Rejection is part and parcel of the recruitment process. Unfortunately, you will always have to turn down more candidates than you hire.
However, how you dismiss candidates speaks volumes about your company and its culture. Bad rejection practices can seriously damage your company’s reputation and that all-important employer brand!
Research conducted by Jobbio found that 82% of people would not work at a company with a bad reputation. With so much riding on the process, you really can’t afford to mess it up. Here’s how to reject a candidate without hurting anyone’s feelings.
1. Let the candidate know ASAP
Many hiring managers wait until the end of the hiring process before they notify unsuccessful candidates. Some even wait until their new hire has started work. This is just disrespectful.
Your candidate may be delaying applying for other roles or even turning down offers in the hope of securing the gig at your company. Once you have made your decision, let the applicant know. Put them out of their misery as quickly as possible. Respect other people’s time and they are more likely to respect yours.
2. Pick up the phone
If you’ve spoken to the candidate on the phone previously, you really should give them a call to let them know that they are not the right person for the job. Emails can often seem cold and impersonal. Take a few extra moments out of your day and pick up the phone.
Always thank the candidate for the time and effort that they put into their application. Let them know that you have already offered or are planning to offer the job to someone else but you appreciate their interest. It’s also a good idea to send them an email reiterating this information so they have a record of the conversation.
3. Keep it brief
Explain in one succinct sentence or paragraph why you’re declining the applicant, for example, ”Although we were very impressed with your skills, we have decided to go with an applicant who had more hands-on marketing experience.” This will give them an idea of the areas that they need to work on without entering into a long and lengthy discussion.
It is a good idea to always include a few positive points as well. You shouldn’t sugarcoat things but it is important to not come across as overly negative. Remember you want to be firm but fair.
4. Personalise, personalise, personalise
Nothing says ‘’we don’t care about you’’ more than a stale rejection email or cold phone call. Always include the person’s name and mention things that you spoke about during your interview. Remember you are dashing this person’s hopes so the least you can is treat them with respect and consideration. Treat others the way you want to be treated.
5. Be honest
Now is not the time to start making false promises. If you are genuinely interested in staying in touch with the candidate then finish off your phone call or email with an offer to stay in contact about upcoming roles. Connect with them on LinkedIn and save their details for future reference.
However, if you can’t imagine the candidate working in your company at any stage then do not give them false hope. Wish them all the best in the future and leave it at that. Candidates will always appreciate your candour.
6. Ask for feedback
Hiring is a two-way street. Asking for feedback is the best possible way to find out what applicants think of your hiring process. While most companies are happy to dish out feedback to applicants, most fail to ask for it in return meaning they’re missing out on valuable learnings.
Asking your candidates for feedback shows that you care about their opinion and respect what they have to say. Don’t just ask successful candidates. You should attempt to survey all talent. Use this feedback to structure your hiring process. This will help you to ensure a fair procedure is in place.
About the author: Alice Murray is a Content Creator at Jobbio with a passion for employer branding and graduate development. She’s keen traveller and a self-proclaimed lazy runner.