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Need to Let Them Down Easy? Our Tips to Politely Rejecting a Candidate

There are a lot of exciting parts to the recruiting role in healthcare. You get to meet great people and help both organizations and individuals succeed. Unfortunately, recruiters also must reject a handful of candidates, which can be one of the hardest parts of the job. Many recruiters can become emotionally invested in the candidate and helping them succeed in their job search – and in life.

There are ways recruiters can soften the blow to candidates to effectively and kindly inform them that they aren’t a fit for the position. Here are some tips that can help hiring teams feel better when saying, “No.”

1. Don’t delay the no.

Making the candidate wait for a decision anytime is inappropriate and unprofessional, especially when you know they aren’t right for the position. If you are going to tell the candidate the fit isn’t right, let them know immediately so they can pursue other options. If you’ve made an offer to a candidate, let the other applicants know. Some recruiters wait until the new employee has started the job, which could take weeks.

2. Don’t send an email.

If you’ve spoken with a candidate via phone or in person, you are invested together in the hiring process. Emails are impersonal and should always be reserved for those candidates you haven’t met or spoken with in person. While a follow-up email can document the rejection, don’t send it until you’ve spoken with the candidate first.

When talking with the candidate, start by thanking them for the effort they’ve put into the application process. Then apologize for the disappointing news and state that another candidate has been offered the job. Keep this information succinct and avoid a long conversation about why the other candidate is a better fit.

3. Make the discussion personalized.

Try to inject some kindness and humanity into what some recruiters may treat as a stale or automated process. Use the person’s name and mention something about the individualized interview process. Always treat the candidate the same way you would want to be treated.

4. Ask for feedback.

A personalized candidate rejection allows you to pursue feedback on your hiring process. It could be a good time to ask candidates for their opinions of how the process is working. You might be surprised at how helpful this could be for honing the candidate screening part of the hiring process. Many recruiting teams forget this step, but it’s one final way to show how much you respect the candidate while also gleaning insight from a third party on an internalized set of workflows.

Talk to UHC Solutions

When it’s time to conduct your next search, turn to the FQHC recruiting experts at UHC Solutions. We incorporate the most cutting-edge techniques and combine them with our human-centered search process. Contact us today to get started.


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