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The Ins And Outs Of Polite Job Application Rejections

When most entrepreneurs think about hiring new employees, they usually only concern themselves with the people who are successful in the whole recruitment process. However, it is also worth thinking about those who aren’t invited for an interview or those who miss out on a job at the final hurdle. After all, there are usually upwards of a hundred applicants per open position these days, and only a small handful of those are invited to the interview stage. And of course, only one of the interviewees can be given the job at the end of it all.

So, as you can see, rejection is very much part of the recruitment process and something that you need to be planning for. How do you currently let down your unsuccessful job applicants? Hopefully, in a very professional way. Here are a few pointers that will explain the ins and outs of polite job application rejections.

Manage Applicants’ Expectations

First of all, it’s necessary to manage all of the applicants’ expectations. The very first time you contact or meet an applicant, it is necessary for you to explain the whole recruitment stage. For instance, you might need them to understand that there are a couple of rounds of interviews that they may need to go through. This gives them an idea of how many stages at which they could be rejected. You should also let them know how they should expect to be rejected, whether that is by email, in the mail, or with a phone call.

Always Be Polite

No matter how you are going to reject an applicant, you should always do it politely. Don’t be too harsh with them as it could be quite hurtful for them on top of having to deal with the rejection. Make sure you come across as quite friendly and respectable in your rejection letters or a job rejection email, and then an applicant won’t be put off from applying to another job with you in the future.

Time It Well

There is also a right time and a wrong time to reject an applicant. For example, you shouldn’t make them wait too long to hear back from you. If they are applying for lots of other jobs, they will need to know whether they have been successful so that they can stop proceeding with other applications. Similarly, if they are not lucky enough to get your job, they will need to hear quite promptly so that they know to carry on applying to other jobs. Ideally, you should let an applicant know as soon as you have made a decision, whether it is a good or a bad one.

Keep Applicants Updated On Their Application Status

If there are various stages in the application process, you should keep your applicants updated with how everything is going. As well as this, you should also advise them if you are considering other applicants. This will be an important point once you start to narrow down all of the applications and start to seriously consider a handful. Generally speaking, it’s best to let these applicants know that they are in the final stages of consideration but that they have not definitely got the job yet. This means that the applicant isn’t being left in the dark by the whole process and that they have a good idea of how things are progressing with their application.

Give Them Some Feedback

If you do end up rejecting an applicant, you should offer them some feedback. Perhaps tell them a few points that you were impressed with during their application stages. For example, you might have thought that they spoke really well and were full of confidence in their interviews. It’s also worth giving them a few points that they could improve on. This should help them improve their applications in the future, and it could even give them a bit of an edge so that they can bag their ideal job in the near future.

Consider Other Positions

Just because an applicant isn’t right for the current position you are hiring for, it doesn’t mean that they are a bad fit for your company. You might know of another open position that you will be hiring for soon that they could be perfect for. If this is the case, then it is worth advising them about this and suggesting that they apply for that once the whole recruitment process opens. This shows them that you really respect their experience and qualifications, and it will also make them feel less bad about the recent application as it gives them hope for a future position with your company.

Never Leave Anyone Hanging

No matter what happens in your whole recruitment process, you should never leave an applicant hanging. If you decide that they aren’t a good fit for the position you are hiring for, then you need to let them know. It’s only polite, and it prevents them from building up a false sense of hope. There are now many companies that never get back to unsuccessful applicants, and it always ruins their reputations. If people know that the business in question doesn’t treat its applicants well, then hardly anyone will want to risk applying for any of its jobs.

Ask For Feedback For Yourself

It’s worth asking each candidate for feedback on your own recruitment process. They’ll be able to tell you the things that they liked about the process and the things that they thought were inconvenient. For instance, perhaps an applicant thinks that you dragged out the process with one interview too many. Knowing what they thought about going through the application process will give you the chance to improve it for future hiring. Ideally, you need to make sure that the whole process is well streamlined for your company so that it doesn’t cost you too much, and that it is also convenient for the applicants involved.

Now you can be more professional when rejecting a job applicant.

About the author, Mark

Mark Asquith is a serial entrepreneur who has built globally successful design, marketing, software and digital businesses since he quit his real job in 2005.

A passionate podcaster, global keynote speaker and helpful bloke, Mark is the co-founder of Podcast Websites and the creator of Excellence Expected. He has a terribly embarrassing beard.

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