Four Ways to Properly Reject Candidates
The recovering economy is good news for job applicants. The job-seeker to job opening ratio is now 1.6 to 1, down from 8.8 to 1 in 2009. That means, for managers the pool of applicants is smaller. However, the reality for HR managers is that the number of applicants is always going to outweigh the job openings within your organization. You’re going to reject way more than you hire. A recent survey from The Career Advisory Board found that 75 percent of rejected applicants will talk about their experience with their friends and 50 percent said the way they were treated affects their decision to buy from that company in the future. How you handle applicants that don’t get the job directly affects your brand and access to future talent. Consider four tips regarding how to properly reject candidates.
- Respond. This seems simple, but many companies do not bother to respond to rejected candidates. Applicants pick up on this lack of respect and will develop a bad impression of your company and brand. According to CareerBuilder, 52 percent of companies respond to fewer than half of their applicants. Just providing a response, even though it’s not the one the applicant wanted, will leave them with a good impression. In fact, CareerBuider’s survey found that 69 percent of job seekers that were rejected but had a good experience were more likely to buy goods and services from that company in the future. You don’t even have to go to the trouble of sending a formal letter. A personal e-mail requires minimal time and often satisfies the applicant. Your type of contact will depend on how far the person got in the application process. Someone that made it to the interview phase most likely deserves a phone call.
- Be direct. Candidates deserve an honest response. Tactful candor goes a long way in leaving a good impression and providing feedback that the candidate will find valuable. If the applicant lacked a specific skill needed for the job, tell them. Don’t say, “we’ll keep your application on file” when you know you have no intention of hiring them in the future. Conversely, if you would consider them for another position, tell them you’ll keep their application for future consideration.
- Don’t waste their time. Most likely, job seekers have put in multiple applications with numerous companies. They may be waiting to give a response to another potential employer because they thought their interview with you went well. Don’t leave them hanging any longer than necessary. Often, companies notify all applicants once they’ve filled the position, even though some candidates were “out of the running” long before. If you decide a candidate is not a good fit, tell them immediately.
- Personalize. No one likes to get a generic form letter or e-mail, and there’s really no excuse for not personalizing anymore. E-mail marketing and other tools make writing a personalized message quick and easy. Include the candidate’s name, your name and title, and the position for which he or she applied. Including the date the interview was conducted is also a good way to make the applicant feel like you personally considered their interview and application.
Employees are a company’s biggest advocates. But, we sometimes forget that potential employees can also walk away an asset or a liability. Think of candidates as future employees and potential customers. Apply the same customer service skills you would use to impress a client.
Surmount HRM provides Cloud-based Human Resource Solutions to clients across the country. Effectively using an employee management solution can help you track candidates and record personalized data, making the process of selection and rejection more efficient. Contact us to learn more.