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One of my least favorite tasks as a recruiter used to be rejecting candidates. That’s not to say that one day I woke up and suddenly enjoyed crushing people’s dreams. To the contrary! When I learned that one of the biggest complaints among job seekers was the lack of company feedback, I knew that this was something completely in my control. By providing feedback not only would I provide the compassion and tact that job seekers want, but I would also boost my personal brand and my company’s employer brand. Two birds with one stone.

The funny thing was, the awkward conversations I had pictured having were nothing like the real thing.
 In fact, candidates told me how much they truly appreciated my feedback. In some cases, these candidates became great resources in my career as much as I became a resource for them.

Now, nearly 20 years since starting my first recruiting gig, I am disappointed to report that I still hear the same complaint from job seekers – they are not receiving feedback from the companies to whom they apply, and worse, from companies with whom they interview. This is a critical step in the recruitment life cycle that should not be taken for granted. Candidates spend a great deal of time and energy applying for roles and preparing for interviews. The best way to respect their time and effort is to provide them with timely feedback.

Many recruiters out there do their best to reject candidates in a timely manner, but there are those candidates who slip through the cracks. So how can you ensure that you are consistent with your feedback to candidates? Here are a few tips that can help:

      1. ABC’s of Sort-listing – many of you may already categorize your candidates as A, B, or C list candidates. The A’s are your immediate short list, the B’s are your backups, and C candidates are those who do not meet the minimum requirements for the role. Categorizing your candidates this way will enable you to track their progress.
      2. Close your Reqs – your job postings should be closed no later than the beginning of your first round of interviews. Not only will this help you keep your applicants organized, but you will also be better able to manage job applicant expectations. After all, if a role is still accepting applicants, the job seeker will think that they have a shot – even when you are making a final hiring decision.
      3. Don’t Put off to Tomorrow what Can be Done Today – be sure to provide candidates with feedback as soon as you have it. Once the requisition is closed, you can send your company’s form email rejection letter to your C list candidates. Once you get feedback on the candidates who are interviewing, be sure to follow up with them in a telephone call. Finally, as soon as you have determined that you will no longer need to rely on your B list candidates, send them the form rejection email.
      4. Message – your message is especially important when providing feedback to the candidates who have interviewed with your company. Your best alternative is to speak with the interviewees on the telephone. Ask the candidate if they would like specific feedback. In many cases, they will. When providing feedback use the sandwich approach – begin with a positive, provide constructive feedback, and end on a positive.

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It is important for your personal brand, and your company’s employer brand
 that you provide the best possible candidate experience – and this includes candidate feedback. As the adage goes, a person who has a bad experience will tell 10 times more people than someone who has a good experience. The best way to avoid getting a bad rap with job seekers is in providing a great candidate experience!

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