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17 Mar

3 Tips to Make Candidate Rejections Positive

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There are many highs and lows you will experience during your recruitment process. The lowest, perhaps, is having to tell someone they didn’t get the job. You need to remember when you send a job application rejection, you aren’t just moving on to a different candidate, you’re having a real-life impact on the person who isn’t moving forward.

The way you conduct a rejection will affect your brand in many cases. According to a recent study, 60% of job seekers report a negative candidate experience with the employers they engage with. While you may not think this is vital information, it can have a tremendous impact on your company’s reputation. The same study shows 72% of job seekers report sharing their negative candidate experiences online.

However, while a candidate may not be right for your business, you can still turn your rejection into a positive experience in more ways than one.

Here are some tips to create effective job application rejection.

Provide Feedback

A job candidate can’t continue to grow their career if they don’t know why they aren’t being selected for certain positions. While many hiring managers may want to “rip the band-aid off,” and not provide detailed reasoning, research shows that job candidates would prefer to receive feedback.

A study conducted by LinkedIn revealed 94% of professionals want interview feedback if they are rejected, while only 41% actually receive it.

Of course, depending on how many people submit applications, offering feedback to everyone may not be feasible. However, it is necessary to provide feedback for the candidates you move forward in the process and eventually interview.

If you give candidates something they can take away from the situation, they can enhance their skills and possibly be a more well-rounded candidate for you in the future. Approximately 95% of candidates are more likely to apply to a company again if their first experience was positive.

Be Compassionate

It should come as no surprise that anyone who receives a job application reject isn’t going to be happy. During this time, it’s important that you take a compassionate approach to how you reject someone.

Firstly, if you have interviewed a candidate in person or over a video call, it is never okay to reject them by email, text message, voicemail, or instant message. Similar to this scenario, if a candidate has made it this far in your recruitment process, it is not appropriate for an employer to fail to respond when a candidate reaches out.

If you have the bandwidth to do so, you should always call your candidates to break the news. By doing so, the recruiter can use their voice to soften the negative outcome this conversation is going to have.

Candidates may begin to doubt themselves after a rejection notice. If this is the case, give them some honest praise to help lift them up and provide some positive attributes they can continue building on.

Choose Your Words Wisely

When writing your job application rejection, it is imperative that you take caution in how you state your thoughts. You do not want to give a candidate any false hope, but you also don’t want to harp on the negative.

Despite the use of the word rejected throughout this blog, you don’t want to use it when turning down a candidate. Just because they aren’t the best fit for your company, doesn’t mean that they should exit this process feeling rejected. They aren’t the right fit for your company, but they could offer tremendous services to other businesses.

Additionally, you shouldn’t tell a candidate they aren’t a good fit without adequate reasoning. Do not leave them with any guesses.

Of course, offering explanations takes more time, but it should be common practice to personalize each message to your candidates rather than using a generic template. They took out the time and put in the effort to join your company…you should put in the time and effort to respectfully turn them down.

According to a 2021 Indeed survey of 500 employers, 77% said that they completely or partially personalize their final offers and rejections. Personalization gives candidates the feeling of importance and that they haven’t wasted their time. Not to mention, it positively impacts your brand. If you need further assistance managing your recruitment efforts, including attracting and retaining employees, consider working with a professional employer organization (PEO). As experts in the HR field, a PEO can provide great value when it comes to making backend decisions for your business. PEOs can also provide simple resources such as a Business Owner’s Guide to Recruiting, Interview Question Templates, and Onboarding Checklists.


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