How do you reject a candidate?

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How do you reject a candidate?

A manager comes to you because a new resource is needed in his team. You immediately start writing a great vacancy text and post it online. There are many reactions to this. Awesome! You get started right away to thoroughly read CVs and cover letters. There are a number of suitable candidates that you submit to the manager for interview. After these rounds of interviews, one suitable candidate remains. You call that candidate to say that you would like him or her to start working within the company, and the candidate accepts the offer. Everyone is happy! But now the time has come to reject the candidates that were not suited to the position. Breaking bad news is never fun, but you can try to put a positive spin on it.

Honesty is the best policy

It is extremely important to give honest feedback back to the candidates you have spoken to. They can learn from this for future applications and will thank you for your honesty, however harsh it may be at times. Often the candidates themselves also have a gut feeling about the click and whether the interview went well or not. Make it personal and do not send feedback by email, but call the candidate.

Rejecting a candidate with the standard texts: ”Another candidate fit the profile better” or ”we don’t know if you can handle the travel time” or ”He just lacks some extra experience in the field of..” , helps no one. Therefore, make sure that you give feedback that is actually useful to the candidate. Explain where the experience is lacking, but also if there is no connection on a personal level or if you have questions about something. If you mention this, the candidate can still respond to this, which may change your opinion.

Leave a positive impression by giving feedback, but also initiate a conversation about this with the candidate. By giving him or her the space to ask any questions or explain your feedback. You would appreciate this too if you were in the same position.

Important for the candidate

It is also important for the candidate not to settle for a standard rejection. It is important to ask why the other candidate is a better fit and what you could possibly do differently in the future to leave a better impression. Receiving feedback is sometimes difficult, but here too the following applies: look at it positively and give it your own twist, take it with you and learn from it. And don’t forget: even if you get rejected for something (maybe several times), don’t stop applying! Keep going strong! There is a company eagerly waiting for your knowledge, experience and personality.


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