Proper Etiquette for Telling Candidates They Didn’t Get the Job


As a leading Kansas City staffing agency, Morgan Hunter knows one of the most dreaded tasks for a hiring manager is letting a job candidate know they didn’t get the job. After all, who wants to deliver bad news? So, many times, managers say nothing at all, leaving candidates in the dark.

But put yourself in the shoes of the job seeker. The worst part of the job search isn’t getting bad news – it’s getting no news at all. At least when they know they didn’t get the job, they can move on. However, when they hear nothing, they will be left to wonder, growing frustrated in the process.

In addition, informing candidates that they didn’t get the job is in your best interest. If a candidate is treated badly or left out in the cold, you can be sure that they will tell their friends about the experience they had with your company – negatively impacting your employment brand in the process.

Next time you need to tell a candidate they didn’t get the job, here are a few tips to consider:

Be honest.

Notify the candidate as soon as you know they are out of the running. If you’re dealing with dozens of candidates, then an email will do. However, if this is a candidate you’ve interviewed, then you should reach out to them with a phone call and let them know they didn’t get the job.

Provide feedback.

Rather than the standard “we decided to go in a different direction,” let the candidate know why they didn’t get the job. For instance, perhaps another candidate simply had more experience or a stronger skill set. By offering feedback in a polite way, you’re not only helping the candidate improve, you’re also garnering respect from them.

End on a positive note.

Thank the candidate for their interest in the job and wish them luck in their search for the right opportunity.

Letting candidates know they didn’t get the job should be a standard part of your recruitment process. That way, when you do have to hire and eventually reject some of the candidates, there’s a set of steps already outlined that you can follow. While letting candidates down is never a fun job, having a process in place certainly makes it easier.

And if you need help finding candidates that are a great fit for you, give Morgan Hunter a call. As a leading Kansas City staffing agency, we’ve helped companies throughout the area secure their most valuable asset – quality employees. And we can help you too!



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