Rejection can hurt. But it is part of the recruiting process. As a hiring manager, you are going to have to reject more people than you hire – significantly more. It’s important to reject candidates with grace and professionalism, especially those last few candidates who make it to the final stages of the interview process.

How you reject candidates is a reflection on the overall candidate experience. If you treat people poorly during the recruiting process, it will hurt your employer brand and affect your ability to recruit top talent in the future.

According to Toronto recruiters, here is what NOT to do when you reject a job candidate:

1. Don’t Drag Out Your Decision

Choosing one candidate over another is a challenging decision. It can take time but avoid dragging out your decision longer than you need to. As soon as you know you will be choosing another candidate, contact them right away. The sooner you tell them, the more time they will have to move on to other opportunities.

2. Don’t Ignore Their Contact Attempts

Some candidates will follow up with you about your decision. Even if you haven’t made a final decision, avoid ignoring them. A quick response that you are still considering candidates will suffice. If you’ve already made your decision, respond appropriately.

3. Don’t Email or Text Them

The way you reject a candidate matters. Don’t send them a text or email. Take the time to give them a quick call to inform them. Quickly thank the candidate for their application and let them know you are going to offer the job to another candidate. Keep the call brief and to the point.

4. Don’t Lie

There is no need to be dishonest. Don’t tell them you want to keep in contact for future roles if you have no intention to do so. If they ask for some feedback, be honest about areas they need to work on. Again, be brief.

5. Don’t Use a Templated Response

Whether you are speaking with a candidate on the phone or using email, personalize your response for each candidate. Make it specific to them and use information from the interview. Put a little thought into the conversation. You are rejecting them, after all.

More Recruiting Tips From a Toronto Recruitment Agency

There is always room for improvement. Check out these great blogs from Toronto recruiters, with insightful tips for hiring approaches and how to create a better overall candidate experience:

Algorithmic Hiring: Assessing the Pros and Cons

Trouble Finding the Right Candidate? Try Candidate Coaching

3 Ways to Create a Better Employer Brand by Improving Your Candidate Experience


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. IQ PARTNERS has its head office in Toronto and operates internationally via Aravati Global Search Network. Click here to view current job openings and to register with us.

Kelly Noelle Operations Recruiter

Kelly Noelle

Kelly runs the Operations practice at IQ PARTNERS, leveraging more than seven years of experience recruiting for mid to senior level Operations roles across a range of industries. She has worked with some of the most recognized brands in Canada; having managed multi-million dollar operations and accounts for national and international organizations.

Hire Better,
Hire Smarter
73.3% of our clients are repeat customers. They trust us to help them hire better.
Hire Better
The Smarter Way to Find Your Next Job
Because smart people make great companies.
Get Hired