As a recruiter, or a hiring manager, you probably know you can’t hire all the candidates you see. It can be hard –more so on the candidate than on you- but if you only need one employee, you only need one and there’s nothing you can do to change that.
In your quest for the perfect new hire, you will most certainly encounter many other candidates who won’t be ideal for the job. There are times that you will know that they are not a good fit from the moment they enter the interview room, but more often, you are not going to know until you find that one individual who’s just perfect for the job. But what do you do with the rest of the candidates that you’ve left hanging? They are waiting to hear back from you, and chances are that they will be hesitant to accept any other job offers if they think they have a shot with your company, so it’s only polite to let them know that you won’t be needing their services.
And not only does this speak to your character, but it also speaks to your company’s/brand’s character. You should always try to promote your company’s positive image, even if it’s to a candidate you won’t hire. It might seem as a waste of time to actually take the time and let someone know that you won’t be hiring them, but the company’s reputation should be upheld at all moments.
So, how can you turn down a candidate while maintaining your company’s image?
1. Let the Candidate Know Soon
Most probably, you have a deadline for your interviewing period and by the end of that period you know who you are going to hire. So, as soon as the candidate who’s going to be hired accepts the job offer, make sure that you inform the rest of the candidates that they weren’t successful.
Don’t wait till the new hire starts working to let them know, it just isn’t polite. Let them know as soon as you know so that they can resume their job search.
2. Provide Feedback
If you’ve been emailing with the candidate send them an email, if you’ve been talking to them on the phone, pick up the phone and let them know.
It’s important to be clear about the fact that they were unsuccessful and it’s also important to explain to them why they were unsuccessful. If their resume was lacking in something that was key to the position let them know. If the candidate that was hired was selected because of their work experience, also tell them. Basically, you need to provide them with some concrete feedback so that the time they spent for your company wasn’t a waste of time. Explain why they didn’t get the job, and why someone else did.
3. End on a Positive Note
Remember that you want to make the candidate feel good about your company, so it’s important that you eliminate any feelings of anger that might come up with your email. To do that remember to thank them for applying for the position and taking the time to meet with you. Also, let them know that you will hang on to their resume in case something else comes up in the company.
If you want to go over the top you might even suggest another company who you know is looking to hire.
The important thing here is to understand that the candidate actually took time and effort to apply for the job and you want to make them feel like they’ve gained something out of it, even if it wasn’t the job.
Turning down candidates can be hard on your state of mind, but if you do it the right way you can build a network of individuals that will not only respect you and your company, but might even consider returning for an interview if something else comes up.