All too often candidates never hear why they didn’t get a job. When employers do send out rejection emails, they’re often generic and impersonal and do nothing to help or feedback to the unsuccessful candidate.
Candidates who leave your hiring process on a positive note, even if they’re unsuccessful, are more likely to:
- Be open to apply for a future role which they’re a perfect match for
- Give positive feedback to people who apply for jobs in your organisation
- Recommend your products or services to their network
- Be a customer
Rejecting candidates thoughtfully and with consideration is part of creating a positive candidate engagement and will make sure that talent and their network stay connected with your organisation.
Here are our dos and don’ts to help you maintain a good impression and great reputation, even when you reject talent.
The dos and don’ts of writing a positive rejection letter:
1. Respond as soon as possible
Don’t wait weeks. Candidates want to hear from you as soon as possible, even if it’s bad news. As soon as you know a candidate is unsuccessful, let them know.
2. Personalise the message
Don’t send a nameless generic letter.
Do use the applicant’s first name and try to include a reference from the interview or call out a specific positive attribute that impressed you. The further the candidate has progressed through the process, the more detailed the message should be.
3. Thank the candidate for applying
Don’t start the letter with the rejection itself.
Do start the letter on a positive note with a genuine thank you. After all, the candidate has invested hours of their time preparing and researching for this job application.
4. Let them know why they didn’t get the jo
Do give specific feedback. It doesn’t have to be extensive, but it should be honest and considered. If a candidate has made it far in the process, you might mention specific areas for improvement or if another candidate was more qualified or experienced. If you had a large number of applicants, you might also mention the competitiveness of the candidate pool.
5. Leave the door open
Do create opportunities to reconnect. The candidate may be perfect match for a future role so make it clear that you want to stay in touch and ask their permission to do so.
6. Wish them good luck
Do end the communication on a positive note with a genuine wish for success in their career.
Candidates will always feel disappointed to be rejected, but simple changes in your communications can make a dramatic difference to their application experience. Closing the journey on a positive note means candidates will feel good about engaging with your brand in future and will encourage their network to do the same.
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