Or rather, as an article I saw today put it, how do you treat your Silver Medallists?
Because actually this is probably the most important population for your career brand. People who are good enough to be considered in the final shortlist, interested enough in your company to turn up, but the you have to let down.
Many employers are terrible at this. Take feedback we had recently for a candidate – the client had promised to give them fairly detailed feedback after the assessment centre. This is an actual quote when we asked what feedback they had “I have spoken to the recruiting manager, could you tell him he wasn’t suitable for the position?”
The HR Director for one of my best clients, a manufacturer, used to get back to all candidates on the shortlist, and in fact any that he had interviewed at any stage of the process, and print a nice, but standard rejection letter. But at the bottom, on every single occasion, he wrote a personal note thanking them for their attendance, and hoping that he might see them again soon.
What do you do? Do you just abandon them, or do you get back to them quickly and let them know they haven’t been successful? Do you say that you are still interested in them and would love to be able to keep in touch in case something more suitable appears in the future? Because if that is genuinely how you feel, then that is the approach you should take.
Let’s face it, if they were good enough to get onto the shortlist they are probably good enough to be considered again. And if they’re that good then they are going to get listened to by others.
So treat them right. And keep in touch.
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