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Notifying a unsuccessful job applicant

by in Employment Law, Interviews

Unsuccessful job applicantYou may have heard about the recent job applicant to a restaurant chain who claims to have been rejected by text, complete with laughing emoji.

Texts can be a great form of communication in some circumstances but certainly not for issues such as job rejection as it is both unprofessional and disrespectful to the applicant.

Most of us don’t like to impart bad news (it’s a much nicer job to contact the successful candidate) so here are our top tips for notifying a unsuccessful job applicant:

(1) Always respond

Even if an applicant is not selected for an interview it is polite and respectful to let them know this. If you don’t feel like bothering because, for example, you have too many applications or believe that the applicant should draw their own conclusions from a lack of response you need to rethink your own recruitment process.

(2) In writing

Most applications require the applicant to submit an application in writing and therefore it is a common courtesy to respond the same way. We would favour a letter.

However, if you have actually met the candidate at interview then you should consider telephoning first and then following up your call in writing.

(3) As soon as you can

There is no point in prolonging the agony – as soon as a decision has been made let the unsuccessful candidates know.

If the decision has not yet been made and more than a week has passed since the application deadline, let the candidate know:

  • that the process is still ongoing and
  • when you anticipate that a decision will be made

(3) Be positive and respectful

Unlike the use of a text and emoji, you should keep your response polite and positive.

Always remember to thank applicant who has taken time to:

  • shown an interest in the practice and
  • apply for a role

(4) Feedback

You do not have to outline the reasons why the applicant did not get the role and a more general response is usually more appropriate. You can, for example, as circumstances fit, let the applicant know:

  • how good it was to meet them
  • that the overall standard of applicants was high
  • that you have selected someone who you feel is more suitable at this time

You may wish to consider inviting the applicant to contact you if they require feedback.

(5) On file?

Do, however, be wary of giving a candidate false hope. If you genuinely do wish to retain their applicant/CV say so, but if not, remain silent on this.

Finally, remember that the unsuccessful applicant will make a judgment about your practice based on how they have been treated.

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Practice Index

Practice Index

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