Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

How to Let A Candidate Go

How to Let A Candidate GoLetting a candidate know they didn’t get the job can be a dreaded and stressful situation for many recruiters.  However, it is a common courtesy which cannot be ignored in today’s world of social media.  As Social Media Today notes, it is very easy for people to share their experiences and perception of a company or recruiter online today.  The last thing you want is a lot of people dishing out negative feedback on your business simply because they never heard back from you after an interview. 

The 2 Types of Candidates

During the interview process, there are two different types of candidates.  There are candidates whose resumes are passed over due to lack of skill or experience and candidates who are contacted for further consideration.  This means there are two different approaches to letting a candidate go, depending on which type of candidate you are dealing with.

Candidates Not Contacted

When it comes to the candidates who do not have the required skills to receive a phone call, simply sending them an email notification is okay.  The email should address them by name, thanking them for their interest in your company and position, but letting them know that they were not selected to move forward in the interview process.  This email should be short, simple, and to the point.

Candidates Who Have Interviewed

On the other hand, when it comes to candidates who have had a phone interview or face to face interview, that is another story.  These are the candidates you have fostered a relationship with, as Smart Recruiters points out.  You will need to pick up the phone and let these candidates know that they were not selected.  You can let them know of any feedback or reasons they were not selected, but be careful with the way you phrase things and make sure that it is not anything that could be considered discriminatory or unfair to the candidate.

Keep It Positive

As Social Media Today states, keep the conversation positive, thanking the candidate for their interest, wishing them luck in their job search, and asking them if it is okay to keep their information on file for future opportunities.  However, Social Media Today also mentions that you should only reference keeping their information on file if the candidate is someone you would consider for future opportunities.  If not, it is better to not get their hopes up.

How do you let a candidate go when they are not selected?  Please share your tips in the comments below.

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Julia Weeks

Julia is a skilled Recruiter with over 8 years of experience in sourcing, interviewing, and hiring within many industries globally. She works closely with hiring managers and job seekers to understand needs and desires, while offering guidance and ensuring the right fit. When not recruiting or writing, Julia enjoys spending time outside cycling, taking her dog for walks, or honing her sailing skills.

1 comment

  • I always let the candidate know by phone the same day that I know. If I can’t get the person on the phone, I send a email and never say anything negative. I always thank them for their time and assure them I will call again should something come up. The only time I am short with them is when they fail drug tests and then I won’t work with them again.