How to reject a candidate without tainting your employer brand

Jun 9, 2022
How to reject a candidate without tainting your employer brand

The employer brand has never been more important to a company. The very concept of "employer branding" was born at a management conference in 1990, and then defined academically by Simon Barrow and Tim Ambler in the magazine Brand Management. This article was the first attempt to "apply the techniques of brand management (i.e. marketing) to human resource management" in order to attract the best talent.

It is not only the consumer who has become an expert. Today the employee is too. The development of digital tools and the mass of information now available on the networks allow today's (future) job applicants to be much more selective and to go and look for the company whose value proposition best matches their aspirations and values.

According to a study by the recruitment network MRINetwork, 69% of job seekers would reject a job offer from a company with a bad employer brand, even if they were unemployed. Furthermore, 92% would consider leaving their current job if offered another position with a company that has an excellent reputation. Similarly, according to a Glassdoor survey (2018), 84% 84% of employees and job seekers say that a company's reputation as an employer of choice is important when deciding where to apply for a job. In addition, 83% of employees and job seekers are likely to look for company ratings and opinions when deciding where to apply for a job.

Reject candidates with grace

This means that from now on the employer brand must be cherished. A company's vision and values, salary conditions, day-to-day functions and environment, flexibility, opportunities for growth and stability are some of the main conditions appreciated by current candidates when choosing a company for which they would like to work.

Highlighting the strengths of the organization is therefore an unavoidable necessity in order to make it flourish. But this is not enough. Because, in this matter, beware of missteps. Especially during the recruitment period. A bad experience of the candidate can have disastrous effects in terms of reputation. Especially if the application is rejected.

How do you do this without damaging your employer brand?

  1. Customize the process

    Even if you don't have the resources or opportunity to speak in person with your unsuccessful candidates, make sure your communication is personalised. Rejections of emails that arrive in the form of a form letter - or worse, mass emails - show a certain level of disregard for your candidates.
  2. Offer feedback

    What could be more natural for a candidate to want to understand why he or she was not selected? your job is not to train them for a job interview or writing a CV. However, don't let their application go unanswered and tell them the reasons for the rejection.
  3. Propose to keep in touch

    Just because it didn't work, doesn't mean it won't work next time. Refusal does not always mean that the doors of the company are closed forever to the unfortunate candidate. Offer to keep in touch by, for example, sending them the company newsletter and don't fail to inform them of vacancies that match their profile.
  4. Be honest

    However, there may be cases where the profile will not fit in now or later. It is forbidden to give false hope to these candidates. Candidates will always appreciate your honesty..
  5. Request the candidates' opinion

    It shows that you care about their opinion and respect what they have to say. In addition, you can use this feedback to structure your recruitment process and to verify that a fair process was used.

Advantage to the applicant

The days when a company would play dead after turning down an application are well and truly over. And with good reason! According to the Book Focus RH (31st edition 2019), 57% of candidates no longer wish to apply for a company's offers when they do not get an answer after sending an application or following an interview.

In recent years, there has been a real shift in the balance of power between the candidate and the company in favor of the former. In the field of talent management, it is now the latter that leads the dance. An organization that fails to care for its employer brand would therefore be deprived of the best candidates, with the result that the company would be relegated to the second division. In short, the company would be condemned to play the extra in its market of activity, which could ultimately result in its fall. You’ve been warned…


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