Too often in recruitment, when our candidate gets rejected, we ignore them until another suitable job comes along. But a great recruiter knows how to make the most out of a bad situation!
There are ways you can capitalise on these rejected candidates and ensure you maintain your relationship with them (until you have another job for them) and help you make other placements in the meantime.
Capitalising on rejected candidates is all about creating a situation that works for you both and this is only possible if you manage the rejection process like a true professional.
Managing the rejection process
Rejecting a candidate is never nice, but how you approach the situation will make or break your relationship with them moving forward.
If you send a generic rejection email (or worse, give the candidate no feedback at all), any trust and respect you’ve been building with them will be destroyed – and there’s no way your candidate will want to work with you again.
So rather than burn bridges, make the effort to approach the situation with professionalism: Show your candidate empathy, reassure them you’ll continue to work hard for them and you’ll set yourself up to build a relationship that you can both profit from.
Let’s take a look at which methods you can use to make the most of your rejected candidates…
1. Get referrals
At the risk of being Captain Obvious here, let me start by clarifying something: Never ask a candidate if they’d be willing to refer someone for a job you’ve just rejected them from – unsurprisingly, this won’t go down well!
But once the dust from the rejection settles, there’s no reason you shouldn’t reach out to a rejected candidate to ask for referrals for other roles you’re recruiting. If the candidate is working in your recruitment niche, they will probably know people in their network who are also looking for a new job in the same industry.
Asking for referrals also gives you the chance to check in with your candidate, let them know you’re still working hard for them and prove that you’re a top recruiter in your niche who’s working on a number of roles in their field (even if they’re not quite right for them yet).
2. Dig for new leads
When one person wants to leave a company, there are often other employees with similar grievances who are also looking to jump ship.
A week or so following the rejection, give your candidate a call to check in with them and see how things are going at the company. This not only shows you’re invested in helping the candidate find another opportunity, but it’s also a great opportunity to gather more information and generate some new leads.
Find out if any of their colleagues have quit so you can try and backfill the vacancy, or try to learn if there have been any particular changes made to a team that has resulted in unhappy employees (who you can headhunt!).
You don’t need to tell your candidate that you’re specifically looking for information about their employer, just ask how things are going. A candidate who’s unhappy at work will usually spill the beans without much prompting, and they’ll appreciate your thoughtful call to check in on how they’re doing.
3. Bag a nice candidate review
Reviews from candidates are extremely valuable: Most people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation – making them one of the best ways to attract new candidate and clients.
Whenever you give a candidate great service, you should ask for a review – even if they didn’t get the job. And if you’re not sure how they felt about the experience, just ask them!
You could say something like the following:
“I’m always interested in getting feedback from my candidates so I know I’m doing a god job. I know we didn’t land you this particular role this time, but how did you find the experience of working together? Is there anything you think I could improve on? I’d love to know that too.”
If there’s more bad feedback than good, you have constructive advice on which areas you need to improve on; if they only have positive things to say, ask if they’ll write you a review (they can always do this anonymously). If they’ve just told you they’re happy with your services, why would they say ‘no’?
4. Place them in another role
All of the research and outreach you do in the process of capitalising on the candidate’s initial job rejection will result in you getting to know them better and help you build a relationship that could last for their entire career.
Building a relationship like this will mean you’re better positioned to represent them better and ultimately increase the likelihood of you being able to place them in a better-fitting role – a win for both you and your candidate!
Great candidates get rejected all the time simply because their interview skills weren’t up to scratch. Download the eBook below to learn how to prep your candidates for success.