So, you’ve embarked on the treacherous journey of hiring. You’ve sorted through resumes, conducted interviews, and even navigated through the murky waters of decision-making. But now, it’s time for the dreaded moment: rejecting candidates.
We get it – it’s not exactly the highlight of your day. But guess what? It’s time to master the art of rejection with an edge that leaves everyone wiser and better off.
For an open position, you will receive a certain number of applications. Some candidates won’t make it to the interview stage, but others will, and will therefore put in more effort and investment, making rejection all the more frustrating.
The ultimate objective here is to keep them in your talent pool. The talent that doesn’t fit today could be the one you’re dreaming of tomorrow. ✨
Our 6 tips for rejecting candidates with respect
#1: Don’t leave any candidate on hold
Every candidate who applies must receive a reply. Of course, as part of your hiring process, chances are you’ll receive a large number of out-of-scope CVs.
Ghosting is so 2020 (or was it 2019?). Either way, it’s officially out of style.
Ignoring candidates after they’ve put their heart and soul into your interview process is like leaving a text on “read.”
To make your life easier, ATS such as Talent finder offer automatic e-mails. First, an e-mail is automatically sent to the applicant to acknowledge receipt of the application. Then, a rejection e-mail is automatically suggested to you as the recruiter when you remove the candidate from the process. In this way, you ensure that every candidate is kept up to date. Of course, it’s important to personalize this e-mail. Your ATS will first adapt specific fields to the candidate and the position at hand, but you can also add additional information according to the stage where the candidate was.
And also, stay available later, because candidates might have complimentary questions. Don’t just drop the bomb and then close the door!
#2: Honesty – The unsexy but necessary stage
Let’s face it – nobody likes the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ routine. So, why serve up the same bland dish when it comes to rejection? ‘
Giving no reason is all the more frustrating for the candidate. And even if the candidate doesn’t agree with your justifications, at least you’ve had the merit of being transparent.
Be upfront and honest about why a candidate isn’t the chosen one. A lack of qualifications, a cultural mismatch, a poor interview performance, inadequate experience, overqualification, behavioral red flags, unrealistic expectations, …? Those are all valid reasons for turning down a candidate.
#3: Give constructive feedback, not a roast session
Rejecting someone with honesty doesn’t mean you have to be rude or ruthless. Be clear on substance, but respectful on form. Lay it out – kindly, but clearly.
In any case, the candidate will be disappointed. But you can make the experience worthwhile by providing them with avenues for improvement.
If a candidate had the courage to face your firing squad of questions, they deserve precise feedback and advice. Point out areas they can work on. Maybe they need to adjust their CV, or reconsider which type of positions they apply for. Take the time to guide them in their future job applications.
A person involved in several recruitment processes may be faced with numerous rejections. This is likely to damage their self-confidence. So don’t be all doom and gloom and emphasize the candidate’s qualities and the factors that will help them find a job.
And if the candidate was avdanced in the recruitment process, in turn, ask them what they thought of their interactions with your company, and if there’s anything you can improve on. On the one hand, you’ll be able to improve your process, and on the other, you’ll be showing candidates that you value their opinion.
#4: No one’s got time to wait
There’s nothing worse than desperately waiting for a reply that never arrives. You check your e-mails every 10 minutes, and you never let go of your phone to make sure you don’t miss that long-awaited call.
As a recruiter, don’t let the suspense drag on.
Some candidates may be less suitable and end up as a second option. We prefer to keep them in reserve just in case the first-choice candidate decides to step back. And that’s completely fine. However, it’s crucial to maintain respect and transparency. Keep this candidate updated regularly. But be cautious not to let things linger too long. If it turns out this candidate won’t ultimately fill the role, inform them as swiftly as possible.
#5: Less corporate jargon, more human
No need to sound like a business robot while dishing out the news. Ditch the corporate jargon and get a tad more human. Show empathy, acknowledge the candidate’s investment; especially if the candidate has progressed far in the recruitment process.
After all, you’re all in this job-search game together.
A phone call allows you to demonstrate your authenticity, but also that you take responsibility for the choice (we don’t blame you if you cross your fingers to get the answering machine). E-mail can sometimes seem like the easy way out. So take courage and make that dreaded phone call.
And above all, follow up with a summary email to make sure all the info is kept in writing.
#6: Leave the door ajar
Okay, so maybe they weren’t the right fit this time. But who knows what the future holds? Leave the door slightly ajar. Encourage candidates to keep an eye on your company’s future openings.
After all, you never know when their skills might be just what you need. Everyone’s evolving and maybe they’ll learn the key competence you need today in another company.
Improve your Employer Brand, even when rejecting candidates
So there you have it, a crash course in rejection etiquette that’s less formal and more ‘real talk’. Remember, giving the rejection talk isn’t fun for anyone involved, but doing it right can turn an awkward conversation into a respectful exchange.
In short: respond to all candidates, personalize exchanges, provide constructive and honest feedback, don’t leave candidates waiting indefinitely, and keep in touch for possible future collaborations.
By following these key tips, you will be able to positively impact your Employer Brand and fuel your talent pool on the long run.