Due Diligence

There’s no denying that there is a lot more competition for jobs these days than there used to be. Sought-after jobs in high profile fields are likely to attract dozens of applicants, if not more. Which is great from the perspective of finding the best person for the job… but not great if you are only hiring one or two people.

Not burning bridges is just as important for employers as it is for employees, and we thought we would look at why it’s a good idea to soften the blow of a reaction, and how to go about it.

Why It’s Important to Get Rejections Right

The first (and possibly most important) reason to let prospective employees down easy is that there’s a growing trend for job seekers to sue potential employers if there is even a hint of discrimination in their hiring practices, and Australia is not immune.

Make sure that your hiring decisions are based on due diligence and merit, not discriminatory factors, and you should be fine.

Another good reason to let prospective candidates down gently and politely is that you never know where life may take either of you. In ten years’ time, it may be you sitting on the other side of the interview desk, and you can be sure that your treatment will be reflected back to you.

Finally, while the candidate you’re turning down might not be right for this position, they may well be right for another one. If they are, let them know. Valuable people are still valuable, even if they’re not right for this job.

How to: Rejection 101

It’s easy to see why you want to make your rejections as painless as possible for everyone involved, but there are a few things you will want to do to achieve that:

  • If you value the candidates who applied, and it’s a higher level position, you may want to send out personal emails or letters instead of form letters. Even a few custom words for the rejected candidate can go a long way to softening the blow.
  • Don’t make it too personal though. You want to maintain a professional relationship. After all, chances are you’ll still be working in the same industry!
  • Try to avoid pinpointing reasons for the rejection. You want to avoid any hint of discrimination, particularly in writing, and you also don’t want to give the impression that you’re open to negotiation.
  • If you are going to hold the candidate’s resume on file, tell them! If a candidate really wants to work for your company, they will appreciate being told that they are still under consideration, albeit not immediately.
  • Make sure to leave the door open for great candidates for future applications. You never know. Your current hire might not work out, and you do want to have a pool of great talent to draw from!

As a general rule of thumb, you should try to take as much care when turning down candidates as they did when they applied for the position. In the case of a mid to upper level position, that almost certainly means that a form letter won’t cut it, and no contact at all would definitely not be acceptable! Treat great candidates well, and you’ll avoid being sued as well as gain a reputation as a fair and desirable employer.

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