Rejection is part of the job interview process. Only one person gets the job. Rejecting a candidate the right way is an essential factor in creating a good candidate experience. If you fail to treat ALL candidates well, it could have negative repercussions for your employer brand and ability to attract talent in the future.

how to reject a candidate without burning bridges

When you treat people well, you reduce the odds of burning a bridge with them. Maintaining this relationship could open the door for future opportunities to work together, you can keep them as a customer, and have them offer positive things to say about your experience with your organization.

Here are some things you can do to minimize the blow and prevent burning a bridge:


1. Inform the Candidate as Soon as Possible

No one likes to be left in limbo. You know candidates are waiting for you to make a decision. So, as soon as you choose to eliminate a candidate from the running, let them know. This is a professional courtesy they will appreciate. This allows them to move on and continue their search.

2. Speak With Them Over the Phone

Calling the candidate on the phone and giving them the news is the best option. This is particularly a good idea if you have had a couple of rounds of interviews with the person. Keep the conversation short and to the point. If you cannot connect with the candidate after a couple of attempts, leave them a message or send an email.

3. Put Things in Writing

Even if you speak with the candidate on the phone, it is always a good idea to put things in writing. Send out an email as a record of the conversation.

4. Avoid Liability Issues

There is potential for legal issues during the recruiting process. Be careful about what you say to candidates if they request specific feedback. Only talk about the job-related factors used to avoid potential legal issues.

5. Thank Them!

Ensuring you thank the candidate for their time and interest in your company is important. Always wish them well in their job search. This is an effective way to finish your conversation.

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IQ PARTNERS is an Executive Search & Recruitment firm supporting clients across the country. We help companies hire better, hire less & retain more. We have specialist teams of recruiters in Executive Search / Board & C-Suite, Technology, Media, Digital & Marketing, Accounting & Finance, Financial Services & Insurance, Cannabis, Startup, Data Science, Consumer, eCommerce & Retail, Operations & HR, Manufacturing, Supply Chain & Engineering, Legal & Professional Services, Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences, Non-Profit & Sustainability, and Sales. Click here to view current job openings and to register with us.

Elaine Bellio Marketing Recruiter

Elaine Bellio

Elaine is a Director, Client Services with IQ PARTNERS with a specialty focus in recruiting for B2B & B2C Marketing and Sales across a number of industries. She has amassed a total of 18 years in sales, sales management, and recruiting at the agency level – selling both contingent and retained search – and has a deep understanding of the sales and marketing processes and what it takes to build a successful team.

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