Nobody likes to be the sender of bad news, particularly during hard times. These days, with a greater number of candidates vying for fewer openings in your company, you may find yourself having to say “No” more often. Applying a bit of common sense and legal expertise can help reduce your discomfort and the rejected applicants’ stress, and leave a mostly positive impression of your company with those you reject.
To end the interview process on a positive note, send the candidate a rejection letter! Believe it or not, this matters a great deal to job seekers. Here are some do and don’ts for writing constructive candidate rejection letters that will create good will with job seekers and position your company as an employer of choice:
- DO: Send out the rejection letter promptly, but not too quickly. Applicants want and need to know your decision so they can move on; however, if they receive a rejection letter too quickly, they may feel they were not given proper consideration.
- DO: Use formal company letterhead for a rejection letter. Type it, never handwrite it. You need to convey a high level of professionalism.
- DO: Address your candidate by name. Customize the letter further by mentioning the position for which he applied, then make a supportive comment about the applicant’s qualifications, experience or enthusiasm. Although a rejection letter is basically a form letter, your candidate shouldn’t feel as though it is.
- DON’T: Be specific about why someone else was hired. And definitely do not say anything about the specific person who was hired.
- DO: Be direct, but gracious. Get to the point quickly, but politely. Make it clear that their credentials, though impressive, fell short of your needs.
- DO: Encourage further action, when appropriate. If the candidate is a good culture fit, and may be qualified for other openings with your company, say so. Encourage him to apply again if a similar opening becomes available.
- DON’T: Promise to keep the rejected applicants’ resume on file. Some applicants may turn that against you in the future, e.g., if you do not contact them for the next opening at your company.
- DO: End on a positive note. Thank the candidate for applying and interviewing. Wish him good luck in his job search and career development. This may be the final impression this individual has of your company, so make sure it’s favorable.
- DO: Close the letter formally. Use “Sincerely,” or “Best wishes,” as your closing, and be sure to sign your name.
- DON’T: Send it via e-mail. Snail mail is still the most appropriate format for a rejection letter.
Your reputation – one that is built one candidate at a time – is critical to your ongoing ability to attract the best and most skilled talent to your firm. How you treat candidates who apply for your jobs really does matter. Sending a professional but personalized rejection letter to the applicants who were not selected for a job is an extra, but positive, step that your company can take to build good will with your local job force and establish yourself as an employer of choice.
At Springborn Staffing, we know the power of a good reputation. If you would like to put our 23 years of experience to work for you contact us today.