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The Art of Rejection - Candidate Experience

by Angie Verros

Let's face it, rejection isn’t fun. Especially when you have to give bad news to job candidates who
didn't get the job they wanted. However, rejecting candidates is part of the recruiting process. Do you reject your candidates politely and in an appropriate fashion throughout your recruitment process? It seems like few employers do so professionally and even more do not provide any feedback when a candidate is no longer being considered for a role. Let’s master the fear of rejection together and talk about the how we can politely let candidates know they did not get the job. Here are my 3 tips:

Tip #1: Tell them!
Simple. Tell them. Pick up the phone and actually tell them they did not get the job. And do it quickly! Do not just assume that because your hiring team rejected them that they know. Some recruiters have a fear of calling candidates to let them know that they are rejected because they don’t have that ‘why’ from the hiring manager. Hiring teams go dark, therefore recruiters go dark. At that point, the candidate not only doesn’t know why they didn’t get the position but they walk away with a bad experience. Bottom line - if you were impressed enough to put a candidate through your interview process, you should be courteous enough to let them know they didn’t get the job and why.

Tip #2: Open line of communication
Communicating with candidates is a crucial step in the recruiting process. How can you keep lines of communication open with candidates? For me, the worst part of my job is picking up the phone and saying “unfortunately, we have decided to go with somebody else.” However, remember that this is still an opportunity for you to make sure that relationship you built with that candidate throughout the recruiting process is important, especially if you want them to walk away with a positive impression of your company. It is important that the communication ends on a positive note. Making sure to let your candidates know that their application was appreciated is so important. Be yourself, be human, relate to them and be sincere.

Tip #3 Be personal
Nothing says that we really don’t care more than a standard rejection email template from your
applicant tracking system letting them know they did not get chosen for the job. The last thing you
want your candidate to feel is that they’re just another number in the system. I know we are all busy and that sounds like the easier way out but a phone call really is a better means of news in this situation. Try to provide them with any feedback you can and be honest. When I say honest, I don’t mean to tell them that they were terrible and that the hiring team didn’t like them, but perhaps let them know what they could do to improve for next time. Remember, bad news travels faster than good news. A happy candidate might tell a friend about their great experience even if they didn’t get the job whereas an unhappy candidate will probably tell many friends about how terrible their experience was.

In closing, how can you master the art of rejection? Perhaps going through that discomfort of actually being real and honest about rejection could potentially yield you some referrals or just keep a great line of communication open with a candidate who could be the right fit for a job at your company six months or a year from now. Nobody likes rejection! Nobody likes to receive it and nobody wants to deliver it, but that is part of the job. If you can convey genuine appreciation, it can certainly go a long way.

Author: Angie Verros | Founder of Vaia Talent

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