How to handle the dreaded rejection call. It is always hard for me to make this call, after spending a lot of time with good candidates and developing a rapport it can be a delicate situation. I am always positive and usually let the candidate know where they succeeded but it is also important for me to point out where they fell short. Any thoughts out there on making this call?

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I hate making this call as well. I think you have to set it up very early on in the process - like the first interview. Tell the candidate "you have a lot of the skills we are looking for, the only area of concern is you don't have as much ___ (fill in the blank) as the client might want, but I think we can get you in for the interview.

Now when you call back you can tell them that the candidate that got the offer had a little more in that area.

The main thing is be honest - every candidate has some flaw so make sure that is the one you tell them about.

I find this works really well - and I don't have to worry because I already "pre-closed" the candidate on it anyway - and I am not lying to them I am telling them the truth. But the key is to set it up very early in the process so they aren't' surprised.

Added bonus: in the interview process if you tell the candidate they are light in a certain area, some of them come back with some very strong examples of how they aren't and you have some great selling information for the client.

I have been in the business for 20 years and rejection calls don't get any easier. They are even trickier when you are dealing with folks at the VP and Director level because they are not just candidates but potential clients - kid gloves are an understatement.
Here is a rule of thumb I picked up in 1987: Do you you dread most first. It has served me well. A refreshing feeling always comes right after "doing what I have to do" and I'm able to move ahead.

Nothing worse than hiding from the phone every time it rings just so you don't have to tell someone they didn't get the job.

Remember - how you leave a candidate now is exactly how they are going to remember you when you have another position for them later. Treat them with the respect they deserve. They appreciate the quick feedback EVERY TIME and will respect your professionalism even if they didn't get the job.

Good luck!

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