Have a candidate with a great background, just not for the particular role you’re looking to fill? You’ll want to maintain a relationship going forward in case a better-fit opportunity opens up. But right now, you still have to reject them. How do you do that without burning bridges? Here are 3 tips to help you:
Let them know immediately.
For a job candidate, there’s nothing worse than having to wait around for an answer. So as soon as you know they’re not the top choice, inform them. While you might be hesitant to have this awkward conversation, they’ll appreciate your rapid response. It will also open up the gateway for you to assess their interest in potential future opportunities. At the same time, it will give them the freedom they need to move onto other possibilities without having to wait and wonder about yours.
Talk to them over the phone.
It’s certainly easier to shoot out a quick boilerplate email when you’re rejecting a candidate. However, this isn’t the best approach to take if you want to maintain a relationship with them. Instead, pick up the phone and give them a call. When you do, get to the point quickly about their standing for the job. However, also let them know that you’d like to keep them in mind for future opportunities.
If you do email them, personalize it.
Don’t simply send out a generic email that you submit to all second choice candidates. Instead, take the time to write an email that’s more personalized to this particular candidate and their situation. Also, send out a LinkedIn invitation request so you can stay connected with them and touch base when a new, better-fit opportunity arises.
However you approach the situation, do so with compassion. Remember, your employer reputation is at stake. When you regularly treat candidates poorly and don’t communicate with them, not only will they remember, but they’ll tell other people too.
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