Calling prospective employees to an interview is usually the last task in the recruitment exercise. The Human Resource Practitioner (HRP) has a responsibility of ensuring that letters inviting applicants to an interview are carefully written and include information that is not ambiguous to both the applicant and the human resource department. Applicant or prospective employee will have the same meaning in this article.
The importance of clear details to the department is that they form part of an employee’s record when finally selected, it indicates when the prospective employee was invited and the conditions within which he/she was going to attend the interview for instance will he/she be reimbursed for travelling expenses – this is a detail that can be audited by an organisation’s internal or external auditors.
Reference can be made to the number invited and the actual that attended and the ratio of invited applicants to actual selected also becomes apparent. These figures will provide the HRP a basis for planning his/her future recruitment and selection programme. In a case where an organisation is accused of discrimination of applicants the invitation letters can clarify the matter. The HRP can find other uses for the letters.
A well written invitation letter indicates is an attraction to an applicant who sees that the organisation is serious on the matter at hand if it can pay such attention to the letter.
Invitation letters must be sent out well in advance of the interview date to give the candidates time to prepare for it. Prospective candidates may be currently working elsewhere and would therefore be asking for leave days to attend the interview. Besides, giving applicants short notice demonstrates a lackadaisical way of carrying out a task.
Further reasons for the clarity of the letters to the applicants can be seen from the details that follow:
The name of the candidate; This identifies the correct applicant being addressed. It must be correctly inscribed on the invitation letter and the forwarding envelop. It must be that which the applicant had entered in his/her application letter or curriculum vitae where this was requested.
The proper salutation for every candidate must be used. Having done it correctly, it is difficulty that a wrong person will appear at the interview.
Title candidate shall be interviewed for; It is important that this is made clear because at times interviews are held for various positions within the same week. The letter therefore should leave an applicant in no doubt that he/she is actually being invited to the occupation that he/she had applied for. On arrival at the premises, the receptionist can use the letter to direct the candidate to the correct department as well.
Address of candidate; The letter should be delivered to the correct address of the applicant to ensure that it does not go astray. Astray letters can cause the candidates not appear at the interview. The panel can be deprived of highly potential candidates as a result. It could be that one person who did not receive his/her invitation who could have made a difference to the development of the organisation who was missed.
Contact official; It removes anxiety in candidates if they have a name and contact details of an official who they can obtain a clarification or refer any queries before arriving at the organisation’s premises.
- Date of interview.
- Time of interview. Allow a break between interviews for collating information.
- Place of interview. Provide a map to applicants if possible.
- Name of official to report to on arrival.
- Any transport arrangement provided. Assist especially if in remote areas.
- Board and Lodge and lodge arrangement provision if necessary.
- Conditions on reimbursement of travel expenses.
Any other information that you deem relevant to assist both the organisation and candidates.
The writer is a Past President of both the Zimbabwe Institute of Management (ZIM) and the Institute of People Management of Zimbabwe (IPMZ). He writes in his personal capacity.
Kingfrey Chizema MIPMZ. Hon FZIM