“Let’s just be friends”
“I don’t have time for a relationship”
“It’s not you….it’s me”
“We have found a better qualified candidate"
“You are not the right fit for the team at this time but let’s keep in touch”
“You have not been selected for the position”
Is there really a difference?
These are phrases that skirt the main issue but let the recipient know there is something you did not like or that they were not a match… you are too chicken to give them the reason.
I am guilty of all of the above. I single-handedly “just friended” countless boys in my youth. I have not hired hundreds of people via a form letter. Now don’t get me wrong, I earned my stripes in the HR world and even ran a compliance hotline. I understand the legal ramifications of insensitive statements when not hiring a candidate. But, as of late, I have lost the ability to sugar coat the truth.
I really care to know the people I am interviewing. Both the candidate and I invest significant time in the recruiting process. It seems I owe it to a candidate who has spent hours interviewing, and maybe even traveled onsite, to provide candid, yet thoughtful, feedback if they are not selected. We forge a relationship during the hiring process and a canned answer from HR can feel like a slap in the face.
“I am totally confident in your ability to do the job today but am concerned with your growth potential and we need people that can quickly advance”
“During your onsite interview you spoke as though you already had the job because you worked for the hiring manager previously; we need people willing to earn their role on the team”
“We need someone with a bit more executive presence”
Have I gone rogue? Maybe. Would you tell an applicant they weren’t hired because the team felt they were not a culture fit? Would you disclose if anonymous or back-door references were unfavorable? In this social media world where people flee from direct contact, do you engage in direct and honest conversations with applicants?
We are eager to hear your thoughts on this topic. How are you conveying “We are just not that into you”?