Creating a More Positive Rejection Process

creating a positive rejection process

How do you deliver a rejection? An intentional approach to rejecting candidates is essential in creating a positive hiring process and overall candidate experience. This week, Gareth breaks down where companies miss the mark, and ways to ensure a more positive rejection process. 







[00:00:00] Gareth Webb: Cool what's on the agenda.

[00:00:02] Jake Gorgol: Yeah. So today we wanted to dive into probably what I imagine is not the, not so fun part of the talent, acquisition, or recruiting piece turning down a candidate I think you, and then the talent partners here at out scout are used in the recruiting space to help deliver this new sometimes with our clients.

[00:00:19] I'm sure we've seen it done well not seen it done well then obviously have things in place to model our process off of, what does great look like so I think we're in a good spot to break it down and hopefully provide some value here for those who don't love, always delivering the news.

[00:00:32] So before breaking it down in our process, I wanted to kick off, let's tackle the, where do companies typically miss the mark here.

[00:00:39] Gareth Webb: Yeah, you're right. It's the piece that everybody hates. I guess it's the sort of human nature to avoid [00:00:45] conflict and there is potential conflict here with how people may react.

[00:00:49] But the, real short version is you just need to do it. Not doing it is worse than anything. I guess delivering it terribly is worse than not, but it not in the candidate's eyes. Like they, they don't need to be they don't need to be protected or overly have it overly packaged.

[00:01:05] They just need to be told. And I think whenever we do it, most of the 99% of the time, people really appreciate. So we do have a rule. We have a rule here that I try to enforce it and I try to check on it, but I'm sure that, again, people don't love to do it, but it's no bad news over email.

[00:01:22] So I think we still see plenty of times where if clients want to reject or deliver a [00:01:30] no, they'll just fire out an email. I think probably it's fine after maybe an initial screen or something like that. Hey, sorry. It's not the right fit, but we also do see it when people have gone through an entire process.

[00:01:41] So yeah, I think doing it,

[00:01:45] Jake Gorgol: Is there a place you'd kind draw the line for when you feel like a call versus email or sorry, a email turned into a call is warranted. Is it yeah. Can you say just first stage screening? I think second

[00:01:56] Gareth Webb: stage reverse engineer. I'd go backwards and say that if someone's been through an entire process and they've done a final categorically, they deserve a phone call.

[00:02:05] If they've got to decision time and then all the ones that got the nod, then absolutely. The, either we, the [00:02:15] hiring the internal talent team or the hiring manager should put in a call then. And that does happen if someone's done really well. And they just haven't quite got far enough or somebody pit to the position that does sometimes happen.

[00:02:27] But then, they're largely if they like the person whereas it still could be someone that's invested a lot of time and energy and they haven't Quite got the position. They'll sometimes still get an email or they'll just ask us to do it. We don't mind doing it at all.

[00:02:39] Cause often we're talking to people about multiple processes, so the chances of somebody, us engaging with a, an individual to get a job and then getting their job, that rarely happens like a one and done. There's always. People that were usually talking to five people for a position maybe three to five, or we have a [00:03:00] person in play for one role or maybe one or two others.

[00:03:02] So we are cool doing it. It's all part of coaching feedback, service. But for clients, yeah, they, that, I dunno where you draw the line, to be honest, I think that it's probably somewhere around if you have done more than like an initial screen and maybe gone through the mid. Then after that, maybe they deserve a quick checking call, especially if you like the candidate for the business, just somewhere else, maybe down the line.

[00:03:24] But um, yeah I, I, I think and with that, it goes without saying usually the more senior, like if it's a VP then they tend to get treated a little better, cuz the execs in play wanna save face as well and keep their personal brand and reputation in check . But yeah, no, I think everybody deserves something.

[00:03:43] It's probably the more you've invested, the more [00:03:45] you deserve in terms of what comes back your way.

[00:03:49] Jake Gorgol: Cool. Let's jump into kind of breaking down, I guess, what our ideal process looks like. You mentioned a little bit, obviously on the calling versus the emailing. Do you wanna jump into what that call structure kind of looks like?

[00:03:58] I'm sure it obviously varies a little bit, but is there a high level. Script if you will.

[00:04:05] Gareth Webb: Yeah. I don't procrastinate and avoid hesitation and avoid trying to soften it. Just be direct and say, Hey look, unfortunately it's a no from whoever or Hey Jake, sorry. Unfortunately it's a no from us.

[00:04:19] Here's why get to the why that's all people care about what they very unlikely going to. Trying to persuade you otherwise. So most people just wanna know why, so [00:04:30] the quicker you get there, the better, and you can move on. And then I think if you can in terms of a structure, yeah. Not, you gotta think about tone as well. If you are calling somebody to deliver bad news, Nobody's died. They've just not got a job, so you don't need to be overly somber about it. But equally being upbeat and Py probably might be deemed to be insensitive. So just reasonably business, like neutral, but Hey, look, we're really sorry.

[00:05:02] It's not worked out or, you, it's not a yes from us for this one. Here's why you. Just be direct. Like we felt you were lacking on these points. Didn't convinced the team of these reasons. It's either like good either. They just don't have those [00:05:15] traits and they're not fit, or it's just a poor interview performance.

[00:05:17] So there's two or not good enough interview performance. So there's different things to consider there.

[00:05:22] Jake Gorgol: That's interesting. Cause I feel like I've in my personal experience, have rarely been given any additional context behind, maybe we've decided to go with a different in a different direction, but it doesn't really give a whole lot of pay.

[00:05:34] If you're further down the road in the process, what does that mean for you know exactly. You said what's the context. Why didn't you get it? I dunno if like we decided to move it a different direction is like the most,

[00:05:44] Gareth Webb: That's like when someone breaks up with you and they say, it's not you it's me.

[00:05:48] Going in a different direction. What direction then, because I know what direction you were going in. I felt like I was aligned and I was so going different direction just means, yeah, either you didn't [00:06:00] convince us or someone was better. And so then, everybody's got own their own destiny to a degree as much as they can.

[00:06:05] So if you are getting told that as a candidate should be like, Hey look, what did I not do? Or what was it about what you. Tell the person that you're okay with hearing bad news. Like I wanna know, I wanna learn what did I not do? And then often you'll get a bit more, cause people are like, okay, like you are asking me for the details.

[00:06:24] Mm-hmm People are scared to give feedback because they just don't know how it's gonna be received. So if they know it's gonna be received, okay, then they're probably more likely gonna open up to you. I've taken feedback really well and really badly in the past, because I've even thought it was justified or not doesn't mean I was right or wrong either way, but I would always want to know why [00:06:45] I had one.

[00:06:46] There was one case some time ago now, probably about 10 years ago where I was interviewing for a cool business, cool role. Final two. Didn't get it. I was bitterly disappointed. But then I totally understood why. Like I think it was, yeah, the founder CEO talked to me about it told me why the other guy got the position and how I, how and why I got picked.

[00:07:06] And but I laid it out. I was like, Hey, I wanna know tell me I'm cool. I'm not gonna go away and cry about it, but I do want to improve. And so I think, yeah, letting people know that you're okay with hearing suboptimal information about yourself as to how you performed or how you've been perceived and that's it as well.

[00:07:23] Like it's not necessarily true. Doesn't mean that just because you get told. Something about yourself. It's how it's [00:07:30] been perceived from that piece. That person's perspective in that moment. So I think just again, we talked about this the other week with presenting offers and negotiating a negotiation point, right?

[00:07:43] It's I just wanna know some information you've got, I'm prepared to be open about it. And not being too emotional and. For, being business like about it, it's different here, cuz it is personal. It's like people talk about your traits or your how you've come across and how you've performed.

[00:07:59] But I think if you let people know that, Hey look, I'm, I want to do better. I wanna improve. And everything you tell me will help there then that's that will help you get more information out of it.

[00:08:11] Jake Gorgol: We touched on this a little bit in our, I guess our pre meet. [00:08:15] Just the idea of leaving the door open for other opportunities, especially if the candidate was good, but maybe not the best fit for the role.

[00:08:21] There was another good candidate who, beat them out. What is, what does that process or yeah, process look like.

[00:08:26] Gareth Webb: Yeah, if someone's got through to a final stage, then if we're I going off the assumption that to get to that point, they must have been really pretty solid. Anyway. Then maybe there are other positions that come up in.

[00:08:38] Other opportunities. Yeah, by that, if at that point you owe it to yourself and them to round it off nicely and you never know, right? Like the person that you hire could not work out, you could have made a mistake. And the person that also is at final stage could Be somebody for your business later.

[00:08:52] People feel differently about that. Some people think, oh yeah. Like I wouldn't wanna go back to a place I got rejected from, but it's not as cut and dry as that, like hiring is [00:09:00] sometimes about like real minor points, especially at final stage or decision. Cause you've seen it. You've seen where you've got people on the team saying yes and no.

[00:09:07] And, or different degrees of yes. Or different degrees of no. The, yeah, I think. If somebody's got through from a mid stage or final, and they've got to a final stage and there, I know you, you've gotta keep them in play for future opportunities potentially. So you have to round off the feedback nicely and do it well and shake hands and, keep the door open.

[00:09:28] I'm sure there's lots of good stories out there of people that have ended up going to places where they didn't get in first time. I don't think. If somebody's an absolute, no, from everybody, they at an earlier stage in a, in an interview process, then you just have to be decent. You don't have to white glove, every [00:09:45] part of their feedback necessarily.

[00:09:46] I don't. I think sometimes people just want timely feedback. Like they just want getting a rejection email even quick is good. No news is not good news in hiring. So people just want to square things away. And then best practices for keeping people in play for your business.

[00:10:01] If they don't quite get one role is be diligent with your data and your systems, and make sure that the data doesn't slip through the cracks so that if that person was observed as being potentially a good cultural fit or good skills fit for the business at some point, but not quite right for one role, then put them into some sort of motion.

[00:10:21] To be systematic about ensuring that you don't forget about them in yeah. 3, 6, 12 months. Track them, keep in touch with them. Put them on your [00:10:30] distribution list or something like that, just so they know about you as well. Yeah. The people just don't do that and there's,

[00:10:35] Jake Gorgol: we'll keep you in mind for future opportunities.

[00:10:37] Gareth Webb: Yeah. Check our job board outs, pre what's the word? It's very passive and it's quite weak sentiment. Get over to somebody, but it's Hey, let's keep in touch. And, let us know what you are doing. We'll let you know about our plans. Easier in a small business I'm sure. But for a big company, they have these quite sophisticated ATS or CRMs for hiring.

[00:10:56] And there should be they, if their recruiting team are worth anything, they should. Carrying ongoing talent ID and like tracking a relatively warm audience of people that they've met with in the past or spoken with. A lot of it is human error. So just don't, we have it here sometimes, but [00:11:15] less so now, just not managing the data well okay.

[00:11:17] I'm actually gonna put you in this list for people we're gonna track and you will receive an email from us and we will checking with you every 1, 2, 3 months. Know we'll come to you first. If there's an opportunity, people just don't have that internal teams and a lot of agencies and hiring managers don't have the time, but a lot of people don't have the framework or the diligence to make sure that actually happens, which again is why I put it back on the Canada and be like, if you love the company and you love what they're doing, just own that for yourself and be checking in, I think, but the problem there is then people feel like they're.

[00:11:54] Appearing a little desperate potentially, which it actually is not the case. Is there, do you think

[00:11:58] Jake Gorgol: there is a line there in terms of [00:12:00] what they should be? What does too much look like? Or is there, is that too much?

[00:12:05] Gareth Webb: Yeah, there is too much. Definitely if you were to check in once a month, probably too much, but if you see a position posted or that a company.

[00:12:14] It's doing particularly well on, in general hiring, there's no harm in dropping an email or a message to somebody in the business. Either like there, the talent team or the, or actually the hiring manager, I'd be like that. Hey, like I know it didn't work out for that role, but I'm still really interested.

[00:12:30] Here's some ideas I've got or love to come and work for you.

[00:12:33] They'll either be they either get a yes or you'll get a no, or you'll get, or unfortunately in this way, the world is now you might get ghosted, but at least, you tried. Yep. Yeah.

[00:12:42] Jake Gorgol: Any final thoughts before we, we wrap up and [00:12:45] recap?

[00:12:45] Gareth Webb: I think talent leaders who have teams should be.

[00:12:50] Enforcing that this, if someone's got to final, they get a call and we know the good clients should do that. And those people should absolutely be put into a kind of warm list of people we might want to come and work here. There's also, there should probably be just again, like anything like ongoing training on how to do it for hiring manager or a talent.

[00:13:11] And then to get to why, and then they'll probably they'll feel better and no, without a why is. Just as bad as not hearing anything potentially for a lot of people, they'll be left wondering I think if you can be as honest as you can about either the lack of skill or match of skill, lack of experience, [00:13:30] and if someone just perform badly and interview, they need to know because you're doing them disservice by them, letting them go onto the next interview and just carrying those habits and mistakes.

[00:13:39] And then I think if you're a candidate, make it very clear that you're okay hearing. The whole truth and tell people why you wanna hear it and make sure that they know you're not gonna fly off the handle. I had a guy fly off the handle.

[00:13:50] Just anecdotally I'll add 2020 had an individual hire being interviewed for, I think it's like a VP of. Professional services and implementation for one of our big clients is a chief revenue officer interviewing him. And he was a resounding yes from everybody. But the chief revenue officer was interviewing him as a tough customer and really buys into people having a degree of charisma cuz of their customer base.

[00:14:13] And [00:14:15] we prepped the guy heavily or cuz he was quite a dry character. He was very sound. Technically, commercially, everybody thought he was good for the job. He would've got the job. We prepped him that, don't be too dry be get your personality across and make it very clear as to why you want the job and why you're interested.

[00:14:35] And he did an. Well Enough. And within 15 minutes, the chief revenue officer found him too dry, too stiff non personable enough, and he got rejected and he took the feedback terribly. I phoned him on Friday afternoon. We got the feedback the Friday morning. I phone him Friday afternoon.

[00:14:54] Which was the first chance I could get, but I wanted to make sure I told him before the weekend told him he was a no told him, said, look [00:15:00] we tried our best to help

[00:15:02] engaging, Engaging, and that's not what they wanted for this level of a hire. And he thought that was incorrect. He thought it was a ridiculous reason to not hire for his position. And. Also told me that he thought giving him the feedback on a Friday afternoon was terrible practice. He's like, why didn't you just, why have you phone me now?

[00:15:21] You've ruined my weekend. Why didn't you wait till Monday? I was like if I was, you I'd wanna know going into the weekend, I wouldn't wanna be pause waiting and then, have a weekend of waiting and anxiousness. So I said, look, I'm sorry if you feel that way, but I've just found out today.

[00:15:34] I'm telling you today we try to be really diplomatic. He took very badly and that's the first time. How long I've been here nearly four years, the business is nearly four years old. First time I've, we've like [00:15:45] really had that. So you will like, again, 99.9, 9% of the time. People just wanna hear it. And especially if it's done well.

[00:15:51] So yeah, I think that's probably why people are scared to give negative feedback because they're scared of the reaction. So it does occasionally happen, but for the most part, just doing it tactfully. Concisely and respectfully is a good thing.

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