I reject job applicants and they thank me
Make your process worth it and nobody will hate it. Especially not you.
I just had to send my first round of rejections to applicants I interviewed, and a couple came back with the same sentiment:
“Thanks again for the opportunity, and one of the better interviews I’ve experienced (genuinely).”
Let’s talk about why you want to get these, and how you do.
Why you want them:
- The application process is marketing, to be honest. I’ve heard so much advice about worrying about your Glassdoor reviews and what not — but what really matters is that these people are in the community. If they come away with a positive experience, the rejection won’t sting, and they can become every bit a champion to others, and keep using your product or service with joy.
- You’ll start looking forward to interviews because you’ll be adding value to people’s lives and feeling gratitude for who they are and the privelege of meeting them.
- You’ll start looking forward to interviews because you’ll also get something out of it, too, including ways to improve.
How you get them:
- Our hiring process is unique and it’s based off of this system (you can buy and use it, too). It’s based on looking for people who can: follow directions, show their skillset, and invest some time upfront showing us.
- Once you get to the people you want to interview, you have really pointed questions to answer they’ve already provided to you in the first part of the application that give you an idea of where they are at. You can make easy small talk with them and I always admit that I’m not great at interviews and show a little vulnerability and it makes them feel easier, too.
- Once you establish some comfort, you can ask them why they did what they did and come up with some things to test their reaction to. I usually know in about ten minutes if they’re what I’m looking for and the remaining is just looking for places to see if you’re wrong. You’re pretty much ready to hire or not after interviews that are this pointed.
- One of the main things I ask after I assess skill and values, is mostly about how they like being managed and communicated with and have a real conversation about why the job I’m hiring for exists and my own weaknesses — for example, I’m a very hands off “I trust you” manager, to detriment of people who think they want that — so I talk about those issues and look for places for them to prove that they’ll push me when they need more help or how they’ll get help. I absolutely will turn people down who won’t push back on me the way I like being pushed on because I need that to help them, too.
- During the course of the interview, I look for a place to add value to them. If someone is looking for a job for transition, I ask what they want and a lot of times try to help them find a better fit than we are. Also, at the end I ask when they’d be available to work and show them the salary range we post and ask them what they’re asking for. Most are not prepared to answer this — and you can absolutely take the time to coach them on advocating for themselves.
- We make calls fast (I get my candidates, interview in a week, and job offers or turn downs should happen in a day or two— I tell them how many interviews I’m doing and what deadline I’ve given myself to let them know. And then I also remind them that I’m hiring for a fit for ME and not just the job and that it’s not about their abilities or personalities. And then I also tell them they don’t need to follow up after — I don’t need that extra workload from them and it isn’t criteria for hiring.
- Turn downs are personal if I interview them — I tell them I’m grateful for the time and remind them that it wasn’t that they weren’t enough (in so many words) but that another candidate just stood out in this moment.
- At the suggestion of a friend, if someone has gone above and beyond in the process (like I had to reschedule, or they took a ton of time during the application period), I send them a gift certificate when I turn them down, too. It makes them feel valued in the process because by now, they’ve invested about two hours in us.
And that’s how I get people to graciously say “Thanks for turning me down” and go on to help build the community through word of mouth and participation in what we offer. It’s relatively easy to do — we just have to slough off the old ways of doing things.
I personally dread hiring because for it means taking on the responsibility of another’s livelihood and career path, but when we do it this way, I’m EXCITED for that.