HOW DO I REJECT CANDIDATES IN A MORE POSITIVE WAY?

Look at you. You’ve interviewed a bunch of great candidates, you’ve got a few top contenders, and you’re pretty sure you know who’s going to be your first call for the new position. Nice work.

But there’s still a big challenge ahead: the moment your top candidate accepts the job, you’ll have to let the other applicants know that you’re moving forward with someone else. For many people in your position, this challenge is too overwhelming – and they end up ghosting the candidates who didn’t make the cut. But this leaves a sour taste in the mouths of people who might be great hires in the future. So what’s the most constructive way to communicate with these candidates?

The key lies in productive feedback.

Feedback means indicating things that were great about the candidate, and things they could improve upon. Was a sales candidate’s resume terrific, but their lack of research about your company a turn-off? Was an accounting candidate unqualified for the management position, but perfectly suited for a junior role? These are great things to let candidates know in general, but it also indicates that you care about seeing them succeed. It may encourage them to apply for a different position at your company in a few months or years – and if their next application lines up with the feedback you provided, your hiring timeline might jump ahead by a few days or weeks.

Pro Tip: Check out this infographic for a 7-step hiring process that improves accuracy and efficiency!

Providing feedback can also leave things on a more positive note with the candidates you don’t select. Since people are more likely to vocalize negative experiences, the last thing you want is a candidate posting all over the internet about their awful experience throughout your company’s hiring process. Negative reviews can make future applicants apprehensive – and even if you’re not hiring now, you will be later. Make sure you’re not missing out on hiring the right person before the job listing even goes live. Shopify has a great article about improving candidate experience for everyone - not just the person you end up hiring.

If you use a suite of assessment tools like McQuaig, you should be able to generate a feedback report in a couple of seconds and email candidates in just a few clicks. Plus, a feedback report can help with coaching the person you end up hiring. It’s also easy to write a few quick emails that highlight the positive aspects of each candidate’s application, and a small number of areas you think would make them better suited for your particular role.

More often than not, productive feedback can go a long way. At worst, you haven’t left candidates wondering if they’ll ever hear back from you – which can create long-term resentment around your company brand. At best, you’ll have a highly-qualified candidate who’s already confident in your hiring process the next time you’re looking to hire the right person. What are you waiting for? It’s time to start making the hiring process better for all of your candidates – even the ones who don’t make the cut!