How a company handles candidates who are not hired is as important as the one that they do hire. It is imperative to remember that the candidate that you turn down today, may be your dream candidate, tomorrow. Give a candidate that has invested their valuable time in interviewing with your company the respect that we would all want when letting them know that they have not been chosen for a role . By implementing the suggestions listed below, which in total take just minutes of your time, you will leave the candidates that you do not hire with a good feeling about your company, and a desire to apply again in the future.
To avoid liability issues, be extremely careful of the reason you give for not hiring a candidate and be aware of how you treat each person overall. A company’s reputation can sour quickly by disgruntled job candidates. Here are a few suggestions:
Liability wise, the safest answer on why someone wasn’t hired is “while the hiring manager felt there were a lot of positives about this candidate, the company has decided to go in a different direction.” This is direct yet positive and leaves no room for negotiation. This is the verbiage that we use to disengage all candidates, regardless of the situation.
Avoid giving a candidate who was not hired any specific reason that is personal in nature for your decision, such as the person does not have the right image for the company, for example. Also, NEVER tell a candidate that he/she did poorly on any type of testing as the sole reason for not moving forward in the interview process.
If a candidate has been extended an offer only to fail a background check, it is fair to let them know specifically what issues are not allowing the person to successfully pass the check. In the event it is erroneous information, give the candidate a chance to rectify it. Be aware that there have been cases of mistaken identity and once given the opportunity to clear it, candidates have been able to pass the background check and start work.
Always start with a positive experience for all candidates. Regardless of whether the person is hired or not, be respectful of their time (since many are still employed while interviewing) and don’t keep them waiting unless absolutely necessary. During the interview, be respectful and give each candidate your undivided attention, keeping in mind that rude behavior on your part reflects negatively on the company you represent.
Handle all referrals in the best possible way. Even though you may not hire a candidate who someone refers, remember that the person who referred them will feel accountable to the candidate interviewed. If you do not treat the referred person well, you may not get another referral in the future.
Be timely in your response. If you know soon after the interview is over that you will not be hiring the candidate, the most considerate action is to give the candidate a call as soon as possible and be positive but direct. If sending a letter, make it as timely as possible.
Be considerate. Always address a rejection letter with the candidate’s first and last name and end with a personal signature. A generic postcard with a stamped signature gives off a cold and impersonal impression of the company.
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