Our candidates recently indicated that one of their biggest frustrations when job hunting is not hearing back after being interviewed. Naturally, no one really wants to hear that they didn’t get the job they applied for, especially after a seemingly successful stage 1 and even 2 interview. But, it is important to convey the big fat “no” as quickly, sincerely and professionally as possible.
There are two standard ways to let a job candidate (or their recruitment consultant) down: you can either give them the bad news in a phone call or a write it to them in an email or letter. How you do this will most likely depend on how far down the interview process they have got. If you are rejecting a number of people early on in the recruitment process, then an email is perfectly acceptable. If however someone has got to the latter stages of any interview process then you might want to consider calling them or their recruiter and giving direct, constructive feedback as to why they weren’t selected.
While it might seem like a lot of work right now, giving feedback is not only good PR for your company, but you’re also helping the candidate to understand where their strengths and weaknesses lie. Having said that, some employers have policies against giving feedback out of fear of inadvertently creating legal risk but there are many ways to avoid any of this without reciting fake or clichéd reasons with no real substance behind them.
Don’t wait to give feedback!
If you’re going to give feedback you need to give it quickly. Let candidates know as soon as you know about their interviewing status, it’s the polite and professional thing to do. Here’s a useful breakdown on how to structure your response:-
1. Thank your job candidate for their interest in your company. Let them know that you appreciate the time they took to apply and go to the interview.
2. State that the candidate does have strong skills, experience or qualifications, and maybe explain why they would be a good fit in your company.
3. Then get to the point, explaining why you’re not able to make a job offer. Use phrases such as, “we’re seeking a candidate who has more experience”. Try not to be too negative; it’s hard enough for the candidate to hear the news about the job offer without feeling you are picking them apart. And most importantly of all don’t be discriminatory – or even appear to be discriminatory – when it comes to interviewing or hiring candidates.
4. If the candidate has questions or enquiries, make sure you respond to them promptly and on a professional level – and definitely make sure you follow company policies on communicating with applicants. They’ll be likely to reapply with your company if they receive all the necessary information, so never burn your bridges. In fact, it’s best to keep all applications on file for at least six months.
5. Inform the candidate about other current or future openings. Let them know that they can apply again if you are interested in the candidate.
6. Wish the candidate well with their future endeavours as it shows that you have respect for them.