After screening through hundreds of resumes and applications, a recruiter hires only a handful of people. In some cases, even a single person for a role. So, as a recruiter, turning down candidates is probably a more frequent event than hiring one. Rejecting a candidate may seem like an insignificant task. Hence most recruiters don’t bother to formulate a polite candidate rejecting strategy. The truth is that rejecting candidates gracefully is an important part of building a positive employer brand. In light of the above, this blog is a practical attempt to rethink and formulate strategies on how to reject candidates gracefully.
Rejection is a part and parcel of the hiring process of every industry. But the truth is, just like the hired ones, rejected candidates also take time to go through the complete hiring process. So, obviously, they too have invested their time and energy into it. They deserve to know the result. That’s why recruiters need to reject candidates with grace to ensure that there are no hard feelings.
Rejecting candidates with grace is a very important part of candidate experience building. If not done properly. candidate rejection can unleash a bunch of unhappy individuals, going around and tainting your employer brand. A detailed report by Survale, a candidate experience firm, backs up this fact that rejected candidates do affect your employer brand.
Here are a few tips on how you can reject your candidates gracefully and effectively foster a positive relationship with them.
1. Be Quick In Rejecting Them
Every candidate, whether hired or rejected, invests their time in going through the complete hiring process. That’s why the first thing that recruiters need to do is value the time of the candidates. No candidate wants to wait for weeks to hear back from you. They want to hear back from you promptly, even if it is rejection.
It may be so too that the candidates you are planning on rejection are delaying applying for other roles, or even turning down offers. So, you should not wait till the end of the hiring process to notify the unsuccessful candidates. This shows disrespect towards your candidates. Instead, you should be quick to inform the candidates as soon as you know you’re not going to move forward with their candidacy. Put them out of the misery of waiting as soon as possible.
2. Set Expectations Beforehand
A great way of reducing the pain of rejection for your candidates is to set expectations right from the beginning of the hiring process. Start right from the crafting of a perfect job description. It is very important that you draft a well-written, perfect job description. Take extra care to clear the deal-breakers. This way, applicants can filter themselves out and it will save you the pain and efforts of rejecting them in the first place.
With the JDs drafted perfectly, next thing you can do is to create well detailed shortlisted emails once the candidates are shortlisted. Clearly mention all the details that you need for the evaluation of your candidates. Also, assure them that even if they don’t get selected for this role, you will consider them for further jobs.
3. Be Straightforward And Honest
There is simply no point in beating around the bush by giving reasons like ”We have decided to move forward with a few other candidates who best fit the necessary qualification” for rejecting a candidate. They expect a clear and honest reason for their rejection.
Make sure you fulfill this expectation. Be honest and specific about why exactly did you reject them. Tell them why they didn’t get the job and the areas they could have handled better in the complete process. Avoid making small talk and keep the interaction straightforward and brief.
4. Personalize Your Communication
Nothing can be more inconsiderate and sensitive than a stale, cliche, scripted rejection. Also, you reject every candidate based on different criteria which they deserve to know. So, it’s best to reject candidates with a more personalized communication strategy.
Always remember to mention the person’s name and the qualities you felt didn’t make the cut. Add personal notes regarding areas where they can improve or some ongoing or upcoming project they’re a part of. While rejecting, make sure you genuinely thank the candidate for their precious time.
5. Give and Ask For Feedback
Once you have conveyed the candidate about their rejection, don’t end the interaction there. You need to be transparent about why the candidate got rejected. Offer constructive and personalized feedback as to why the candidate didn’t make the cut. A genuine piece of advice can go a long way in creating a great impression of you for your candidates.
As important as giving feedback is, asking for feedback is equally essential. After all, hiring is a two way street! Asking for a feedback is the best way to get an insight on what your candidates think about your hiring process. This will show your candidates that you care about their opinions.
6. End On A Positive Note
Just because you are rejecting a candidate now, it doesn’t mean he or she is not a goof fit for some other role. That’s why, you need to use your rejection process to boost your candidate experience. You can end your rejection process on a great note by making your rejected candidates still a part of your family. Genuinely thank the candidate for taking part in your hiring process.
Also, make efforts to stay in touch with your rejected candidates. You can do this by inviting them to various events, staying connected on social media, notifying them when an eligible position opens up. This way, you can keep a potential candidate engaged.