How to Properly Reject Job Candidates

TSP • @myTSPnet


The hiring process is an important aspect of every company’s growth and development. Your actions and interactions during the interview process represent the company’s values, so a positive hiring experience for job candidates is essential in maintaining your company’s image. However, an inevitably difficult part of the process is rejecting candidates along the way. At the end of the hiring process, you’ll likely have rejected far people than you’ve hired.

No one wants to be the bearer of bad news, whether the rejection was a difficult or easy decision to make. Properly executed job rejections are a fundamental aspect of the hiring process because both qualified and unqualified job candidates deserve a professional rejection. Listed below are five tips to consider when rejecting job candidates.

One of the golden rules of business is to never waste someone’s time. When candidates apply for a position, they’re obviously interested in your company and in need of a job. Some candidates might even be waiting to hear back from your company before they pursue other opportunities. Therefore, it’s imperative that you notify job candidates as soon as you’ve determined they are unfit for the position.

Similarly, communicate with job candidates throughout the process. The hiring process can be time-consuming and tedious. If you haven’t communicated with candidates for a few weeks, send them updates. For example, inform them of your interview stages and explain any delays.

There’s no need to sugar coat a rejection letter. If someone was unqualified, let them know. However, be respectful in your response and be aware of their feelings because no one enjoys rejection.

Being respectful includes thanking candidates for applying. Whether they had a poor interview or a strong interview, job candidates still intentionally spent their time meeting with you and researching your company, so let them know that you appreciate it.

Don’t send rejected candidates a long-winded apology, an excessive list of reasons for the decision or other unnecessary details. As mentioned above, be honest and respectful and then get to the point.

On the other hand, some companies send out very generic rejections that are obviously sent to the masses. It doesn’t take long to personalize the response with exactly why they weren’t selected for the position. For example, “We really enjoyed talking with you, but ultimately we have chosen a candidate with more experience.” Without giving too many details, this is a reasonable explanation that shows the candidate what they need to improve.

Companies should always be thinking of ways to improve and become more successful, including in their hiring processes. So, what better way to evaluate your hiring process than by asking someone who went through it?

When rejection is involved, there will probably be a few disgruntled candidates who will use feedback as an opportunity to express their frustration. However, these responses are easy to distinguish and should be taken lightly. Ultimately, asking for feedback allows candidates to express their thoughts and can pinpoint areas of improvement in your hiring process.

Successful companies often have multiple qualified candidates applying for one position. Because of this, companies often have to reject qualified candidates. Although nothing is guaranteed, you can encourage candidates to apply again in the future.

Due to the economic ramifications of the pandemic, most companies haven’t been able to hire new employees. As a result, many talented individuals have been rejected. Stay connected with qualified rejected candidates in case a future opportunity arises. For instance, offer to set up an informal, informational meeting so that they can learn more about the company. 

After facing rejection, job candidates will inevitably be disappointed and even angry. However, when the initial emotions settle, you want all candidates to walk away thinking highly of your company. To properly reject job candidates, you should let them know immediately, be respectful and honest, be brief, ask for feedback and keep their contact information. Remember, rejected candidates could be a future employee or customer, so it’s imperative that they’re treated well before, during and after the hiring process.