How to Reject a Candidate after the Interview

When choosing to reject a candidate after the interview, it is important-for more reasons than one- to communicate your hiring decision to the him/her.

You’ve spent your time interviewing many candidates—and you’ve finally selected one. What happens to the rest of the candidates?


Recruiters often tend to overlook all those other candidates who took the time to apply and interview for their company. Once you have decided to hire a candidate, it becomes necessary to get in touch with the others who have not been selected. While it may be easier to say nothing at all, it is quite important to communicate your decision to these candidates.


Related: Are you hiring the best people available?


The candidates you are rejecting now could–at a later point– make for prospective employees. If the applicant has been keen and diligent enough to appear for the interview (especially if s/he has been a pre-screened candidate), it is crucial to convey that you’re not selecting him/her for the job.


Here are some pointers on how to reject a candidate after the interview.


1. Explain to them the selection process beforehand: It is a good idea to brief the candidates about the selection process (before or during the interview) and to let them know when they should expect to hear from you. This will ensure that the candidates aren’t kept waiting and they won’t have to call you every so often to check the status of their application.


Related: The 5 Recruitment Mistakes You’re Probably Making


2. Make sure to get in touch: As soon as you have made your hiring decision and informed the selected candidate, make sure to let the others know that they have not been selected. A phone call or an email is the least you owe the candidate.


3. Refrain from providing detailed feedback: It is best not to get into the details of what didn’t work for the candidate or why he/she was not selected. Instead, thank them for their time and express an interest in staying in touch (if they seemed worthwhile for follow-ups).


4. End the interaction on a good note: You never know when or in what capacity you might run into this candidate again. It is best to keep things cordial and pleasant.


5. Keep the door open for future follow-up: It is likely that some of these candidates that you have not selected now will make good prospective candidates. Make sure to thank them and stay in touch with them to nurture any possibilities of working together in the future.


Related: How Companies Can Attract and Retain Top Talent


When it comes to the processes of selecting and rejecting candidates, it is always better to inform them of your decision.


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