How To Tell A Candidate They Were Not Selected For A Role

As a recruiter, you will always have to reject more candidates than you hire. Even though they didn't make the cut this time around, it's not to say that they won't be suitable in future. Providing feedback after an interview is also good for brand perception in general.

How To Tell A Candidate They Were Not Selected For A Role

As a recruiter, you will always have to reject more candidates than you hire. In this article, we will give you a few tips on how to tell a candidate they were not selected for a position at your organisation.

According to a survey conducted by LinkedIn, 94% of candidates would like to receive feedback after an interview, but only 41% have received it previously. Even though they didn't make the cut this time around, it's not to say that they won't be suitable in future. Providing feedback after an interview is also good for brand perception in general.

Whether you want to be able to contact a person again in future will ultimately determine the lengths you go to now to ensure you part on good terms.

5 Tips On How To Tell A Candidate They Were Not Selected For A Role

1. Update Their Status On The Job Portal

If you are using AI-driven software such as &Team to screen candidates, a job portal exists where you can simply update the application status of the candidate.

After conducting interviews, there may be several candidates who you can eliminate from the runnings right away. A convenient way to close the application is to update the status to ‘unsuccessful’ on the job portal, as this will notify them of the change and close the chapter.

Update Job Portal

2. Make A Phone Call

Each job vacancy gets, on average, 250 resumes. But only 4 to 6 candidates make it to an interview, and only one candidate gets the job. If your organisation fits into these criteria, you will have to reject on average 3 to 5 candidates per job vacancy.

As mentioned, although these candidates weren’t successful in landing the position this time around, it’s not to say they won’t be suitable in future. These are resumes you can use to build your talent pipeline to access again when the time is right.

Although it’s never easy to hear that they did not receive the job, most people appreciate someone taking the time to personally fill them in on the outcome, especially if there were several rounds of interviews and the final call was close.

Here are some tips you could use on how to tell a candidate they were not selected via a phone call:

  • Keep your tone friendly and warm
  • Express thanks to the candidate for their time and effort
  • Inform them that you have selected someone else for the position, but that you appreciate their interest in your organisation and encourage them to apply again in the future should any posts arise that match their skills and interests.
  • If possible, try to tell the candidate why they were not selected. People will usually welcome constructive feedback. For some candidates, this may have been their first interview and the feedback can help them for future interviews.

A phone call offers a personal touch to the message and this can help to improve your employer brand. A simple phone call will improve their experience with your organisation and it is less likely that they will give your organisation bad reviews on job portals.

How To Reject Candidates

3. Send An Email

An email offers a fast approach to informing the candidate that they were not selected. For the applicants who you invested less time in during the interview process, or if you conducted several interviews and do not have the time or resources to make individual phone calls, this can be a suitable method to let them know.

Bear in mind that if you are copy-pasting text to update applicants, this can come across as impersonal. Prevent this from happening by adding a bit of constructive feedback for the person without coming across as too critical.

4. Be Concise

Being concise is a crucial aspect of how to tell a candidate they were not selected. Convey the message to them in one or two brief sentences. For example, you can say ‘Dear candidate, we thank you for your time and interest in our organisation, but we have decided not to move forward with your application’.

According to SHRM, this type of neutral and non-specific response is a popular option as it does not open itself up to arguments from the candidates and it prevents you from being a career advisor to them.

Legal professionals also prefer this approach as it eliminates the risks of making unintentional and unlawful discriminatory statements. Besides, if the candidate does not take the rejection well and becomes angry, all you have to do is resend the email and put an end to the conversation.

Hiring Team Feedback

5. Choose Not To Send A Response

Some organisations who interview many candidates for one position can sometimes not communicate at all with those who are unsuccessful. However, not sending any kind of response can come off as rude.

Only use this approach if the candidate was definitely unsuitable for the position, either because they misrepresented themselves, were late for the interview or unprofessional in some way. In any case, you would not want to work with such candidates, even in the future.

Final Thoughts

Rejection is never fun, but unfortunately, it is an on-going aspect of the recruitment process. The tips given in this article will guide you on how to tell a candidate they were not selected for a position. The amount of feedback you give and how you contact them will generally depend on whether you wish to engage with the person again at a later stage.