I received a survey recently from Greenhouse software. This is after receiving the proverbial Dear John rejection letter following an interview with one of their clients. It’s sort of funny that the company rejecting me, and Greenhouse, are both HRIS software vendors, and the coldness of their automated communication to me was concerning.

Not knowing, or caring, that I am a senior HR executive, or even that I write articles for one of the premier Talent websites here at recruitingdaily.com, should raise a red flag for them. Imagine their horror when they read this post and need to put a public spin on their response.

Yes, this is a typical rejection letter today

The rejection letter was generated by Greenhouse software, as was the survey letter. Here is a slightly redacted version of it:

XXX takes care to ensure that its recruiting process is well run, and candidates have a great experience.

We’re sending you this survey to gather some honest, anonymous feedback about your recent interview. No personal information about you will be seen by XXX — all survey results are anonymized.

Please take a moment to give us your feedback and tell us what you think could be improved about the process.

Candidate Survey link




And here is the rejection letter itself:

Hello Mark,

Thank you for your interest in XXX. While we were impressed with your qualifications, we have decided to proceed with other candidates who are a better fit for the YYY role.

We appreciate your time and effort to apply, and sincerely thank you for your interest in XXX. We will keep you in mind if a more applicable opportunity becomes available. We wish you the best of luck in your job search.

Best Regards,

The XXX Team

GEM Recruiting AI


A response you wish more applicants would give

A classic rejection letter from MAD magazine

It’s fairly generic and signed by the team, although I interviewed with the hiring exec. It could have been for any job at any level. It also could have been sent after resume submission versus after an actual interview.

So here was my response to the survey:

When you interview a candidate and say you will get back to them by a date, keep your word and make a phone call. I am an adult and can deal with rejection, however an automated email after the fact (from Greenhouse software) is a poor close to an interview experience. There is no excuse for this.

As a retained search executive and former CHRO at some high-profile businesses, I am astonished and disappointed that the hiring manager did not just pick up the phone and say, “Hey Mark, you did well, however xyz… let’s stay connected for the future.

I am a consumer of software (theirs and yours). I also write for two high profile social media talent sites, including recruitingdaily.com and fistfuloftalent.com. I am sure I will reflect on this in future articles that are seen by thousands of HR and recruiting practitioners. Want some real feedback? Pick up the phone and talk to me like a human instead of like a “BOT.” There is a time and place for both…”


Here’s how candidates SHOULD be rejected

So, my suggestions for all Talent and Talent software vendors is this:

If you see or represent a client and want to pass on a candidate that had an interview or interviews, have the guts to call them personally to tell them they are no longer being considered. They gave their time to the process and deserve some courtesy – and a phone call goes a long way.

If you really can’t call, then a real personal rejection is a whole lot better than an automated template email. Also, remove the “do no respond” or name of the software company in the email address. Here is part of the email extension on my rejection letter: @outbound-mail.greenhouse.io on behalf of

Remember that your candidates are flesh and blood, not robots. They also talk to other human beings and your reputation is on the line. Your business and employment brand are too.

I like Greenhouse and they are well intentioned – but they blew it. Hope they learn from their mistakes.

Just some food for thought.


A real human being … 

Mark Fogel

Mark Fogel’s background includes almost a decade and a half as CHRO at Leviton Manufacturing, The Marcum Group and The Success Academy charter school network, as well as co-founding Human Capital 3.0, a boutique HR advisory firm. Mark spent his early years at Macy’s and Limited Brands where he moved from Operations to his first roles in Talent Management. Mark has been honored by SHRM nationally as their Human Capital Leader of the Year in 2007, and by HR Executive Magazine as an Honor Roll recipient in 2010 and “Best HR Ideas” in 2012. He has also been a recipient of SHRM’s Innovation in a Down Economy award in 2009, Adelphi University’s Teaching Excellence award in 2013, and named one of Long Island’s 50 most influential business leaders by Long Island Business News. His HR teams have garnished numerous national and local awards for HR innovation, wellness, and employee engagement. Mark speaks regularly at national conferences on topics ranging from E/R to Global HR. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Adelphi’s Graduate School of Business where he gets to give back to the next generation of industry leaders. Connect with him on emailLinkedIn, or on Twitter