How to Reject Candidates: 5 Best Practices

How you reject candidates matters: The famous Virgin Media example

How you reject candidates matters. 

Bad candidate rejection practices can cost you more than a few disgruntled candidates. They can also hurt your employer brand and cost you serious bucks. 

According to CareerArc’s survey, 72% of candidates who had a bad experience will tell others about it, either online or in-person.

Considering that 75% of candidates wouldn’t take a job in a company with a bad reputation (even if they were unemployed!), this can seriously affect your chances of hiring top talent.

But that’s not even the worst part of the story!

Did you know that 64% of candidates with a poor candidate experience are less likely to purchase your company’s goods and services? This means you could lose your customers as well!

And this is not just some imaginary treat. Business giant Virgin has calculated the value of their bad candidate experience and was shocked to find that rejected candidates cost Virgin Media $5M annually!

Candidate rejection: Best practices

Rejecting candidates is never easy, but it can still be done thoughtfully and respectfully.

Here is how to do it right:

#1 Deliver bad news ASAP

Contact candidates who didn’t make it into the next round of your hiring process ASAP. Deliver the news in a timely manner, preferably within 48 hours after the interview.

PRO TIP: 

  • Automate if you must, but…
  • Deliver the news in a timely manner,
  • Preferably within 48 hours after the interview.

#2 Pick up the phone

Talent Board’s latest Candidate Experience (CandE) Benchmark Research Report has found that the candidate experience improves by 29% if you reject candidates over the phone as opposed to email or text message. 

PRO TIP: 

If you can’t call all of your rejected candidates, make sure to:

#3 Provide feedback

According to LinkedIn’s research, 94% of candidates want to hear feedback after an interview. Furthermore, rejected candidates are 4x more likely to consider your company for a future opportunity when you offer them constructive feedback.

 PRO TIP: 

  • Ask if they want feedback first
  • Be honest
  • Give actionable advice.

#4 Ask for feedback 

Ask candidates to give you feedback on your hiring process. This will send the message that you really care about their opinion and are trying to make an effort to provide an excellent candidate experience.

PRO TIP: 

Invite your candidates to:

#5 Stay in touch

Do your best to stay connected with your rejected candidates. Who knows, maybe they’ll be a perfect fit for one of your future job openings! 

PRO TIP: 

  • Connect with your rejected candidates on social media. 
  • Invite them to your recruiting events. 
  • Send them your monthly recruitment newsletter and inform them about your new job openings they are qualified for.

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