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Job hunting is a challenging process for both candidates and hiring managers. Every company and every opportunity that comes to a job seeker is part of the quest or the trial-and-error. It is actually taking a risk, braving all the struggles and anxieties of entering into a whole new world.

You, HR (Human Resources) recruiters and employers know all the challenges of applying for a job because before you became what you are now, you were once applicants too.

You know how worrying it is to look for jobs and to go to interviews. You know that applicants must always be prepared for both acceptance and rejection in a job position or in a company.

Rejection is a sad truth every applicant knows may come, and no one likes that. It surely feels bad rejecting job applicants. It is also hard to disclose to one that he/she is not getting the job, simply because HR recruiters have been there.

Because it is a “sensitive” topic, you must know how to properly and, somehow, nicely informs the rejection of an applicant. There are things you must not do and ways you must not make it through.

Read these 5 tips for you HR recruiters to know what you should not do as you reject an applicant who finished the whole application process.  

1.  Using Disheartening Words

A rejection message is not a victorious message, not a piece of good news, not something to celebrate about.

What you are relaying is a message that will most likely break someone’s heart and ruin someone’s day. That is the nature of a rejection message. Because you know that, please deliver it well and mindfully.

Do not use discriminating, disheartening and crushing words. Also, do not say it in a very gloomy way that makes the applicant even sadder.

Be careful not to discourage rejected applicants. Keep in mind that they still have a way to go and other companies to try applying to.

Encourage them instead. Tell them that more opportunities await them because surely there is one job and one company out there meant for each of them. Do not just reject them insensitively, leaving them with a broken heart.

Give them a chance to get emotionally ready for other changes and applications.

Rejected applicants know they were not accepted for some reason, but do not smash in front of their faces that they are not good for the position, and do not make them feel that they deserve not to be in your company.

Whether you like the applicant or not, be kind to him/her even at the time of rejection. Do not take anything personally if ever you know the applicant outside of the office. Be honest in a warm-hearted way.

2.  Sending a Generic Template

Although if you read other sources, rejection via virtual message is not recommended, nowadays, because of time constraints and many responsibilities, it is the fastest and most convenient way to communicate good news and not-so-good news.

While giving out generic rejection message templates is quick, it is better if you send personalized messages. Even if they are just short, it seems better. Address the name of the applicant so he/she knows that the message is really for him/her and not sent as a group message.

Tell the specific reasons for rejection to help the applicant with other applications they will make with other companies. It is nice if you give them pieces of advice and friendly tips.

Let him/her know that he/she has the potential and wish him/her luck. Make rejected applicants feel like they are not simply rejected but actually still fortunate to have met an HR recruiter like you.  

3. Just Letting ‘Em Go

Some HR recruiters do not just send a generic rejection letter, but also ends with a dull tone.

Saying thanks to the applicant for the interest and efforts is really nice. Letting them know that you still want to get in touch with them for future opportunities is nicer!

Do not just let them go if you are really interested in working with them some other time or in some other areas of work. It is not bad to make them feel that they are awesome, even when they got rejected for that position.

Man going for Mountain Trekking-Wrong Ways to Reject An Applicant

4. Making Them Wait for a “No”

Job searching is doubtlessly time-consuming. It requires patience and perseverance. Time is indeed gold.

If you already know earlier in the application process or immediately after it that an applicant is rejected, let him/her know straight away. Do not make him/her wait for a long time just to receive your “NO”.

You might not know, that the applicant might be waiting only for your response to know if he/she will proceed with other companies or has already turned the others down because of you.

Respect applicants’ time as you want your own time respected. Make them know “NO” immediately so you will not waste any of their time, which they must be spending looking for other possible opportunities somewhere else.

5. Leaving Them Clueless

The worst thing an HR recruiter can do as he/she rejects a job applicant is to leave him/her without any clue. This is very annoying–more annoying than getting a “NO”.

It is definitely waiting for nothing. Do not do this to a rejected applicant even if you are so busy to inform them. Just to send a generic message to them if that’s the only thing you can do due to your other duties. Aside from it ruins your reputation and reliability, it leaves the poor, waiting for applicants with a question mark asking themselves what happened.

It shows how you do not value other people’s time and efforts in applying. It does not only reflect you, as an HR recruiter, but also the whole company.  

Rejected but Not Really 

Rejection isn’t some nice news, but at least deliver it nicely — please, just at least. Yes, the world is moving so rapidly than ever before. People are getting busier and busier each day.

Responsibilities are growing bigger and more challenging. You might say that there’s no time to reject applicants personally or even nice, but there really is; you just have to put a dash of effort and appreciation in them.

All the factors around should not make giving a job application rejection message an even gloomier shade when it already is a gloomy one. Let rejected applicants know that they are rejected for the job, but let them feel they are not really at least because of the kind experience you let them encounter.



Written By
Nicole Ann Pore is a daytime writer for HR Dept AUS, an Australian company providing HR support and services for any kind of business. Before the Communication field, Psychology is Nicole's long-time love and interest because people's behaviour intrigues and fascinates her a lot! | Nicole graduated Cum Laude from De La Salle University Manila, Philippines with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts. “To God be the glory”

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