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The Art of Rejecting/Approval: Automatic Action Means You're a Complete ##$ - Or a Robot...

The problem with tech, machine learning and A.I. is that we can at times do things too fast.

This seems like a good problem to have in a world where most candidates for jobs go into black holes and never get feedback, right? Delete

Never getting action on something important to you is a HUMAN problem.

Getting action within 1-5 minutes on something important to you is a TECH/A.I problem.

Need some examples? Here you go:

1--I wrote a review on Amazon for Tim Sackett's book last week.  It may have been the first review I ever completed on Amazon.  What was interesting about what happened when I clicked "submit" was the speed at which approval moved.  I was surprised to get a landing page and a follow up email from Amazon telling me that my review was pending approval.  After all, this is Amazon - can't they figure out that I'm not a evil-doer by a systems/computer/IP scan of my review?  My surprise was soon muted when 5-7 minutes after I submitted the review, it was approved.  Think about that for a second.

2--I was speaking at a Jobvite function in Atlanta last week to a room full of recruiters, and I asked the following question - "how do candidates judge you as a recruiter?"  One quick answer that was provided was "speed".  My audience said what you already know - that candidates expect speed from recruiters.  But one voice was quick to point out that in the art of rejection, too much speed could be harsher than never hearing your status at all.  Example - recruiter has manageable workload and is committed to keep her ATS workflow clean.  Candidate comes in that is obviously under-qualified and not right for the job.  You see the application 4 minutes after the candidate pushed send.  Do you reject them that soon?  My audience said no, you needed to wait to spare the candidate's feeling. I agree.

In both circumstances, world-class speed to the next action was available.  Amazon's tech obviously approved my review - there's too many reviews flowing through the system for it to be handled any other way.  But someone decided that auto-approving my review didn't show the proper level of consideration.  Same thing with the recruiter - rejection within 5 minutes was too harsh.

Someday soon, your ATS will scan a resume and tell you whether it's good or not, much like Amazon did to my review.  You won't have to decide on whether to reject each candidate individually, but you will have to decide on how much time passes before rejection feels like you gave a resume proper consideration.

What's proper consideration mean time-wise before you reject a candidate?  I'm thinking 4 hours minimum.

What do you think?



maria helm

Part of my job is similar - Approval or Rejection of access based on a properly completed and multiple signature form. The main difference, the nuance, in these examples is the "consideration". If there's a concrete obvious reason for rejection, I see no problem with immediate response. (Form not signed, review contains profanity, applicant doesn't have required technical certification.) I think the difference with job applications, versus reviews, is that they are so much more about being seen as a person. But I still think that very obvious mismatches don't deserve a delay of politeness.

Kimberlee, no longer Esq.

I generally go by a standard of 2 days to reject. Even if I reject right away, it's easy enough to set the email to send 2 days from now. The only nice thing about instant rejection is that it's a key tell for orgs that have their ATS automatically perform first round review (which I think is a Bad Move from both an HR and a, like, human perspective). So, in that respect it's nice to know what companies to never bother with again.


I am curious about the tech involved for this subject. I recently applied for a job for which I met or exceeded all requirements listed. I spent 20+ minutes going through their in-depth application process, just to receive an email within 5 minutes of clicking "submit" letting me know that they were "pursuing other candidates."

My guess is that they were required to post the job publicly, but were planning to fill it from within. However, at least have the courtesy of making the process a lot simpler for your applicants if that's your plan.


What a novel perspective! Who could imagine that such a covetable feature like speed could also lead to problems? However, perhaps we as people just need a little time to get used to things. Today we expect a new-age HRMS tool to "study" employee performance to generate reports. Maybe tomorrow we would happily accept a software to scan our resumes too. Who knows?

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