4 Best Practices When Rejecting Candidates

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Naresh Reddy

It is difficult to reject candidates. But, with such a high volume of applicants, interviewees, and prospective hires, you will likely be faced with the challenge of turning away several candidates each time you open up a new position. Because it is such a common and challenging task, it’s best to plan how to reject candidates professionally and respectfully. 

How to Reject Candidates: 4 Best Practices

Rejecting candidates is not as easy as simply writing an email. It is important to know how to kindly and professionally reject candidates in each phase of the recruitment process. These 4 best practices can help. 

1. Rejecting Candidates in the Application Phase 

Many companies do not notify candidates that their application is not moving forward. However, if you decide to do this, it’s essential to be clear in your rejection email: 

  1. Let the candidate know that their application was not accepted. But also thank them for applying and remind them that they are welcome to apply for roles in the future.
  2. Avoid same-day rejections. Wait 2-3 days before sending a rejection email to avoid any concern that you did not spend time vetting the candidate. 
  3. If you use an Application Tracking System (ATS), make sure you input the correct criteria and audit your system regularly to avoid accidentally rejecting candidates.
  4. Automate your email writing process to avoid duplicate or repeat emails. 

For more information on how an Applicant Tracking System can help the hiring process, check out our article on AI-Enabled Candidate Matching

2. Rejecting Candidates After the Phone Screen 

If you have decided that the candidate is not a good fit after a phone screen, it’s best to reject them in writing or via phone call within 1-2 days. Be clear about what disqualified them and express appreciation for their time. If the candidate has questions, be sure to answer them. 

When sending your email, make sure to provide actionable feedback. Transparency benefits your employer’s brand and will aid in the professional development of your rejected candidates.

3. Rejecting Candidates After the In-Person Interview 

You have already developed a special relationship with the candidate at the interview stage, and they have interacted with your company several times. Rejecting them in this stage requires extra consideration.

It is best to proceed with a templated email that thanks the candidate for their time and reiterates that they were not selected. Avoid giving them vague commentary that does not explain why they are not moving forward. Instead, focus on constructive feedback that will help them improve their candidacy for future roles. 

4. Rejecting Candidates After an Offer 

It is never an easy task to reject a candidate after you have offered them a job. But it occasionally needs to be done, i.e., after a background check failure. The best way to do this is to let the candidate know via a phone call. Calling the candidate will allow them to ask questions and understand the decision made. 

When rejecting a candidate after an offer, remember that the company’s reputation is also on the line. Therefore, you should justify why you did not select the candidate and how their profile did not meet the job qualifications to receive closure. 

Rejecting candidates is never easy. But it is something you will have to do throughout your career. By following these best practices and being transparent with candidates, you can ensure candidates will not be discouraged from applying for future roles within your company.

Learn more about Oorwin’s products by taking a tour today, or contact us at  +91-8977801805 / USA: +1877-766-7946 to talk to our product advisors.

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