Application notifications – debugging email deliverability

One of the most common support requests we receive is when applications are not being delivered back to your job posting service. In this article, I will explain how applications are tracked back to your multi-posting service, why this might not work and some steps you can take a find issues to resolve this.

How does applicant tracking work?

Broadbean, LogicMelon and Idibu all use the same system for applicant tracking. When a job is delivered, via JobRelay to your website, sent along with the data about the job, is a unique applicant tracking email address. This is generated by the multi-posting service and it is saved in your website and associated with the job.

In order for an application to be tracked back into the multi-posting service, and email must be sent to this email address. This email must have the candidates name and email address in either the From or Reply-To email headers and it must have the applicants CV attached.

Most integrations we complete, use an application form on the website which candidates complete for each application. In the application form then enter their name and email address as well as a covering letter and they upload their CV.

When that form is submitted, the notification email that is sent, often to the website admin to indicate a form entry has been completed, is CC’d to the applicant tracking email address. This means that a copy of the application is delivered back to the multi-posting service.

What does JobRelay do when a candidate applies?

The answer here is very simple – not a lot!! Where jobs are sent through the JobRelay system to your website, this is not case for candidate applications. These go directly from your website, to the multi-posting service, using the applicant tracking email address outlined above.

It is your website that is sending the emails to the applicant tracking address, not the JobRelay service.

How do I debug email deliverability?

Unfortunately email is very unreliable. An email is the equivalent of putting your message in an envelope and posting it through the letter box. You never really know whether it ended up at its destination. More importantly there is no indication that the deliver failed.

Install a WordPress email logging plugin

The only part of this you can control, is whether or not your website actually passed the email across to your web server to send. To check whether this has been done, and to check whether the correct email headers (remember the From or Reply-To headers I mentioned earlier?) you can install an email logging plugin.

My favourite plugin for this is the WP Email Logging plugin by Wysija. This will log every email that was marked for delivery from your site, and it will show you who the To, From, Reply-To address were as well as the email body and attachments.