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#PR: Even Routine Communications Can Impact PR for Good or Bad
By: Gerard E. Mayers
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Today, rather than commenting on recent blog pieces of note from PR News’ very talented stable of writers, I’m going to reflect for a moment on a recent experience I had that made me think about the impact even routine communications can have, for good or bad, on an organization’s overall PR.

I’d applied a couple weeks ago to a company dealing with pet supplies for a position involving communications and public relations. The other day, in my email, I received a rejection note that was even worse than a form letter. In fact, the rejection note itself (when my email program displayed it) was in smaller font type than the qualifying statement at its end!

This is what the rejection note said; please note there is no salutation at the beginning and no indication of the person from whom the email originated:

“Thank you for considering career opportunities with XYZ Co. [name changed for privacy reasons]. Although we have not selected you for this position, we will retain your application in our active file for six months. Should another position come available for which we feel your background and experience is a match, we will contact you for further consideration. Please feel free to visit our Career Opportunities website regularly for new opportunities that are posted. Again, we thank you for your interest in our company and wish you every success in your career endeavors.”

Would it be fair for me to say that, having received such a note in so cold a fashion, I would no longer be even remotely interested in becoming part of such an organization?

Perhaps my feelings toward the organization would be different if, rather than the note above, a note similar to one below was sent instead:

“Dear Gerard,” (Doesn’t this immediately made you feel the organization cares about its contacts and communications?)

“Thank you for considering career opportunities with XYZ Company. While your skills were impressive, we’ve chosen another candidate. We will keep your application on file for six months in the event another position becomes available for which we feel your background and experience is a better match. If that occurs, we will be in touch. Meanwhile, please feel free to visit our Career Opportunities website regularly for new opportunities which might fit your background and experience. Again, thank you for your interest in our company; we wish you every success in your career endeavors.”

(Does the paragraph above sound more “human” than the original one?)

“Sincerely,
Jane Doe
HR Team
XYZ Co.”

(Giving someone a person of reference not only creates a way for the rejected applicant to follow up in a few months about potential new opportunities, but also gives the communication less of a “robot” feel.”)

From the example above, I think you can easily see how even routine communications such as a job application rejection note can either positively or negatively impact an organization’s image and PR.


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About the Author
Gerard E. "Gerry" Mayers writes about PR and other relevant topics for PR professionals. A former PR manager for Sensor Products, Inc. (currently based in Madison, NJ), he lives in Milford, NJ.
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