The rejection phone call

08 May

The rejection phone call

The recruitment process is a long journey that is made up of many important aspects, one of the most important being made up of two types of phone calls; the phone call to the successful candidate and the phone call to the unsuccessful candidate. Despite this, getting back to unsuccessful candidates is something that many employers and recruiters don’t seem to find necessary.

It is no secret that calling a candidate and offering them a position is much easier than calling them to inform them that they were unsuccessful. However, to put your own comfort above the comfort of the candidates would be selfish. While you are avoiding an awkward phone call, they are waiting to hear back from you. Don’t leave them in a state of uncertainty based on the assumption that they will understand that ‘the silence can only mean one thing’. There are plenty of people who interpret ‘no news as good news’.

I recently sat in on a number of phone calls during a recruitment process coordinated by my manager for learning and development purposes. I was expecting the phone call to the unsuccessful candidate to be extremely unpleasant and awkward, I was wrong. The person on the other end of the line was polite and grateful that my manager had rang. She was very interested in receiving feedback and was excited to use this feedback to better herself in her future interviews. She was just as polite as when I had called her to invite her to an interview. This experience allowed me to get an understanding of why an email is not good enough in these situations. It is a conversation that needs to be had, and a conversation that doesn’t necessarily have to be unpleasant.

Instead of causing yourself dread and avoiding these phone calls, change your perspective. View it as an opportunity to provide the candidate with useful feedback that will assist them in their future endeavours. While disappointed, the candidate will be grateful for the opportunity. Understand that this person was interested in your business and went through the trouble of preparing an application and undergoing the interview process (most likely taking time off work to do so). Aim to provide the candidate with an experience just as good as the experience you would aim to provide a client or customer.

By refusing to provide the common courtesy of getting back to unsuccessful candidates, you are simply unnecessarily burning a bridge and damaging your reputation as a professional business in the market. You are needlessly relaying to the candidate that they are not worth a phone call and eventually, this will tarnish your employer brand.


Gemma Jamieson , HR Coordinator

Gemma brings enthusiasm and passion for the industry to wattsnext – having committed to gaining the knowledge and skills to allow her to be a versatile Human Resource practitioner by undertaking her University studies at QUT, an internship at Avenues Early Learning and a workplace learning unit at Sedgam, Gemma will support the team through her amazing administrative skills and general HR Support.

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