Rejecting Candidates – How to Communicate It and Leaving a Good Impression

A company that is searching for someone to fill an open position will focus on finding and choosing the right candidate. This means that although the employer may reach to contact dozens of candidates for a job, he would have to reject almost as many people from the previously chosen one, and ultimately decide for the best. For HR specialists this is a common thing; it’s part of their work, of the required stages of the recruitment process, but for candidates who invested time and hopes, who fought to get the desired job, the way how rejection is being communicated matters a lot.

The way candidates are told that they were excluded from the recruitment process can influence how they perceive the organization. This is why the rejections should be tactfully handled and, most importantly, it is necessary to communicate the decision, even if this involves time for the hiring company. Many candidates who are not selected to go forward never get to be contacted back to be informed about this. The lack of feedback in the recruitment process could leave candidates with unpleasant sensations, bad impressions, negative opinions that tend to spread and destroy the "good employer" brand.

Why Is It Important to Leave a Good Impression

Other than the fact that those rejected could spread negative opinions after having an unpleasant experience with a company, we must take into account that a candidate who was not suitable for a particular job might be the right person for another position in due time. In the meantime, he can gain more experience at another job, he could be contacted later, and he could even be hired. The success of such situations depends on the initial experience with the organization. Thus, in order not to lose a person forever, it’s nice to inform him that you won’t go further with him this time, but the organization wants to keep his profile in the database and have him considered for other positions, in the future.

When providing feedback to candidates during the recruitment process, it is better to give a productive and honest one, even when we talk about the decision of not moving forward. Whether this decision is communicated via email or phone, you need to begin by listing the strengths and skills that he has and the recruiting organization have appreciated. Thus, you could start by telling the rejected candidate that he has some outstanding qualities, and continue by informing him that you decided to go ahead with someone else. It is also good to emphasize the possibility of being recruited, in the future, for another position, to encourage the candidate to try his chances again with the same employer.

Politeness and Respect – Give Them and You Will Receive Them Back

Usually, if a candidate is not suitable for a particular position, this is obvious from the early stages of the recruitment process. When you reach this conclusion, it is best to communicate it within time, without giving the candidate wrong expectations and without letting him wait for too long. We’ve already mentioned that not getting back to people with whom you won’t go further isn’t recommended at all, even if this would take some valuable time, time that could be used to find the ideal candidate. Sending some standard emails to those candidates who were rejected in the early stages of the recruitment process should not take very long, but the image that they would have about the organization could be much better than if they had not received any feedback at all.

When talking about candidates who reach the final stages of the recruitment process, who pass several interviews and are included on the shortlist, it would be preferable to provide them with more detailed feedback, to inform them by phone instead of just sending a standard email telling that another person had been chosen. Let’s not forget the other side of recruitment, namely the respect for the time and hopes invested by each candidate in the job competition. The mere fact of thanking the candidates for their involvement, availability and the time to go the interviews, plus a professionally conducted recruitment process, are things that could lead many to consider, in the offing, the option to prefer an employer for another.