Rejecting Candidates : Best Practices to Follow

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Author
Naresh Reddy

How to Reject Candidates

It can be challenging  when it comes to rejecting candidates. But, with such a high volume of applicants, interviewees, and prospective hires, you will likely be faced with the challenge of turning down 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 professionally and respectfully reject a candidate. This guide will provide tips and advice on how to leave a candidate, communicate with candidates with feedback, and implement a clear and well-defined applicant tracking process.

4 Phases and Procedures of Rejecting Applicants

Rejecting candidates is more challenging than simply writing an email. It is essential to know how to reject candidates kindly and respectfully in each phase of the recruitment process. These four best practices can help in rejecting a job candidate.

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.

Learn more on how an Applicant Tracking System can help the hiring process here: AI-Enabled Candidate Matching.

Rejecting a Candidate 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.

Rejecting a Candidate 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 candidates at 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. Refrain from 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.

Rejecting a Candidate after an Offer

It is always challenging 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 phone. 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 takes work. 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.

Factors To Keep In Mind When Rejecting Candidates

Providing Feedback

For rejecting job candidates is to provide feedback to those candidates who were not selected. While giving specific feedback on why a candidate was not chosen may be challenging, providing general feedback on areas where the candidate could improve and can benefit both the candidate and the employer.

Being Consistent

It is essential to be consistent in how you reject candidates. This means that all candidates who are not selected should be notified promptly and in the same way (i.e., via email or phone call). This can help ensure that all candidates are treated fairly and that the recruitment process is as efficient as possible.

Considering the Candidate’s Experience

Finally, it is crucial to consider the candidate’s experience during the recruitment process. This means that the process should be easy to navigate, communication should be timely and responsive, and all candidates should be treated with respect and professionalism.

Timeliness

It is crucial to notify candidates of their status on time. All candidates should be notified of their status as soon as possible after making a decision and no later than a specified date. This can help ensure that all candidates are treated fairly and that the recruitment process is as efficient as possible.

Follow-up

Recruiters should be available to answer any questions or concerns the candidate may have and provide any additional information they might need. This can help ensure that all candidates are treated fairly and that the recruitment process is as efficient as possible.

In conclusion, rejecting job candidates is an essential aspect of the recruitment process, and it is important to follow best practices. By providing personalized rejection letters, communicating with candidates respectfully and tactfully, having a clear and well-defined applicant tracking process in place, providing feedback, being consistent, considering the candidate’s experience, being timely, following up and personalizing the rejection letters, the recruitment process can be professional, respectful, and efficient.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you politely reject a candidate?

  • Begin with empathy
  • Gratitude is owed for their time
  • Make your response special
  • Tell them you’re still looking for other candidates
  • Give a constructive critique

What are the most common reasons for rejecting candidates?

The common reasons for rejecting candidates are standard resume templates, impersonal applications, Overqualified or Insufficient, Social Media Behavior, Absence of Effective Communication Skills, Nonspecific Responses, and Question Avoidance.

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