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Calling candidates: how to considerately follow up

In our most recent survey, we asked roughly 300 hourly hiring managers about their interviewing and hiring practices. They divulged why they’re hiring, how they handle walk-in applicants and how they like job seekers to follow up after turning in an application. Employers also let us know how they reached out to candidates after an interview, specifically if candidates would not be receiving a job offer.

Letting candidates know they’re hired is one of the highlights of the hiring process; however, informing a candidate they will not be getting the job is a little more difficult. When it comes to letting job seekers know about final hiring decisions, 35 percent of the hiring managers we surveyed did not inform candidates, in any form or fashion, that they would not be getting a job offer after an interview.

Sure it’s not the most fun part of the process, but giving a job seeker a definitive answer allows him or her to move on to other opportunities and builds your credibility as an employer. Here are some tips to help you get more comfortable with contacting candidates:

Determine the best follow up method for you. After an interview, there are a few ways to follow up with candidates to let them know your hiring decision. Twenty-nine percent of hiring managers contacted applicants by email; others relied on telephone calls or letting candidates know on the spot. Work with your managers to determine the follow up method that’s best for your hiring process. Pinpointing what your team is most comfortable with can help make following up seem less daunting.  

Respond in a timely manner. Timing is everything when it comes to effectively following up. If you’re offering the candidate a job, wait too long and you could lose them to a competitor’s offer. If you’re not offering a job, wait too long and not only is it disrespectful to the job seeker, but you essentially put their job search on hold. Our survey revealed that 30 percent of hiring mangers typically wait one to three days before letting a candidate know he or she is not receiving a job offer. Anything longer than a week might be pushing it, so choose a time frame within a few days that won’t keep job seekers waiting too long.

Let them down easy. When it comes to interacting with job seekers, we can’t stress enough the importance of respect. This is especially true when you’re letting a candidate know you’ve decided to hire someone else. Whether you’re making a call, sending an email or talking face to face, professionalism and respect are key. Don’t beat around the bush, be straightforward with the job seeker about your hiring decision. They will appreciate the time you took to reach out to and let them know your final decision.

Following up after an interview doesn’t have to be a terrifying experience. Consider these suggestions and the next phone call you make might be a little easier. Learn some more hiring tips on our blog.

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Imani is a content specialist at Snagajob. When she’s not writing content for employers to read, she can be found catching up with pop culture, updating her blog or channeling her inner rock star at karaoke.

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