“I’m Sorry, You Didn’t Get the Job” – How to Deliver Bad News to Job Candidates

So far, your day is going well.  You’ve reached out to your number-one candidate to offer them a job, and they’ve accepted the offer.  Now it’s time to tackle a tougher task: contacting your number-two and number-three candidates to say, “I’m sorry, but we’re going with someone else.”

How do you do this in a way that is honest and straightforward, yet still keeps the candidate interested in your company?  Here’s how:

Plan ahead.

Before you make the call, practice what you’re going to say.  Plan the key points you want to make.  For instance, when calling to “let down” a candidate whom you really want to see apply in the future, your list might read:

  • I’m sorry but we’ve chosen to go with another candidate.
  • It was very close; your skills are fantastic.
  • Would love to see you apply again in the future.

You may even want to make a bullet-point list of these two or three points and keep the list in front of you so you don’t get sidetracked while you’re on the phone.

Practice your pacing.

Blurting out “you didn’t get the job” doesn’t give the person any time to get prepared.  Making five minutes of small talk wastes your time and theirs.  Instead, introduce yourself, and then introduce the bad news with words like “Unfortunately” or “I’m sorry, but…”

After you deliver the news, add something positive.  Make a positive comment about the candidate’s performance in the interview.  Encourage them to apply again, but only if you genuinely want to consider them for a position in the future.

Work with a recruiter.

Many employers understand their recruiter can help them find good candidates.  But did you know recruiters also help employers extend job offers to candidates they want to hire – and offer thoughtful, constructive rejections to those they do not?  Your staffing partner can help candidates understand why they didn’t make the cut and think well of your company, even if you didn’t hire them.

At THE RIGHT STAFF, LLC, our experienced recruiters work to find the best candidates throughout Minnesota and to help our clients create a strong, efficient, and effective recruiting and retention process.  Contact us today to learn more about our recruitment services in Minnesota.

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