Why Didn’t You Hire Me? How To Answer Questions From Rejected Candidates

September 23rd, 2011

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In the hiring process there is often a gap in the expectations of applicants and the hiring manager. The authority seeking to fill a position is generally inundated with an overwhelming number of applications and resumes.  The goal is to find the most qualified candidate in the least amount of time since an unfilled position may mean less workplace productivity.

However, most applicants do not see the big picture, instead taking a self-centered stance. Candidates may think they are exactly what the company needs without realizing the number of competitors for the position. Applicants who are rejected may inquire why? Responding to these individuals requires care and respect.

Communicate Expectations

In the initial job interview, it is necessary to explain to applicants what can be expected in the hiring process. Applicants should be made aware of the qualifications sought for the job so they know what the employer is seeking. They should also be told in a general manner how the job search will be conducted. Understanding this early on may help applicants comprehend why they may have been rejected, if it comes down to this.

How To Inform of Rejection

Organizations may decide how to best inform applicants they are not being considered for appointment. This can be done through a rejection letter, phone call or email. The reason for rejection should be written in a general manner. It needs to be professional and to the point. Information like “over 200 people applied for this position” should be avoided. Instead, thank the candidate for applying, and invite the candidate to re-apply in the near future for a suitable assignment. Contact information should be provided if there are questions from applicants.

Give General Feedback

When dealing with questions regarding rejected candidates, general answers should be provided. Statements like “a more qualified candidate was chosen” or ‘there were many qualified candidates to choose from” should be provided. If asked what could have made them a better candidate, the company official could explain areas in the candidate’s background that could be improved like education. Under no circumstances should specific reasons be given why someone was rejected. Details comparing them to other candidates also need to be withheld.  Applicants may interpret specific reasons for rejection as discriminatory.

Future Considerations

How a company handles rejected applicants could have implications in future hiring. If treated well, rejected employees by word of mouth may say positive things about the company. This means good public relations for the company and could attract excellent candidates in future openings. Rejected applicants that had excellent qualifications may be great candidates for future vacancies. Treating these individuals respectfully when rejected may attract them in the future to work for the company in a different capacity.

Companies may have different ways to deal with rejected applicants. Certain situations may mean not everyone will receive a response. When dealing with rejected applicants, organizations should treat them with respect without revealing too much information.

For help with finding the right employees for your organization, consult with the career professionals at Davis Staffing today!

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