Forums

I'm currently about to extend an offer to a candidate - which means there are several candidates which I did not select.

How do I handle communicating the rejection to the remaining candidates?

My company has this standardized email, but it seems so impersonal. What are your thoughts?

"Thank you for applying to the position of ABC with XYZ Corp. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for your interest and for taking the time to personally meet with us to discuss your qualifications. However, we regret to inform you that we have selected another candidate for this position.

Please be assured that we will retain your resume in our files and we hope that you will continue to apply for any positions for which you are suited with XYZ Corp."

aspiringceo's picture

Depending on the position and number of candidates, I usuall phone them to tell them the news and offer feedback on why they were unsucessful. I have found this to be more effective and personal.

Edmund

douglase's picture

I've done this a fair bit over the years.

"Hi, Name, this is Name from Company. I'm calling to let you know that you were unsuccessful in your recent application for Position Name. If you would like I can give you feedback now (or on set date and time). Give Feedback (which I have prepared before the phone call unless I set it at another time)."

Some of the unsuccessful candidates ask "So how were they better".

If the unsuccessful person had no real weakness per se I say the successful candiate was able to prove their skillset more effectively in the interview or that they were just a stronger applicant.

If they have weaknesses I highlight to them where the gaps were as well as highlighting what they did well.

Douglas.

Mark's picture

Dan-

I'm sorry this has taken me so long. I regret my absence, and I'm aware this is surely too late to help you. Nevertheless, as with all things management, it will happen again.

(And we have cast on this coming out).

You cannot in good conscience send an email saying no to someone to whom you have spoken in person.

You must call them. Leaving a voicemail is okay.

"Bob, I'm calling to let you know we won't be offering you the job. There was a lot I liked about our interactions (and have some ready in case he asks), AND we decided to choose someone else who was a better fit for us. I wish you well in your search. Thanks."

Again, my apologies.

Mark

dolphin's picture

I have to do this very thing [b]today[/b], and decided to check the MT forums in case someone else had run into this issue. And lo and behold here's a post on the exact topic. So - thanks once again MT for coming through when needed!

It's good to have validation that I do need to call the person rather than send an email. My situation is a bit different because I haven't selected any one else for the position, but rather I want to get in some more interview candidates....something about this candidate just doesn't feel right for the position I have. (also have consensus from the other interviewers).

leigh_k's picture

What if you want to turn someone down but you haven't selected anyone yet. Maybe the person didn't live up to their resume...

I've tried starting with something like, "Thank you for taking the time to interview with us. We enjoyed meeting you but ..." But what? You weren't technically strong enough for the job? Seems harsh...

WillDuke's picture

Why don't you offer them a job? Tell them that. That would be the most help to them in the long run. Why do we all feel compelled to lie to be nice? (No offense meant, I do it all the time.)

"We decided to go in a different direction" is a common phrasing I use.

Can anyone see "Dark Mark" telling someone:

Did you really think you were going to get a job when you showed up to the interview in a wrinkled up T-shirt? Your resume rambled on for 13 pages and didn't show a single accomplishment! Were you fired from every job you ever had? And for God's sake sit up and look at me during the interview. You shook hands like dead fish! And your references referred to you as a lazy, brainless slug. Even if I set all of that aside, your total lack of preparation for the interview indicates you're Galactically stupid(tm)! Have a nice day.

Okay, so lazy brainless slug came from Terri H. (Thanks Terri)

Joking around aside, if you really want to help the person you'd give them something to improve upon.

terrih's picture

LOL! You're welcome!

Plagiarism is the second highest form of praise. :wink: After remuneration.

leigh_k's picture

So if said interviewee wasn't able to live up to their resume, would it be safe to say that.

Something like, "We didn't feel that your skills were as strong as we need them to be. You might want to look into improving those skills."

Don't want to end up in a debate about their skills. But if we felt they just weren't there, is that the best approach? Or just avoid it and say, "Thanks, we've decided to make an offer to another candidate."

Sorry, probably basic questions. Just don't want to upset a candidate and at the same time don't want to leave them hanging.

Thanks again,

WillDuke's picture

Here's how I'd do it.

Bob. Thank you for meeting with us. At this time we have offered the job to another candidate and they have accepted. We were impressed with your but the other candidate had more . We will certainly keep your resume on file for future opportunities. Thank you again for your application and I wish you the best of luck with your job search.

I never turn anyone down until my 1st choice accepts. :)

You certainly don't owe the interviewee anything. If I thought they wouldn't take a heartfelt tip, I wouldn't give it to them. I'd just use the old "we decided to go in another direction" bit. If I liked the person, and wanted to help them out, then I'd take the time to give them some feedback.

leigh_k's picture

I hadn't though about telling the truth! :)

I like it!

jhack's picture

Will's advice is spot on. I've found that taking responsibility for telling them (on the phone or in person) forces me to stick to facts, and to know exactly what kind of abilities I'm looking for.

I do reject candidates before I have an accepted offer, when they do not meet my minimum standards. And I tell them where they fell short.

Let them know that you'll keep their resume on file. It helps reduce the pain of rejection (which is real) and hey, you never know....

John

asteriskrntt1's picture

The truth... it is like the peer feedback model... M&M say everyone wants to learn it to deliver adjusting feedback, never the affirming feedback. Give the candidate a couple of things to work on and mention a positive attribute or two.

Telling someone they did not get the job is not being mean. It just is. You interview to determine the survivor.

Personally, I hate hearing the "we will keep your resume on file" line. I don't know anyone else's experience but I have never been called because my resume is on file. It is just a throwaway phrase and does not help the declined candidate out one bit.

WillDuke's picture

Clarification. As John says, if they don't meet minimum requirements, I don't leave 'em on the hook. That's not fair to them.

Also, about keeping resumes on file. I'm no lawyer, but I've been told that here in the US you have to keep a resume on file for a certain amount of time. I think it's only 3 months, but we keep them for 6.

Finally, I just hired someone who was a second choice. We interviewed and picked the best candidate, and we were right, he's great. Then we had another opening and I remembered our second choice. He was also very good. We hired him, and so far he's working out fine.

CJ's picture

I had a candidate we "released" and I did tell them "we'll keep your resume on file." Next time a very similar job came up they called me directly (great initiative) and applied for the job.

Unfortunately I had to knock them back again as they were just not suitable in many ways for the role.

I'd be careful about putting "false hope" in a candidate just in case to make yourself feel better about giving bad news. It may come back to bite you!

CJ.[/i]

asteriskrntt1's picture

A perspective from the consumer's end:

UGH! I just had a hiring manager leave me a voice mail. "Sorry I am two weeks late in getting back to you."

And I have already been thinking "Yeah, I really need a job. Then again, do I want to work for a company that broke the first three promises it made me in an interview?"

"I am calling about your application and interview" Really? I thought you wanted an opinion on a tumor or something. Please do go on.

"To be honest, I am going to be in meetings for the rest of the day and it is unlikely you will be able to reach me. Try me at the end of the day or later in the week." - I am feeling more special by the moment. It is already 2:30 on Thursday afternoon.

Now, I know I am currently jaded from my job search and probably over-focused on MT style behaviours, so it really rankles me when people don't behave up to snuff. Seriously, how is any of this helpful to me? I don't find this professional at all.

I certainly would not leave a voicemail like this. If you want to call me in, let me know. If you chose another candidate, ditto. And if you want to give me feedback if I am interested, leave it in the voicemail. Sheesh.

*RNTT

regas14's picture

My first impression is the manager was calling to make an offer and didn't hear Mark say that it's OK to leave an offer on voice mail.

Maybe I'm just optimistic.

asteriskrntt1's picture

His tone of voice did not lead me to believe anything positive was coming down the pipe. Also, there would have to be one more interview before an offer could be made.

Then again, maybe he was so distracted from his all-day interviewing sessions. Just as he and the other manager who interviewed me are so busy that they could not return a voice mail, email or aknowledge a card over the last two weeks.

DanStratton's picture

[quote="asteriskrntt1"]Now, I know I am currently jaded from my job search and probably over-focused on MT style behaviours, so it really rankles me when people don't behave up to snuff. Seriously, how is any of this helpful to me? I don't find this professional at all.

[/quote]

I have always had this frustration. I learn something, move to a higher standard and get frustrated by everyone else who isn't there with me. He probably thought he was being extra nice by telling you when he may be able to be contacted. Remember, he could have hung up without leaving a message and forgot again for another day or so...
:roll:

Good luck!

terrih's picture

Mark wrote:

"You cannot in good conscience send an email saying no to someone to whom you have spoken in person.

"You must call them. Leaving a voicemail is okay.

" 'Bob, I'm calling to let you know we won't be offering you the job. There was a lot I liked about our interactions (and have some ready in case he asks), AND we decided to choose someone else who was a better fit for us. I wish you well in your search. Thanks.' "

He posted this 2 years ago, but I remembered it was here and found it... I LOVE having a script. I'm not very good at extemporaenous speaking. ;-) I used it last time I hired, as well.

P.S. Beforehand, I called the recruitment guy in HR and told him I was going to turn these three down, so he can send the "thanks but no thanks" letter. I said something about calling them, and he said, "You can if you want & you have time, just out of common courtesy... Most people don't."

I replied, "Most people aren't very courteous," and he said, "You're right!"