How to Reject Candidates Without Tarnishing Company Brand

How to Reject Candidates Without Tarnishing Company Brand

By: Erin Venable | July 13, 2017

Any hiring manager or recruiter knows that rejection is just part of the process when filling an opening in their company. But no one likes being the bearer of bad news to job candidates that weren’t chosen. With our guide on the right way to reject a candidate, you and your company’s brand will survive this awkward situation.

Create or Follow a Process

One of the most helpful things you can do for yourself and your business’ brand is to have an established process in place when rejecting a job candidate. Knowing the steps that you should take in these situations will help keep things professional and organized to give the candidate the best impression of your organization, even if they won’t be joining it. Consider the following points to help you create the best and most productive process for rejecting a job candidate.

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Keep Them in the Loop

The most important thing you can do when rejecting a candidate is to actually contact them in a timely manner to deliver the rejection. With so many positions being filled through online application processes, it can feel easier to “ghost” candidates or reject them by never contacting them or replying to their attempts at communication. People crave closure to move forward from a negative situation. They will always be upset that they didn’t receive the position, but not notifying them will give candidates a bad impression of your brand, which they will spread to others.

Candidates can be potential customers, future employees, or refer others to apply at your company.

Call, Text, Email? Medium of Delivery Matters

The way that you contact a rejected candidate can change their opinion of the company you represent. There are a number of different options for communicating the news and a variety of situations where each could be more applicable. Texting a candidate is not a good way to communicate the rejection because it seems unprofessional and casual. Even if you have been communicating with them through text, a phone call or email would ] do the job better and have candidates feeling happier. If you have only communicated with a candidate over email, then sending the negative news over email is appropriate. If a candidate has come into the office for one or more interviews, it is better to give them a call. They have spent time and energy on your job application process and a phone call will show them that your company appreciates it. Consider which method best suits your candidate rejection situation to choose the best delivery medium possible.

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Respect Them Like a Customer and Professional

How you speak to or treat the rejected candidate, throughout the application process, will also give them an impression of your business’ brand. It is best to think of them like a customer whose business you want to acquire. Even when you have to give a customer bad news, professionals always do so in the most polite and respectful way possible. This candidate could be a potential customer, future hire, or referral opportunity for your organization. Treating them well will only benefit your company in the long run. Make sure that you distinguish between rejecting them as a person and a professional. If you make it clear that your company appreciates them as a person, but their professional background didn’t quite fit, it will soften the blow of your difficult news and keep them feeling positively about your brand.

Ask for Feedback

Candidates appreciate the idea that companies want to listen to them and improve. Getting candidate feedback will also help you see the strengths and weaknesses of your company’s candidate experience. That will help you decide a plan for improving your employer brand. Employer branding is important in today's job markets, as we explain in our article "The 8 Successful Recruiting Strategies You Need in 2017", with candidates being more selective than ever. Offering candidates a survey or chance for feedback will help them feel appreciated and heard. This will give them a more favorable opinion of your company, even in the face of rejection.

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Establish a Future Connection

Don’t let your relationship with a rejected candidate end when you deliver the news. Show them that it was just this situation that didn’t work out by offering them ways to connect in the future. LinkedIn, a company email, or an invitation to apply again are all great ways to not only help a candidate feel better about their rejection, but to also improve your company’s talent network for the moment when a new opportunity needs to be filled.

With the modern push for a positive employee experience, that we discuss in our article "Employee Experience: The Brand Strategy Your Company Needs", and the importance of a company’s employer brand in this job market, your business can’t afford to reject candidates the wrong way. Candidates can be potential customers, future employees, or refer others to apply at your company. Treat your job candidates with care, even if you’re rejecting them, and your business’ brand will not only remain untarnished, but it will improve.

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