The 4 Rules of Giving Appropriate Feedback to Unsuccessful Job Applicants

According to Forbes Magazine, many companies are doing a very poor job of providing feedback to job applicants working their way through the hiring process. It is a matter of corporate responsibility and it reflects favorably on an employer if they make an effort to provide unsuccessful job applicants appropriate and timely information about the status of their job application.

In some cases, applicants have filled out lengthy applications; provided professional credentials and certifications and have taken batteries of tests such as psychometric testing. They may have driven a long distance to a lengthy interview before a panel. They deserve to be apprised of the state of their application in a caring manner.

The Pitfalls of Callous Treatment of Applicants

When an applicant is made to wait until a final candidate is hired or has never been informed that their candidacy was unsuccessful, it leaves a very unfavorable impression on the company. According to Seek, a large corporation that maintains international job boards and an ezine for human resources managers can have a negative reputation once they fail to let candidates know whether or not the position has already been filled.

Online social ranking sites like Glassdoor and Indeed.com provide a means for disgruntled applicants who feel they were not treated fairly to explain their story to literally thousands of potential job seekers who may look elsewhere. A person who is an applicant today may also be a potential customer tomorrow. It just makes good sense to demonstrate corporate responsibility and not leave unsuccessful job seekers waiting and uninformed about their application.

Here are some rules to follow when providing feedback to unsuccessful candidates:

  • The Means of Feedback Should Reflect Where the Candidacy Failed in the Process

Feedback to job candidates should include an email that explains the hiring process when they first apply. Candidates who understand the hiring process will more likely perceive it as at least fair and will know what they can expect to happen at each stage. Candidates who do not make it to an interview can be sent an email rejection letter, but candidates that make it to the interview deserve a phone call to inform them that they did not make the cut.

If a candidate was rejected early in the process, Seek suggests that the email be timely and that the HR manager not wait until the final candidate has been chosen. The reason for this is that, the longer a candidate is kept in the dark, the longer that their anger and frustration may grow. A timely rejection email shows that the company respects the candidate’s time and it can help the candidate move on to other prospects.

  • Give Concise Feedback

Findlaw recommends that the type of feedback provided to unsuccessful job applicants be concise and professional. The feedback for someone who was interviewed should not simply focus on what the candidate lacked but on their strengths as well.

HR professionals should take caution and avoid comparing the successful candidate to the unsuccessful candidate in the rejection notice because it could lead to legal challenges of the hiring process.

  • Do Not to Raise False Hopes

HR professionals should not to get swayed into making statements during an interview that may give an applicant false hope of being hired. It is easy to do this when the candidate seems to click in the interview at the time. Later, though, another interviewee may actually turn out to have a bit of an edge. In this case, the first interviewee was given verbal signals that provided false hope.

This can lead to anger, resentment, and frustration on the part of the candidate. If the candidate was that good in the interview, the company may later need them for another opening, so the company does not want to create false hope and burn bridges for other, more suitable openings in the future.

  • Personalize Your Message and Keep Job Talent Communities

Keeping the job hiring process human, humane, and caring - is the Golden Rule. How would we like to be treated when we are stomping the pavement looking for work? Simple things make the hiring process more caring, like using the person's name in a rejection email after a paper check finds the applicant lacking in qualifications.

Speaking to the person's strengths in the phone call or email rejection after an interview helps the person know that they were valued for their experience and talents they demonstrated during the interview. Also, keeping in touch with interviewees through job talent communities on social media can help maintain connections for future opportunities.

In the internet Age, more so than ever before, companies need to do a better job of keeping job applicants informed regarding the status of their application in a timely and humane manner. The best and the brightest want to be treated well by their future employer.

It is likely that the majority will look at online sites that rate employers and will be swayed by the ratings they see therein before they choose where to apply. There is no reason for top-notch candidates to waste their time with companies that treat applicants poorly.

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