Reject a candidate the right way

Jemma Collins

19th February 2018


Offering a candidate the job can be one of the easiest conversations to have.

There’s no awkward chit chat before the dreaded “We’re sorry but…” and trying to give all the good feedback before ultimately declining them.

So, what about all the other individuals you interviewed? There will come a time when you must reject those who didn’t quite make the cut. But how do you do so without affecting your brand or upsetting the candidate? With many people sharing their experiences and expressing their views on social media, it’s quite easy for your business to get caught up in a PR problem if you handle it the wrong way.

Discover our four ways to reject a candidate the right way.

Don’t delay your response

However you want to respond, it’s important to let the unsuccessful candidate know of any updates as soon as you do. Calling a candidate weeks after their initial interview to let them know they didn’t get it can be damaging to your company and brand as well as their confidence. Whilst the candidate may be upset that they didn’t get the opportunity, they will appreciate your willingness to get back to them as soon as possible. This will allow them to focus on job searching or better prepare for other interviews they may have lined up.

Like all of us, unsuccessful candidates seek closure so they can move on. Ensure you communicate in a timely way so each applicant can leave the recruitment process with a positive view of your company.

Keep in mind who you’re representing

Last impressions are just as important as the first. Throughout the process, keep in mind the messages you send are from your company’s brand and voice as well as your own. Forget to give a candidate feedback, and it’s the brand that will suffer. The closing process of an interview doesn’t have to be negative despite the candidate not getting the job. In fact, it would be in your best intentions to keep it positive in case future opportunities arise that the candidate would be suitable for.

People know people too. The rejected applicant may know someone who would be the perfect fit for your role, but they will be unlikely to refer if they’ve had a bad experience with you. Create long term relationships with your applicants, get them to stay in touch with you on social media, and your company’s brand will be rewarded.

Think about how you say it

By email? Over the phone? Face to face meeting? Candidates applying for your opportunities usually spend a considerable amount of time providing a cover letter and tailoring their CV to suit the role. Not to mention coming to your office for an interview! So why should you spend five minutes, if that, copying the same rejection email template and sending it to them all?

Candidates want to be treated as individuals, despite not being successful for your opportunity. Take the time to call the candidates and let them know the decision. This will give them the chance to ask questions and for you to give constructive feedback and to build that relationship that could be crucial in the future.

But it’s not just how you say it…

…it’s also what you say!

When having a conversation with a candidate you’re rejecting it’s best to get straight to the point whilst still being respectful. Plan what you’re going to say beforehand and take time to go over it. You should refrain from lengthy conversations & explanations but ensure you give structured & supportive feedback. Whilst bearing this mind, always keep it personal. Candidates will know when they’ve been sent a template email or phone call and may keep them away from interviewing with you again for any future roles.

Who knows, they may not have been right this time round, but they may be good for a future opportunity within your company.

Leave it to us!

All of this can take up a lot of valuable time. Time that you may not have to spare. Here at JITR, we find you amazing but also know how to respectfully deal with those who aren’t quite right for the role. Let us help support your company brand.

Get in touch with us for an initial chat, contact us on 020 7426 9835.

Struggling with hiring and retention? In a candidate short market, we are helping our clients’ take a more innovative approach to securing top talent. For an initial chat contact us on 020 7426 9835.

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