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Dealing with Rejected Candidates: Maintain a Positive Relationship

December 19th, 2014

It’s never easy to deliver bad news to a rejected candidate, especially one who holds impressive credentials and fine personality traits, and may have patiently maintained interest and respect through several rounds of interviews. Whether you recognize it or not, your candidates (all of them) are essential brand contacts, and their feelings about your workplace and about your product can have a wide circle of impact. When you treat customers well, your company benefits. But when you treat candidates well, your company benefits even more. And the reverse is also true. Before you say goodbye to second and third place contenders, keep these tips in mind.

Actually do it.

This is a no-brainer, but a surprising number of companies skip this easy step and suffer as a result. If a candidate goes through the trouble of attending a single interview—even a screening interview by phone—he or she deserves a clear and upfront yes or no response from the company. Never let the line simply go silent after the selection process has gone this far.

Express regret.

You don’t have to explain why you chose another candidate, and in fact, the less information you offer the better protected you’ll be from backlash and lawsuits. But accept the fact that eager, dedicated, smart and qualified candidates are probably going to feel disappointed by your decision. Their feelings may not be your problem, but if you respect these feelings, show some humanity, and try to keep the exchange polite and sympathetic, you’ll be leaving a positive impression that can last for a lifetime.

Keep the conversation short.

If you deliver the news by phone, make it clear that you can’t discuss the particulars of the decision. Simply deliver the message and say goodbye. Encourage the candidate to apply again if this suits the situation. Even better, share your decision in writing. Keep the message limited to a few lines of text.

Thank the candidate.

By the final stage of the selection process, your candidates have made some heavy investments, both in terms of time and money. Thank them for their sacrifices and show some sincere appreciation for their interest in your company. Your parting words should be warm, not cold, and grateful, not dismissive.

Try to convey the sense that your decision was measured and fair, and that even though you ultimately chose another direction, you appreciate the candidate’s time and interest and wish her well. For more on how to deliver this message properly, reach out to the staffing experts at Merritt.

The Cost of a Hiring Mistake

November 28th, 2014

Too many hiring managers make the same common and often expensive mistake: They confuse a low- responsibility position with a low stakes hiring decision. For example, they invest in careful reviews, extensive vetting, cold sweats and lost sleep while looking for a mid-level manager with eight direct reports. But they don’t put the same effort into an entry level role or a stock room position. Then they make an avoidable hiring mistake and need to start the process over…at a cost that may equal or exceed the annual salary for the position. Before you follow in the footsteps of these unfortunate managers, keep a few considerations in mind

Create a budget.

How much will your hiring process actually cost? If you don’t know, it’s time to find an answer. Include both hard numbers and intangible estimates in your equation. For example, factor in the cost of your hiring manager’s time and the cost of your contract with a staffing company, but make sure you also include the amount you stand to lose each day as long as the position remains empty

Listen, don’t just talk.

Don’t assume that you hold all the cards during the selection process, and don’t patronize your candidates or assume they’ll be eager to jump through hoops to please you. Instead, focus on what you have to offer, not just what you want. Make sure your candidate can tolerate the commute, make sure you can provide what she’s looking for in terms of advancement, and encourage her to talk about her long term plans so you can see how well your own plans measure up. If you don’t listen, and you candidate leaves the company five months after her start date for predictable reasons, you’ll have nobody to blame but yourself.

Focus on cultural adaptability.

You understand the ins and outs of your own workplace culture (or at least you should). But your candidate can’t be expected to speak about this. She has no experience with this workplace and has no way to assess the likelihood of a match, so you’ll need to take full responsibility for this task. Don’t ask your candidate “Will you fit in here?” Instead, ask her about her preferred work style, her personality, her approach to leadership, and her cultural expectations. Then make your own decision about how well she’ll get along with your current teams. If she isn’t happy, you won’t be happy.

For more on how to find a candidate that can maximize your returns on an expensive hiring investment, contact the experienced staffing professionals at Merritt.

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