what?The hiring process can be complex and exhausting for candidates and hiring managers alike. That’s why it so important that, after having sifted through potentially hundreds of resumes, conducted dozens of interviews, and finally made your decision on a new hire, you honor the efforts of all those other candidates who didn’t get the job by answering their follow-up questions. In fact, you can anticipate that most serious candidates will respond to your rejection message with a query about how they might improve their candidacy or application materials. After all they’ve gone through, and in the spirit of enhancing the job market for everyone, it’s only fair that you take time out of your busy day to let them know a few things. Try starting with the following:

What They Did Right

Remember, these are candidates who just suffered rejection, maybe even from their dream job. Handle them delicately. The first thing you’ll want to do is find some way of praising their application, candidacy, or interview performance. Identifying something specific about what made them stand-out, even if it wasn’t enough to get them the job, can lift the heaviest candidate spirits. They may not have the job, but at least they made an impression! Plus, it will make them more receptive to the constructive criticism that follows.

How They Can Improve

Tough love can be difficult. You don’t want to spend too much time critiquing the rejected candidate, especially after what they’ve just been through. But if they seem sincere about improving their candidacy, you should do your best to recommend concrete action that might land them in a similar position in the future. Would developing a skill, like speaking a foreign language, learning computer programming, or mastering Microsoft Office, be the only thing standing in the way of gainful employment? If so, nudge them down the right path.

A Better Fit

The most delicate part of the operation, here’s where you tell the candidate what the new hire had that they didn’t. Be careful to keep this part short, sweet, and somewhat vague. After all, you don’t want to get into an argument with a rejected candidate over the merit of your decision. You just want to convey the qualities that set the new hire apart from the rest, and won them the job. More industry experience, education, or stronger references are good deciding factors, and virtually indisputable.

Try, Try Again

Now that you’ve knocked the candidate down a peg, pick him or her back up again. Encourage them, once they’ve strengthened their qualifications according to your recommendation, to apply with your company again. You can also suggest other companies or open positions for them. Leave them feeling positive and optimistic, with the makings of a new plan forming in their minds.

For more information on recruiting and other employment-related issues, contact our experienced recruiting team at Masiello.