
Forward sends feedback to every applicant it rejects.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

The job-hunting process can be brutal — applicants are told to tailor each résumé and often end up with radio silence from the dozens of companies they spend hours applying to.

Peter Berg, founder of Forward, a consulting firm that hires globally remote engineers for startups, wants to change that. About a month ago, Berg announced that Forward would provide data and context to every applicant once a role is closed.

The company now shares details like how many people applied and interviewed, what made résumés stand out, and any numerical data it collected from the application.

Berg told Business Insider that Forward does its best not to waste people's time during the application or interview process through lengthy exams or assignments. As a company that frequently recruits candidates for short-term roles, he said it's important for the experience to be positive and to keep in touch with applicants.

"What's good for candidates is ultimately good for you," Berg wrote in a post on LinkedIn. "Here's to a better tomorrow."

The cofounder said he decided to implement this new protocol because the company started posting roles on LinkedIn and saw a major uptick in volume of applications received. Each role now receives between 200 and 2,000 applications and the company usually sends two vetted candidates to the employers within a week of the original post.

While sending 2,000 rejection letters with detailed feedback sounds time-consuming, Berg said it's not. The company already keeps track of applicant data while scoring résumés and the email takes 10 or 15 minutes to write and is sent in bulk to applicants.

Berg told BI it's an easy addition for employers and he thinks it could make a "huge" difference for applicants — and for some, it already has.

Since implementing this new method, Berg said the company has received about 200 responses from applicants, with many writing back paragraphs about how positive the experience was and how it made them feel human.

One woman posted on LinkedIn about the experience and said Forward offered her the "BEST" rejection letter. The applicant, Melissa Bashur, said the rejection email included the number of applicants, the number of applicants with specific industry experience, top locations of applications, and median hourly rate.

She also said it provided context about what the company was looking for, how their criteria shifted, and how many people they spoke with. Bashur said they even summarized the experience of the person they hired.

Melissa Bashur told BI that the insight she received allowed her to better understand the current job market. It also helped inform her about which jobs she should apply to moving forward.

"I heard it was getting 'better,' but in the tech space, it still seems to be pretty flooded with available talent," Bashur said. "It helped me shift to more positive and productive efforts and be more selective with the jobs I apply to."

Berg said the new protocol helps give people a sense of what's going on in a job market that's tough right now. He said the tech industry is still reeling from pandemic-era overhiring and decreased venture capital funding.

"We know a lot of senior leaders looking for roles and they're having a really hard time finding one. They're looking for nine months, 10 months," the founder said.

He also said individual contributors who don't have experience with hiring tend to be more in the dark about the process.

"We want to provide feedback for that reason," Berg said. "Just to help people figure out why didn't I get picked for this."

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