Why Interview Rejection Letters are so Important

February 23, 2023

Introduction

One of the less fun aspects of the interview process for the employer is the decision not to hire someone. Many will either detach themselves from the situation by compartmentalizing and not allowing themselves to feel anything for that applicant or they’ll have a really hard time with the idea of crushing someone’s dreams. Some may even avoid the situation altogether by opting not to send an interview rejection letter and moving on with the hiring process for the selected candidate.

However, there are many reasons this is NOT the way to go. So, why are interview rejection letters so important? Read what these industry influencers had to say about the importance of rejection letters.

Stay True to Your Word

There is almost nothing worse than being known as a brand that lies or misleads others. During an application process and interviews, you’ll probably let your applicants know that they’ll hear back from you during a certain timeframe. Make sure you stick to this idea and send those rejection letters on time.

“If you’re mailing a rejection letter, make sure you still meet the date that you’ve promised that they’ll hear back,” says Phillip Akhzar, CEO of Arka. “Rejection letters can take the form of an email, physical letter, or a phone call. Regardless of what method you’re using, you need to make sure you stick to your own timeline and have that response to them by that date – no later.”

Allow the Applicant to Move On

If you remember your last job application experience, you’ll probably remember that it was a very stressful and anticipatory time in your life. Remember what it’s like to be on the other side of this situation and make sure your applicants know when they can move on to the next possibility.

“Not informing an applicant that you’ve decided to go with another candidate or wait for someone more qualified can be an awkward conversation, but it saves the applicant a lot of stress,” says Rio Wolff, Chief Operations Officer of Big Heart Toys. “That waiting period, whether it’s a few days or a couple of weeks, can be extremely difficult for someone who really needs a job. Make sure your company is not the reason they haven’t continued pursuing other jobs when you’ve already made a decision to go in a different direction. Break the news quickly and professionally once the decision has been made.”

Maintain Your Reputation

You probably already know that it’s critical to provide great experiences for your consumers and staff so your brand maintains a good reputation – but have you considered the effects of neglecting your applicants? While they’re neither a consumer or a staff member in the process, they can be a major asset in building a good reputation. One misstep and you may spend years and years recovering that reputation that you once had.

“If you are able to maintain a good reputation as a great place to work and a good brand to support, that’s amazing,” says Ray Leon, CEO of Pet Insurance Review. “However, in today’s society, it’s important to show respect and maintain your reputation in all areas of business – including the hiring process. Make sure your brand builds a reputation as being communicative and providing a positive experience to all applicants by sending rejection letters or making those phone calls in a timely manner.”

Communicate Professionalism

Hiring new employees can become extremely difficult if your brand gains a bad reputation for being unprofessional. As we mentioned in the previous point, a reputation is very hard to recover once lost. People can post things online on websites that review companies and their business practices which can severely affect the type of people you attract in the future.

“Professional people want to work for professional organizations,” says Lina Miranda, VP of Marketing at AdQuick. “As one of the top skill sets, professionalism is not something to display as an irrelevant value to your brand through your hiring practices. Not providing any sort of feedback to the candidates that you don’t select will come across as extremely unprofessional and those reviews or rumors spread by word of mouth are going to scare away a lot of great talent that won’t want to apply anymore.”

Don’t Burn Bridges

While you may have selected a different applicant for this position at the moment, that doesn’t mean that the other applicants may never want to apply to your brand again if they have a positive experience – even if they’re not selected for this position.

“If a person has applied for your company, it means they like it enough to want to devote a majority of their waking hours to working toward the goals of your organization,” says Rym Selmi, Founder of MiiRO. “This goes even for some of the super unqualified candidates that you might see. Maybe they don’t match what you’re looking for at the moment (like, at all). They may love your brand so they’re just trying to get a foot in the door anywhere they can. Don’t chase them away and make them not want to apply for any future positions that might be a better fit for them by creating a negative experience in their application process.”

Lets Candidates Know They’re Valued

Job applicants should be thought of as some of your best assets – as mentioned in the last section, they’re people that support your brand enough to devote their workweek to your cause. Let them know you see that and you value their time that they’ve given you during the application process.

“Don’t forget to thank your applicants for applying and show them respect by sending those rejection letters or calls,” says Michael Fischer, Founder of Elite HRT. “Interviews often happen during the workday, which means they likely had to request off, travel, find childcare, or rearrange their schedule to prioritize speaking with you for a chance at that job. Let them know you see them and value their effort by creating a professional process for rejections that communicates these things.”

Conclusion

Rejecting someone for a job isn’t a fun experience for any of the parties involved. Don’t forget to put yourself in that applicant’s shoes and show a bit of empathy as you approach the rejection letter phase of the applicant selection process.

 

A big reason you want to make sure you’re writing and sending some form of a rejection letter or call is to maintain your reputation as an honest and professional organization who stays true to your word. Recovering a reputation is extremely difficult, so make sure even your rejected applicants feel valued and important. This allows them to move on and find other opportunities without burning that bridge. Who knows? They may be a perfect applicant for a future position.


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