Rejecting Candidates Gracefully

No one likes to be the bearer of disappointing news – so how do you tell someone you’ve interviewed that they didn’t get the role?

First off, include a line in your job posting that indicates only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted. This sets the expectations for the candidate and saves the hiring manager from the obligation of sending out emails to every candidate that applies.

Each candidate that is not selected for the role walks away from your company with an impression of the interview process. This includes the actual interview, how he/she was treated by the interviewer and other staff, the length of time the hiring process takes and whether there is an update provided if the process is lengthy, and how he/she is informed that he/she did not get the role. This candidate is a potential customer and ambassador for your brewery if the process went well. If it doesn’t, that negative experience could be shared with others who will avoid applying for roles at your brewery.

From the perspective of your employer brand, it is highly advisable to contact every candidate that you interview and advise that he/she was not selected for the vacancy. Calling the candidate provides a higher-touch than a generic email however, either is acceptable.

If the candidate was strong, the hiring manager can advise that he/she may be considered for future openings. Whether you email or speak to the candidate, it isn’t advisable to give too much feedback on why he or she wasn’t hired. Some feedback on where they may have lacked experience or education is sufficient however, delving into specifics could be detrimental if he/she translates your feedback into a non-equal opportunity employer or wishes to “argue” with you about their qualifications.

Many applicants put a lot of time and consideration into their resume, cover letter and interview. It can be very frustrating and disappointing to a candidate to not receive any type of communication after the interview. A good rule of thumb is to advise the candidate during the interview what the next steps are and when he/she should expect to hear from you. Ensure you follow up on that timeline, even if it is to say that the process has been delayed, and make some form of contact once your hiring decision has been made.


Post by: Lynn McIlwee