Dear HR Executive:
To avoid potential liability issues or damage to your firm's reputation, you and your hiring managers need to watch the language you use with candidates who are not hired and be aware of how you treat them.
How you handle candidates who are not hired is as important as how you handle the ones you do hire.
To avoid liability issues, be careful of the reasons you give for not hiring a candidate and be aware of how you treat each person overall. A company's reputation can sour quickly by disgruntled, angry, and hurt job candidates who turn to their favorite employment law attorney to exact their revenge for being rejected.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Liability wise, the safest answer on why someone wasn't hired is "while the hiring manager felt there were a lot of positives about this candidate, the company has decided to go in a different direction." This is direct yet positive and leaves no room for negotiation. This is the verbiage you can use to disengage all candidates, regardless of the situation.
- Avoid giving a candidate who was not hired any specific reason that is personal in nature, such as the person does not have the right image for the company. Also, NEVER tell a candidate that he/she did poorly on any type of testing as the sole reason for not moving forward in the interview process.
- If a candidate has been extended an offer only to fail a background check, it is fair to let them know specifically what issues are not allowing the person to successfully pass the check. In the event it is erroneous information, give the candidate a chance to rectify it. Be aware that there have been cases of mistaken identity and once given the opportunity to clear it, candidates have been able to pass the background check and start work.
- Ensure a positive experience for all candidates. Regardless of whether the person is hired or not, be respectful of their time (since many are still employed while interviewing) and don't keep them waiting unless absolutely necessary. During the interview, be respectful and give each candidate your undivided attention, keeping in mind that rude behavior on your part reflects negatively on the company you represent.
- Handle all referrals so you're sure to get more. Even though you may not hire a candidate who someone refers, remember that the person who referred them will feel accountable to the candidate interviewed. If you do not treat the referred person well, you may not get another referral in the future.
- Be timely in your decision. If you know soon after the interview is over that you will not be hiring the candidate, the most considerate action is to give the job candidate a call as soon as possible and be positive but direct. If sending a letter, make it as timely as possible.
B21 VP of Product Development