Extending an offer to a candidate is an important part of hiring - you get to help your company expand. But what about the process of rejection?
As recruiters, we have another opportunity to influence company growth when we tell candidates “no.”
If your rejection process makes a good impression, it's more likely that candidates and their network will stay connected with your brand—both as future job applicants and, depending on your business, even customers.
How a Rejected Candidate Can Be an Ally
Even after being rejected for a role, a candidate can still impact your company.
A candidate could reapply for a future opening. The person that you rejected today might become your greatest hire after a few months or years of building their skills. Through the course of my career, I've hired a couple dozen people who I previously rejected for a role. They all applied again for another opening and proved to be a great fit for that position...no magic here, just good common sense recruiting!
A candidate will talk about your brand with their network. The candidate is going to tell their friends and family about their candidate experience - word of mouth matters! It's also likely they'll visit an employer review site, such as Glassdoor, or a social media platform—Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn—to share their thoughts about their experience.
A candidate can be a customer. Virgin Media found that 18% of their rejected job candidates were also customers—and that poor candidate experiences caused 7,416 of these candidates to churn, costing the company approximately $6 million in lost revenue. Think about that...millions of dollars of lost revenue because of candidate experience!!
Great recruiters understand the long-term impact candidates have on their company, and they handle rejections thoughtfully.
They deliver the bad news politely and with respect. They offer feedback and resources to help the rejected candidate improve their skill set and job search. They put themselves in the candidate’s shoes to help turn the rejection into an opportunity for learning and growth.
If you treat rejection with this level of consideration and humanity, you'll turn candidates into brand allies. Candidates will reach out if they see another job opening, refer their friends to your company, and feel good about engaging with your brand as a consumer.