No one likes to lose. No one wants to be the one to tell people they lost, either. Telling a candidate they didn’t get the job is one of the hardest things a recruiter has to do. After a candidate has been through your process they have skin in the game—and so do you. It’s a disappointment to both the candidate and their recruiter when they don’t make the cut. Here’s how to let a candidate down easy, both verbally and in an email.

How to Tell a Candidate They Did Not Qualify For the Position

Writing a Better Rejection Letter

Telling a candidate verbally that they didn’t get the job after they’ve interviewed with your team is a must. Once you’ve developed a relationship with the candidate where you’ve met them face to face, sending a text or an email alone seems a little cold. Think of it this way; if you give even the rejected candidate a positive experience, they may be interested later on in another type of job with your company where they are qualified. Don’t burn the bridge with a good candidate who was beaten out by someone who ended up being better.

Also, don’t leave candidates hanging without a rejection. There’s nothing like a negative Glassdoor ranking to send other candidates running for the hills. So, take the time to close the process with every single person that applies.

If you’re calling the candidate and following up with a letter, which is recommended on any candidate that interviewed with your team, there are a few best practices to follow:

  • First, be empathetic but professional. Say that you’re calling with disappointing news and that the team has selected another candidate to move forward with. Try to be as professional as you can and thank them for their time in working with you.
  • Second, always make your response personalized. Share what they did well in the interview and let them know that the team found someone who was just a bit more qualified. Be careful here, though, if the candidate asks for specific details or feedback. Keep it light and professional and try not to get into a long discussion of what went wrong during a specific interview process. Let the candidate know that you’ll follow up with a rejection letter for their files. This is also important for compliance issues and closes the loop on the individual candidate process.
  • Finally, follow a similar process with your rejection letter. Let the candidate know that you’re continuing the interview process or that another candidate was selected for the job. (We recommend holding off on turning down your second-best candidate until your top candidate accepts the offer, of course.) In your letter, thank the candidate for their time and apologize for the disappointing news. Let them know you’ll keep their resume on file and that they are welcome to stay in touch and apply again in the future.

How Did You Tell Your Candidate They Did Not Get The Job?

Exelare can help streamline the process of candidate sourcing, screening, hiring—and rejection. Find out how our ATS takes much of the busywork out of the HR employment process. Contact us today.