Treat Your Candidate Like a Boss

Have you ever applied for a job and never heard anything back except maybe an acknowledgement of your application? It seems that many companies now only inform applicants who have got through to the interview stage leaving everyone else wallowing in a horrible place of only knowing that they have probably been unsuccessful. And I say ‘probably’ because if you don’t hear anything you have to assume you’ve not been selected. There’s always the thought that maybe the invite to interview got lost in cyberspace and you now missed your opportunity or perhaps an over-worked and harassed HR assistant mislaid your application or forgot to press send on the email to tell you of your success at the first stage.

Treat Your Candidate Like a Boss

The horrible feelings of self doubt when the application closing date passes and still nothing arrives in your inbox. The agonising moments as you scrutinise the job advert for the millionth time looking for some sort of coded message other than the harsh reality of “due to the volume of applications, we are unable to respond further to unsuccessful candidates”.

Handling rejection with ease

There is a better way, especially in this wonderful time of electronic mail where a response costs nothing and, whilst still a bitter disappointment, puts an unsuccessful applicant out of their misery. Yes I understand it may involve someone typing in names and addresses to a computer system but there is no excuse for rudeness, which is exactly what it is to leave someone dangling, allowing them to come to their own horrible time bound realisation that they aren’t even good enough to get a ‘thanks, but no thanks’ response. I recently watched a friend go through this painful experience having applied for a post with a sizeable company which should know better and it’s left him angry, bitter and upset.

The same should be said for any part of the recruitment process.

Your applicant is a potential customer

I know that when you reject an applicant you are rejecting a potential customer and therefore you need to allow them to go with their pride intact. You need to make them realise that this role wasn’t quite right for them, but they are still a great person and you know they will be successful somewhere else. Treat them as anything less and you might as well add that they aren’t good enough to be your customer too. If they come away feeling they have had a bad experience you can be sure they won’t want to give you their money and will probably tell others about it too. Also, just because they aren’t right for this role, who knows what they may end up doing in the future. How many of us have seen people we’ve rejected go on to become something different and successful.

So the next time you are recruiting, think about the person in front of you as a potential client or even a future boss. Treat them with respect and deal with them professionally.

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Andrew Cast

Andy Cast has been Learning and Development Director at Emphasis Ltd. since August 2013. He was previously a Directorate HR Business Partner for Carnival UK and prior to this worked for Waitrose and the John Lewis Partnership for 18 years in various roles, both operational and at head office. In his spare time he acts as a bereavement volunteer for Cruse Bereavement Services and a youth mentor for Young Enterprise.


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