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Reject me, just don't ignore me!

It's Not You, It's Someone Else...

We've all been there...we've received the generic 'Sorry, your application didn't progress' or 'We offered the role to a more suitable candidate'; or even, you've been one of the many people that takes time and energy out of their day to attend an interview and you've received zero feedback! Nothing! – a virtual 'feedback blackhole'.

So why do the majority of companies, and more specifically, Hiring Managers / Leaders still find it SO difficult to provide feedback; extend a simple professional courtesy to another professional? – I mean, there is advice out there if you're worried about the implications of providing feedback to an individual you don't intend to offer a role.


… you're focusing your time and energy on the person you intend to offer and that process is your top priority… you'll get round to the rejected individuals when you've got your 'chosen one' secured?

💡 It'll take 5-10 minutes out of your day to make a call and provide feedback, however, the impact of this action will be positively received by the individual.

...there is a potential disconnect between you (Hiring Manager/Leader) and the in-house HR/Recruitment team and the feedback hasn't been passed along or got lost in a whole host of hiring activities the in-house team are managing?

💡 It should be the Hiring Manager/Leader's responsibility to prioritise the feedback activities with the in-house team and follow-up to ensure is has been actioned.

...the fear of disappointing another individual and you're a perpetual 'pleaser' and you'd lie awake at night worrying about what that person might be saying about you across social media?

💡 Leaving an individual with no feedback leaves the door open to speculation and a greater sense of rejection. In short, inaction has had the complete opposite effect.

...the Recruitment Agency that introduced the individual and the feedback hasn't been passed back because the Agency lost interest as soon as they knew it wasn't 'their candidate' that was to be offered the role?

💡 It should be the Hiring Manager/Leader's responsibility to prioritise the feedback activities and request confirmation that it has been actioned.

In all these potential scenarios, the responsibility, or delegation of responsibility, for providing feedback sits with the Hiring Manager / Leader in my opinion. Specifically linked to this are the concepts Candidate Experience and Brand Advocacy.

What's your baseline?

When any client asks me to assess their 'Candidate Experience', I start with the purpose of answering one question - 'How do they treat the people they don't hire'? - that's my baseline. Interestingly, I often find that the data and information available for the individuals that haven't been offered a role with a company is often sporadic, undocumented and very inconsistent in approach from one Hiring Manager or team to another.

Many have asked, why bother with the people we haven't hired?

My counter to that question is, if the experience for the people you haven't offered is really engaging, the experience for the people you do hire must be amazing!

The net result of an amazing offer and on-boarding experience correlates to a reduction in the loss of individuals to counter offers or other opportunities.

The obvious result from an engaging experience for individuals you do and don't hire is brand advocacy and that could lead to referrals and that will lead to a boost to your talent pipeline! Also, you may not have hired the individual today, however, what about in another 6, 12 or 18 months time?

What is your Candidate Experience baseline?

If you're the hiring manager, team leader, company or HR / Recruitment professional about to embark on a overhaul or improvement programme focused on your Candidate Experience (CX), please let me offer some advice;

  • your current CX is only as good as the last negative feedback you received

  • data is important, however, stories of human experience are more valuable

  • focus on the individual and build the process around them

  • personalisation should underpin your CX journey

  • build your CX vision, don't replicate

  • be creative and be brave


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