I find it difficult if not impossible to respond to every inquiry in a timely manner. Be it about a job or the blog, and doing so takes a lot of time when I could be doing other things. I do sort of an email triage every day and evening. Sooner than later I get back to everyone. (most times anyway)
Here is what I have learned in the last eight years of running on this recruiting hamster wheel. 60 minutes of responding to mail now, being proactive, saves time later.
Responding to everyone in the most timely manner, even if it is with news they would rather not hear, is good business.
The not yet qualified candidate will be more experienced the next time you come across them and if you handled them in a timely and professional manner the first time, even if it was a rejection of some sort, you have a chance at working with them now. And in the interim they have nto been telling their friends how much of a jerk you were.
Let me try this from a different angle. Minneapolis is a big small town in the way that it acts. Everyone knows everyone, in a LinkedIn sort of way, and news travels fast and loud.
If a company or recruiter gets the reputation for poor customer service, and that is a part of our business, that company will see fewer candidates.
Maybe your town is not like mine but I bet your industry and niche are.
Not exactly the thing you want as the labor market tightens up. Things have changed in the past years as the economy has recovered. Employers and recruiters are not in the same power position they were before.
Note: If you have sent me an email and you have not yet seen a response, politely contact me again. Maybe I missed it or the triage system was broken that day.