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 brand and company culture. Bad rejection practices can seriously damage your company’s reputation and employer brand.
With so much riding on the process, you really can’t afford to mess it up. Here’s how to reject a candidate as painlessly as possible.
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. In my opinion, this is highly disrespectful.
Your candidate is probably waiting by the phone or constantly refreshing their emails to see if they’ve been offered a job. Put them out of their misery as quickly as possible. Once you have made your decision, let the applicant know.
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.
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.
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.” Always include a few positive points as well. This will give them an idea of the areas that they need to work on without entering into a long and lengthy discussion.
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. 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.
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 which is very important for your employer brand. 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 candidate for feedback shows that you care about their opinion and respect what they have to say. Plus you’ll be able to make sure you have the best possible process in place.