Reject your applicants? Why not invite them to something else?

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HR standard letters are **** [fill in the word]

I am sure that some time in your life, you have received one of those “potted” rejection letters from an HR department.  Years ago, they said, “we regret to inform you . . .”  These days they say something like “the applications were of very high quality but on this occasion  .  .  .”  Somehow they always manage to be rude.

Do we have to act as if we hate the applicants?

Years ago, when a recruitment department came under my division at Coopers & Lybrand Associates, I would ask our consultants: what has this person done to offend you?  And as this is a smallish town, shouldn’t we at least take into account that the people we reject today may be our clients tomorrow?

Shouldn’t we take the trouble to say why we have rejected someone?

I insisted that every letter, every letter, include a least one phrase that gave the specific reason that we had rejected them.

Couldn’t we give people access to reports about them?

In my psychology practice, I took a stronger stand.  I insisted that every report was copied to the candidate.  They saw exactly the same report as my client.  And I would sit down and go through it with them ~ several times if necessary.  I have even remarked tests by hand when a candidate disbelieved the results.

Can’t we resolve the worries that students have about our marking?

I have carried out exactly the same policy with first year students in a class of 850 students.  If they queried their results, I took themseriously.  There is always a first time for a computer to mess up.  Students appreciated it and I am sure that reputation for being reasonable reduced requests for manual re-markes.

Managing rejections graciously

Now I am no wordsmith and I am not great at writing charming letters.

If you are, you might like to look at writer, Paulo Coelho‘s method of inviting people to his birthday party.  He is able to offer 30 invitations or so to his 1  000 000 plus readers.  Look at his methods and his charming way of letting people down engagingly.  We can learn a lot!

 

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3 thoughts on “Reject your applicants? Why not invite them to something else?

  1. Heck, most the time today they don’t even bother to send you a letter at all. It’s like you never applied. (This from watching my daughter go through the process.) When did employers become so rude?

  2. I am not sure when they got so rude – somewhere they morphed from formal to offensive.

    That’s why I loved reading Paolo Coelho – one of the best published authors alive today and he has time to talk to people everyday on Twitter – amazing!

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