Recruiting new staff recently can be a daunting task. Even if you know exactly what you’re looking for and have a great track record for assessing and selecting them.

Recruitment consists of multiple important steps with the end goal being to find and hire the best person for the job who will fit your culture. At each point, you’re collecting insights which help you progress the best candidates to the next stage and identify those who aren’t suitable. Usually, hiring managers do a good job communicating with successful candidates. But what about those who aren’t successful?

If you’re fortunate enough to have a superstar recruiter managing every hire, you might be comfortable that all your applicants are being handled appropriately. These days however, resources are scarce and it’s often the supervisor managing the recruitment process.

In a crowded marketplace where the competition for talent is fierce and businesses struggle to hire fast enough to meet demand, it’s understandable that hiring managers are focussed on the successful candidates. It’s also easier and more rewarding to be making the phone call to offer someone the job. However, actively communicating with people who aren’t right for your vacancy is just as critical if you want to keep attracting great talent in the future.

We’ve all had a bad recruitment experience.

Whether it was the 3 week delay between interview and the ‘unsuccessful call’, vague rejection feedback or failing to get back to you at all. These situations are completely unnecessary and more importantly, they tarnish the reputation of the business by disrespecting people who’ve taken the time to apply.

So how do you tell someone they didn’t get the job without it being unpleasant? The simplest answer is to treat each and every applicant, successful or not, as if they were your customer. Using this approach you can focus on delivering what they want i.e. prompt, respectful and relevant information about their enquiry.

Once you’ve assessed a candidate as not being suitable, let them know! People don’t appreciate being kept waiting. If you’ve not interviewed them, it’s fine to send an email thanking them for their interest and explain that they don’t yet have the necessary skills or experience. While they may be disappointed in the outcome, it’s a better experience than waiting and hoping. If you’ve interviewed them, either in person or on the phone, you need to call them and provide relevant feedback as to why they weren’t successful.

You might not like giving feedback that you see as being negative, but this phone call is not about you.

It’s about making sure the people who’ve taken the time to apply to work with you feel that they’ve been treated fairly and that their time hasn’t been wasted. Use this as an opportunity to provide respectful, thoughtful feedback which they can use to improve in the future.

By using common courtesy and a customer focused approach, you can mitigate risk of damage to your business’ reputation or brand. It’s also a great way to show that you’re a professional business and an opportunity to demonstrate the fantastic culture of your workplace, because you never know if the next person they talk to about their experience could be your next new hire!

It’s important to review your recruitment and selection strategy regularly to ensure that each step is aligned to the needs of your business. If you’re not loving your recruitment process, get in touch with the experienced team at Davis Bibby & Co to see how you can get the best talent in the market and keep your reputation intact.

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