April 29, 2015

Rejecting Candidates: How to Do It and Why It Matters

RejectedThe candidate pipeline starts as a wide funnel. Slowly but surely, the pool narrows until, eventually, you reach the final point: your next hire. Notifying that one lucky applicant can be exciting, but how you treat the candidates who did not make the cut matters more than you might think. The way in which you notify candidates, the time it takes, and the medium you use can have rippling effects on your brand and your future hiring success. Take the time to respect your rejected candidates.

Actually Tell Them

Two weeks have flown by after the first round of interviews, and you are ready to panel the top 20 percent. What’s going on in the heads of the other 80 percent of candidates, the ones who didn’t make it past this first round?

Sixty percent of candidates say they have been frustrated with a recruiter’s lack of communication, and 51 percent of candidates say they simply never back heard from employers. The worst part of the candidate experience is not knowing where you stand. Let candidates know the bad news. Once they know, they can move on to the next thing, rather than languishing in anxiety, false hope, and restlessness.

How to Do It

Keep it simple. Phone calls need not apply. Email is quick and clear and always a solid option. Don’t sweat it: a couple lines is all it takes! Use a quick template and repeat the pattern until each candidate has heard the news. What if you’ve already been messaging them through LinkedIn? Continue the pattern and send the InMail.

Want something even quicker? Shoot candidates a text message. Considering that 79 percent of smartphone owners between the ages of 18 and 44 have their phones with them 22 hours a day, that message will get through. Don’t shy away from SMS: it may even make your organization seem more in touch with younger candidates.

Why It Matters to You

Communicating with your candidates is way to respect their time; it’s always a best practice. But why?

Consider your employer brand. You don’t want word to get out that you routinely ignore candidates. You do not want to hurt your company with a bad reputation. Applicants talk, and everyone has their eyes out for better opportunities. Eighty-three percent of candidates say they would tell their friends and family about their experience with a company during the application process. Keep the good karma flowing by taking the time to show you appreciate candidates’ efforts and the time they took to apply.

Don’t Burn the Bridge

Today’s rejected candidate could be next year’s new hire! Don’t burn the bridge. If you leave a candidate on a good note, they may consider applying again!

Take the Time

Rejecting candidates the right way should be an integral part of your recruiting process. Maren Hogan, head of Red Branch Media, says it best:

“You need to make candidates FEEL appreciated, but it doesn’t have to take all day. Implementing one key feature in your arsenal (a personalized auto-response,  for example) can do wonders in letting candidates know they’ve been heard.”

Take the time and get the word out. Each candidate is more than a resume and wants to be treated as such. By quickly and politely informing candidates where they are (or aren’t) in the process, you’ll be generating candidate goodwill and strengthening your employer brand.

Read more in Employer Branding

Kerry is a Web Developer at Red Branch Media, a full-service B2B marketing agency specializing in Human Resources and Global Workforce Vendors. She focuses on user experience and lead generation on web automation platforms such as Wordpress, SharpSpring and Hubspot using HTML and CSS. Kerry is a recurring contributor to recruiter.com and enjoys writing about employee benefits, millennials and company culture.
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