5 Talent hunters share their number one tip for rejecting candidates

Rejecting candidates – eek! While it is certainly not the most appealing part of the job, there will be times when we just have to do it.

So the question is how can we do it so we don’t leave a negative impression? How can we send our candidates off feeling energised and motivated about their futures after having just crushed their dreams?

We spoke to some your peers to find out how they reject their candidates. What do you think? Use the comment section to share your thoughts!

Matt Woodard
Senior Tech Recruiter at Zendesk

For candidates who have been involved in later stages of the process, it is important to create a unique candidate experience for them because of the additional time and effort they had invested.

For example, with candidates that don’t progress past the coding challenge stage, we will always seek to provide feedback around what they did well but also where further improvement or focus could be exerted.

Our aim is to provide useful information so that candidates can use the it to benefit either their ongoing professional development and/or future interview processes.

This takes the hiring teams relatively little time to do but provide a much greater experience for the candidate and, we hope, a potential learning opportunity for them too.

Tracey Quinn
Global Talent Acquisition Capability Manager at Mondelez Australia

My one key tip is to make sure that you close the loop with candidates in a timely manner or, as soon as you are sure that they are not right for the role.

Put yourself in their shoes, nobody wants to hang around for weeks awaiting a response or feedback & quite simply getting back to folks to let them move on is the right thing to do!

Have a plan on what you want to say & decide how best to deliver your message based on the conversations you have had to date.

Be honest, be sure to include any constructive feedback that you can offer if appropriate, and finally, don’t forget to thank them sincerely for their time spent on the application process.

Kara Stevens
Head of People at Noggin

We have so much insights into how candidates can improve their interview technique or resumes – so why not share it?

I have never found a candidate not to appreciate feedback that was genuine and constructive. This is so much more valuable than the “its not you, its me” approach or the “thanks but no thanks” approach.

So often companies forget that candidates have also invested their time, energy and effort in applying for our roles and attending interviews – the least we can do is provide them with honest feedback that helps them understand where they fell short and how they can do better.

And it only takes a few minutes. 

Stefan Welack
Senior Consultant at Polyglot Group

Taking extra time to add some human touch to the rejection letters you send out.

One of the things I always found frustrating about the way I was rejected for jobs, was the cold tone in those letters. Even if you use a template, they really don’t need to sound like they were written by a robot.

Let candidates know you share their disappointment, use warm words, encourage them to apply again and connect with them on LinkedIn to stay in touch.

An easy but effective way to show you care. 

Sheemal Visun
Talent Partner at KJR Australia

Don’t wait until the end of the hiring process before you notify any unsuccessful candidates. This is disrespectful to that individual and you could be delaying that candidate from applying for other roles or even turning down offers in the hope of securing the gig at your company.

You need to build empathy into your rejection process. Be transparent about why they were not successful. If you were looking for more experience in a certain area, say so. If the project you were hiring for fell through, then let them know. If It was skill-related, then be clear about any experience that would have improved their chances.

Candidates will appreciate your transparency and feedback. Always remember that everyone you deal with is a potential ambassador for your company! 

If you give them a sh**t candidate experience then they will spread negative feedback to their network about your brand but if you give them a positive experience they will refer their network to your company. 

The upcoming Future of Talent retreat will explore these principles in detail and come up with a set of ethical standards for the use of AI in Talent Acquisition in Australia. If you are an internal TA executive for a corporate organisation, we would love for you to be part of this trailblazing event. Register your interest here.

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