Unsuccessful Feedback – Letting Them Down Easy

 In AU News, Business, Employer Branding, News

Delivering bad news is rarely something that Recruiters and Hiring Managers enjoy doing. However, when it comes to maintaining your Employer Brand and reputation, delivering unsuccessful feedback to a candidate is one of the most important parts of the recruitment process. 

Every interaction that a member of the public has with your employer brand, including their experience in a recruitment process, helps to form their impression of your organisation. One thing we can be sure of is that people talk; and you want them to be talking positively about you. For those who have a poor experience, there can be dangerous consequences.

Studies show that:

  • 78% of candidates who have had a bad application experience will relay that to their friends, family and network.
  • Over 80% of the reasons supplied from those candidates for their poor negative experiences were based on poor communication from the recruiting organisation. 

Setting up best practice, time effective procedures and tools to deliver feedback, and making certain that all candidates exit a recruitment process with a sense of finalisation, are key in ensuring a positive brand interaction. If candidates were both unsuitable for your role and for your organisation as a whole – perhaps they weren’t the right “cultural fit” – they are less likely to bad mouth the organisation if they feel they were assessed fairly and notified appropriately. Likewise, candidates who may have been a good organisational fit but were not suitable for that one role in particular are more likely to continue interacting with your brand and applying for roles that may be more aligned with their skills and experience in the future.

Please see below our recommendations for delivering unsuccessful feedback:

  • Be Timely  Leaving aside extraneous circumstances, move forward with unsuccessful feedback as soon as your final decision has been made. There is no need to leave candidates hanging through your recruitment process when you know you will not proceed with them. The importance of timeliness in giving feedback is even more critical for candidates who make it through to the final interview stage. Candidates who have attended face to face interviews should be notified of the results within 3-5 days of their interviews.
  • Match Their Engagement – Consider the time candidates have taken to apply for your role and go through a recruitment process with your organisation. An application you have considered unsuitable based on a first screen of the resume can be addressed in the format of a polite email, but an applicant who you have progressed through to a face-to-face interview should benefit from the personal touch of a phone call.
  • Rip Off the Band-Aid –  This will save both your time and that of the candidates. Make the nature of your decision apparent at the very start of the communication, whether it is over the phone or email, and don’t beat around the bush.
  • Don’t Apologise – There is no need to apologise for choosing not to recruit that person in to your organisation. Saying sorry opens a window for the candidate to question your decision and will only make the call more difficult.
  • Be Constructive – Constructive feedback is a valuable tool in providing a high level of candidate care – so make sure the feedback you give can be used by the candidate to improve their future job prospects. Explaining that the organisation had a higher preference for certain industry experience or higher qualifications is feedback that a candidate can action and remedy for future applications.

By following these guidelines and building a conscientious and professional procedure for exiting candidates from your recruitment process, you can ensure that even a “rejection” works in your favour and positively influences candidate perceptions of your organisation.

For more information on candidate care, watch our webinar Candidate Care & Your Employer Brand, or download the slides for further reading.


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