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How to Manage 'Rejections' for Unsuccessful Candidates


Rejecting with style is a craft that requires a process

But when was the last time you shone a spotlight on the experience of your rejectee's?

When we got together with SmartRecruiters to host a panel discussion about building a first-class candidate experience, this was one point that really resonated with the room.

Here are four ways you can improve the recruitment experience for unsuccessful candidates:

1. Treat all candidates equally

Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But Emma Welsh, Talent Acquisition Manager for McDonald’s, highlighted the importance of treating all candidates, successful or unsuccessful, with the same level of respect, ensuring they all get the same, great experience when they’re dealing with your brand.

If you are using technology to support your processes, don't forget the most important element of the process, to treat candidates as humans. Be sympathetic to the anxiety they might be feeling about the process and communicate with them as much as you can throughout so there are never any nasty surprises along the way.

2. Be transparent about the process

Clearly map out the hiring journey so candidates know how many steps will typically be involved and what to expect at each stage. Good recruitment relies on trust and credibility. Transparency about the commitment required to be considered for a role, helps to set proper expectations, avoid disappointments, and build a positive candidate experience.

Hudson RPO’s Director of Client Solutions, Nicki McCulloch, recommended using video for this, to put a face to the names behind emails for candidates and offer them a personal experience of the brand from the beginning of the process.

By offering all candidates this level of transparency, even those you decide not to move forward with will be left with a positive impression of your business, eliminating any concerns they might otherwise have about working with you in the future.

3. Assess cultural fit early

While there’s nothing to say at which point you have to decide that a candidate is right or wrong for a role, it pays to have thought about cultural fit early in the process. Emma noted that by conducting cultural fit assessments, supported by robust feedback, both you and the candidate will save valuable time.

But, as Lyndall Strachan, Head of Employee Experience at Nine, rightly warned it’s best to take this approach with caution and be careful not limit your options by being too focused on one specific type of person for a role. Maintain a focus on diversity and inclusion while using cultural assessments to better understand the realistic likelihood that a candidate will be the best fit for the working environment.

4. Educate hiring managers

The primary rule for ensuring rejected candidates are left with a positive impression of your hiring process is feedback. You must provide adequate reasoning as to why they will not be progressing any further in the process. If a lack of feedback is being driven by the hiring manager, you must push back.

In her final, closing remarks, Nicki pointed that it’s simply not acceptable to not provide feedback and it’s the talent acquisition or recruitment professional’s job to educate hiring managers of the risks of not doing so, including a damaged employer and consumer brand. Make it your mission to gather the feedback your candidates deserve.

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