4 Ways to Reject Candidates Without Compromising the Candidate Experience

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Do you remember the last time you had an awful meal at a restaurant?

Perhaps the manager replaced your meal and offer free dessert on the house to make up for it. Even though you encountered a negative experience, you’ll most likely leave the restaurant not feeling so bad about it anyway. You might even consider going back.

But if nothing was done to fix the bad service, you might leave a few bad reviews on TripAdvisor, maybe even warn your friends. Which could ultimately tarnish the restaurant’s employer brand.
In the same way, the way you reject candidates can negatively impact your employer branding and candidate experience.

Rejection is part of life – and a big part of recruitment too. Unfortunately, you’ll have to turn down candidates and be the bearer of bad news as a recruiter.

But there’s a better way to do that.

Want to reject a candidate without burning bridges or comprising the candidate experience? We got you covered!

Choose the right tool

recruiter using a tool to improve the candidate experience

If you have to reject a candidate, coming up with a friendly email template is just half the battle. You need to find the right tool to make sending these emails a breeze. This works wonders for improving your candidate experience.

An ATS allows you to send rejection letters in time and in the most efficient way possible. Essentially speaking, an ATS like EVA-REC allows you to craft or edit existing email templates to your own liking. Prior to kick-starting any hiring process, you can customize your own bank of email templates and store them within the ATS to send them as updates or follow-ups to candidates.

So when you begin building your pipeline, and moving candidates between stages, you can customize various HR-related email templates that you want the candidates to automatically receive. One of which can be the rejection letter!

Here’s a great rejection template to follow:

Subject line: Your job application to [Company_Name]

Dear [Candidate_Name],

Thank you for your interest in the [Job_Title] position at [Company_Name]. We appreciate the time and effort you invested in your job application!

While your [skills, education, experience, accomplishments, qualifications] is/are impressive, we regret to inform you that we have chosen to move forward with a different candidate for this position.

[Feel free to give your feedback or mention something positive that specifically drew your attention to the candidate] We think you could be a good fit for other future openings and will reach out again if we find a good match.

We hope you’ll keep us in mind and apply again in the future.

We wish you all the best in your job search and future professional endeavors!

[Your name]

As a result, sending candidates automated and personalized email templates will simultaneously boost and improve the candidate experience.

Reject candidates as soon as possible

recruiter rejecting candidates as soon as possible

You spend endless hours crafting the perfect cover letter, filling in your application, and tweaking your resume. Only to hear nothing in return. Radio silence. How would you feel?

Well, ghosted. To say the least.

You don’t want to leave candidates who didn’t make the cut, lurking in the dark. Hearing crickets. Instead, show them that you value their time and be prompt in the way you communicate with them. That’s your simple ticket to improving the candidate experience.

Even if you come bearing bad news, candidates would rather hear it promptly from you. So avoid keeping rejected candidates in your pipeline for weeks – or even worse – months on end. Which is the start of a very negative candidate experience.

To avert that, show candidates that you value their time with swift and fast communication. If you’re not using an automated tool or ATS, give the rejected candidate a call or drop them an email as soon as you unqualified them for the vacancy. Book a weekly time slot or set up a couple of reminders on your phone to remind yourself to contact rejected candidates.

Boost the candidate experience and show rejected candidates you value their time with quick communication. Candidates want to hear from you promptly, even if you’re sharing bad news, so avoid waiting weeks to send rejection emails. As a rule of thumb, let candidates know you’re not moving forward with their candidacy as soon as you know. Book a weekly time slot to remind yourself to contact applicants who won’t advance in your hiring process.

As soon as you let candidates know that they didn’t land the job, it will show them that you at least valued the time and effort they spent on the application or hiring process. And don’t forget to personalize your rejection letter by:

  • Addressing the candidate by his or her name
  • Pointing out any skills that stood out to you during the interview process
  • Thank them for their time and effort
  • Give them a valid reason as to why they got rejected
  • Encourage them to apply to other future vacancies if more fit
  • Close with a friendly and warm statement

Now, if you have a couple of candidates who have gone through several stages of the hiring process, set aside a time to reach them by phone. Perhaps they’ve already established a good bond with you, so you wouldn’t want that break due to a negative candidate experience.

Be courteous and respectful

enhancing the candidate experience through an ATS

Rejecting candidates is one thing, but being courteous is another. While many recruiters are swamped with work, it shouldn’t be a reason that you rush through the words you use in the rejection letter.
Rather, reject candidates in a friendly way. Getting rejected already hurts, so might as well ditch the super professional and cold tone. Instead, use keywords and an amicable tone of voice that candidates can relate to.

At the end of the day, you want to make sure that the candidate can’t misconstrue your words and use them against you or the company. So refrain from using any discriminatory or controversial words. Or worse, compare the candidate to others. Take extra caution when giving the prospective candidate any criticism or advice – as it can easily escalate into a heated argument or lawsuit which negatively impacts the candidate experience.

Invite them to stay in touch

inviting candidates to stay in touch

Just because you rejected a candidate, doesn’t mean that they won’t be a good fit in the future. If you see that the rejected candidate has big potential but lacks the required skillsets, encourage them to develop and grow their expertise – and try again in the future.

This way, you might even find yourself recruiting the same rejected employee three years down the line. So make sure to keep communication lines open with this candidate and invite them to stay in touch. Maybe you can invite them to follow your social media channels or career page to keep an eye out for future vacancies that are most suitable for them.

When you show them that you want to continue the relationship with them, they’ll actually vouch for your company, or even tell their friends. Which is a wonderful way of boosting the candidate experience.
To maintain the relationship, be sure to make casual check-ins, invite them to an upcoming job fair, share industry needs, or connect with them via LinkedIn.

Over to you

The way you turn down candidates will play a big role in their candidate experience and the impression they’ll cultivate about your company. Rejected candidates are humans too, and they deserve to be directed on the right path to finally get the job offer that they’ve been dreaming of. So be that recruiter. Show rejected candidates respect, give them feedback, get back to them in real-time, suggest areas for improvement, and invite them to stay in touch. Treat rejected candidates no different than customers, and see how you will instantly enhance their candidate experience and your employer brand – even if it teams that they won’t be joining your team.

If you want to reject candidates without comprising the candidate experience, then we have the perfect tool for you!

EVA-REC is an award-winning ATS that helps small businesses to corporate giants build skillful workforces and hire top talent at scale. It makes it far easier for hiring teams to find, attract, and recruit top talent, each and every time. With world-class integrations and AI features, EVA-REC helps companies drive merit-based, objective, and fair hiring practices that minimize bias, without dehumanizing the hiring process.

Request a free demo of our next-generation ATS here!

Hire and retain top talent with ease ‏

Want to learn how an applicant tracking system can help you, source candidates faster, recruit top talent, and slash your hiring costs in half? Find out with EVA-REC, the award-winning and leading ATS.
Request demo ‏

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