Practicing clear communication is a paramount skill of a hiring manager. While delivering messages along the lines of “you didn’t get the job” can be a dreadful task, if communicated positively these sticky situations can boost the image of the hiring manager and the company.

To initiate a positive relationship with potential new hires, it is necessary to demonstrate effective communication during and after the interview. Maintaining good communication with candidates throughout the hiring process can be a great cushion for a hiring manager to fall back on when the time comes to let the candidate know that they were not chosen for the position.

During and after an interview, a hiring manager should keep these tips in mind:

Provide the candidate with a timeline.

It is helpful to provide the candidates with a timeline for the hiring process so that both parties remain on the same page. This timeline may include things such as how long the hiring manager plans to spend filling the position, how long the interview itself will be along with an understanding of how long it will take to make the decision for whom to hire. Be sure to disclose how and when the candidate will be informed of the hiring manager’s decision to extend an offer or to move forward with an alternative candidate. It is crucial to keep your candidate posted because keeping them hanging without any communication will leave them with a bad impression that they can pass around to your potential future candidates.

Just because the hiring manager didn’t extend a job offer now doesn’t mean they won’t in the future.

A hiring manager should keep in mind that just because a candidate is not fit for the current position at hand, does not mean they may not be an asset to the company in the future. Communicate to the candidate why the company chose another person for the position. As new roles develop and open, a past candidate that had a good experience is more likely to respond to coming in for an interview. This means remaining on good terms with the candidate to ensure a good image for both the hiring manager, company, and future opportunities.

While it might be possible the A-player candidate is found, nothing is done until it is done. There are times when a candidate might say “YES” only to recount their words a few days later. If the “you didn’t get the job” calls are honest and positive, there will be a pool of candidates who are strong runner-ups if the first candidate didn’t work out. Never take a candidate for granted, as it is always a good idea to maintain a strong network.

Know the Appropriate Channel to Use When Delivering the Message

An email will suffice if the hiring manager only had phone conversations with the candidate. If the candidate only had one interview, the interaction was probably less personable so an email is also appropriate. A phone call would be most professional and necessary if the interviews are face-to-face or multiple phone calls.

Keep the interaction quick and avoid emotion.

As a hiring manager, it is always best to be respectful of the candidates time and efforts by giving them honest, polite, yet brief feedback. For example, “We were looking for someone with more experience in manufacturing over corporate and found a candidate with that experience.” Try to be as clear and concise as possible, while giving feedback that is meaningful. Candidates will appreciate the feedback.

Everyone will benefit when the news is delivered in a positive manner. The hiring manager will most likely feel better about the call when feedback to the candidate who didn’t get the job is positive. In turn, the candidate will come away from the call armed with a little more insight to apply towards their next interview. Think of the call as an opportunity to provide brief mentorship to a candidate who stood out from the rest, by implementing closure.