about 1 month ago by Melissa Rodrigues

How to reject candidates

How to reject candidates blog header image. Featuring a male and female recruiter exchanging sideways glances as candidate talks during the interview. Demonstrating the candidate may need to be rejected. Search Consultancy.

​In a talent-short world where employer brand and referrals significantly impact talent attraction and retention, it’s important that you (as a representative of your clients) maintain good relationships with your candidates.

According to LinkedIn, one of the best ways to improve your employer brand is to provide a positive experience for candidates whether they are offered the job or not. Their research also revealed that 94 percent of professionals want interview feedback if they are rejected.

In this blog, we show you how to reject candidates, yet maintain a positive relationship with them and ensure they return to you for roles in the future.

How to reject candidates

If a candidate has taken the time to fill in an application form, or to attend an interview, you must let them know the outcome.  They have invested time and
effort into their preparation and so it’s only right that you are able to let them know if their application is not progressed. How you reject candidates is crucial to the reputation of your brand and the employer brand of the client you’re representing.

Step 1: Give the candidate feedback as early as possible

Ensure you give a candidate feedback as soon as you are absolutely sure they are not right for the role. This will help them move on as soon as possible.  You don’t need to wait until you have filled the post if you are sure the candidate isn’t right. 

However, you should also manage expectations from the onset of the recruitment process. Having an idea of how long your client may take to reflect on the candidate’s performance, compare notes and make a decision will enable you to set a timescale for feedback to your candidate immediately after the interview has taken place.

Step 2: Ensure your feedback is constructive and personalised

Good quality candidates invest their time and effort into researching job roles and attempting to make a good impression, so it’s simply not enough to notify them that they have not been selected for the role because the client preferred someone else.

Ensure your feedback is as constructive and personalised as possible. A standard email may be acceptable for candidates rejected prior to the interview process, but more detailed feedback is important for those you have interviewed.

Step 3: Soften the blow by highlighting the positives

When you’re giving constructive criticism to a candidate, it’s always a good idea to start off with the positives and give them some compliments before you tackle the areas where they fell down.  Wherever possible, you should also end by repeating their strong points.  This softens the blow of any negatives and is more likely to leave them with a positive impression of you as a Recruiter.

Step 4: Be transparent and specific when delivering feedback

Unsuccessful candidates who have turned up for an interview expect and deserve a clear reason for their rejection, even if it is just ‘we have other candidates who better matched the client’s requirements for the specific role’.

Keep your feedback concrete, highlighting specific areas for improvement in a factual manner. Avoid using subjective or emotive language such us ‘the client feels your personality wouldn’t sit well within the team’ or ‘The client felt you wouldn’t be able to handle the workload’. At all costs avoid any language which could be perceived as discriminatory in accordance with the Equality Act 2010.

Step 5: Thank the candidate for their time, and keep in touch

Even if a candidate is rejected for one particular role, they are likely to be suited for a vacancy in the future. Be sure to demonstrate that you are invested in their job search by keeping in  touch with them, alerting them to upcoming positions that may be suitable for them, and starting the recruitment process
all over again, whereby you continue to provide frequent and informative feedback.

By following the guidelines above, you’ll ensure you maintain a positive relationship with great candidates. People talk, and your reputation will be impacted in either a positive or negative way dependent on how you’ve left things with the candidate.

Trust us, we know!

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Here at Search, we are continuously on the lookout for talented recruiters who are passionate about the industry and delivering an exceptional service to both clients and candidates alike! If you’d like to join a recruitment agency that is built on forging meaningful relationships with clients and candidates alike, then apply to one of our nationwide vacancies now!

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