The Best Way to Reject a Job Candidate


Employers who leave rejected job candidates with a bad taste in their mouths may see the bottom line suffer for it, new research shows.

A study by online job site CareerBuilder found that candidates who had a bad experience when applying for a position are less likely to seek employment at that company again. They are also more likely to discourage friends and family from applying or even purchasing products from that company. Overall, more than one in four workers have had a bad experience when applying for a job.

The vast majority of job candidates expect to hear responses from a company after an application, whether or not the employer is interested. But 75 percent of applicants said they never heard back from a business they applied to in the last year.

The research shows that by simply not responding, employers run the risk of losing out not only on a future employee, but a customer as well. Nearly one-third of those surveyed would be less inclined to purchase products or services from a company that didn't respond to their application.

Several other actions also led to bad experiences for applicants, including: employers who didn't let candidates know the company's decision following an interview, job requirements that didn't match what was in the job posting or company representatives who didn't present a positive work experience or seem knowledgeable.

The study found that the effects of a job candidate's negative experience can lead to a broader impact on the employer's ability to recruit and sell products. Specifically, more than 20 percent of job candidates who have had bad experiences would tell others not to work at that company, while 9 percent would discourage family and friends from patronizing the business.

Sanja Licina, senior director of talent intelligence at CareerBuilder, said that from the second job seekers view a job ad and apply, they are forming an opinion of who the company is as an employer and as a business.

"One bad applicant experience can have a ripple effect, with candidates not only vocalizing their dissatisfaction with how they were treated, but encouraging others not to apply or even buy products from that company," Licina said. "It's so critical that your employment brand effectively carries through at every touch point with candidates."

Just as bad experiences can carry long-term effects, so too can good applicant experiences, even if the candidate wasn't actually hired. Nearly 40 percent of candidates who were happy with the way an employer treated them after an application would recommend others to work at that bussiness, while 23 percent would be more likely to purchase products or services from that company.

The study was based on surveys of more than 3,900 U.S. workers.

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