By John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker, LLC, BV Staffing + Consulting
After you’ve been through a run of interviews it feels good to finally be focusing on the one candidate you’d like to get to join your practice. Unfortunately, that burst of endorphins can hide the need to communicate with the folks you rejected along the way.
Put yourself in their shoes by remembering a time you might have lost on a proposal and the client didn’t bother to tell you anything about why. Frustrating, wasn’t it? You didn’t feel respected. Neither will your candidates, and that’s not the reputation you want for your practice when it’s already hard enough to attract and keep quality talent.
The process of applying and interviewing for your job will be the only experience many rising BV/LS professionals may have with your firm. That makes it even more important not to leave a bad taste about that experience. You never know when the candidate you rejected for today’s position turns out to be tomorrow’s new-hire.
Your experience tells you there’s often a time in the process when, although you may not know who’s going to get an offer, you do know who’s not going to get one. That’s the time to act. Candidates don’t like to be left hanging any more than you do. When you’ve made a decision not to pursue someone, say so. If you train yourself to do that as soon as the decision is made, you’ll be in a better position to communicate more clearly about the decision.
You don’t have to reveal every detail of your thinking on the subject, but simplistic formulations like “not a good fit” or “taking a different direction” can be more aggravating than no explanation at all. Just like you would like some feedback on the proposal you didn’t get, your candidate would like some, too.
An email is fine instead of a phone call. Even a couple lines will do the trick. If you’re writing to multiple candidates, it’s OK to make the message a little more generic and copy & paste as necessary. If you’ve been communicating through LinkedIn during the process, that’s a perfectly acceptable conduit for a rejection message.
Texting is also a great option. Chances are that your candidates are among the nearly 80% of people between 18 and 44 who let their smartphones out of their sight for all of two hours a day. You can be your message will get through.
Quality talent is hard enough to find in most professions, harder still for BV practices. There’s no percentage in getting a bad reputation for not communicating with the candidates you don’t hire.