How to professionally handle a rejected job applicant with a complaint
How do you handle a rejected job applicant in your inbox with a complaint? It can be stressful to be criticised for simply and politely rejecting unsuitable candidates, but these complaints are all part of the process.
Firstly, it’s worth noting that being rejected for countless roles is often a heartbreaking experience. This can cause people to lash out, respond in a rude manner or even send threats.
But as a business owner or hiring manager, it’s important that you do your due diligence here.
Offended applicants can go on to publicly shame your company for doing something as simple as saying ‘no’, so doing some damage control is essential.
So whether you’re receiving sassy, angry or just plain rude responses critiquing your hiring decisions, we’ve got you covered.
Step 1 – Read the complaint
The complaints that you receive from rejected job applicants can vary widely, from a detailed account of their feelings to a simple swear word.
The first step on the road to hopefully mending this broken bridge is to read through the complaint and decide whether a reply is necessary.
This might be a subjective thing, but just know that most disgruntled applicants do need a response.
Step 2 – Assess why they could be so upset
Next I would recommend looking back over your process. Sometimes the issue isn’t with you, but your communications could be partly to blame.
Perhaps your job advert wasn’t specific enough, or your rejection email gave no feedback to the candidate. Maybe you were trigger happy when reviewing applicants and made the wrong call. Anything is possible.
Step 3 – Make any changes and offer an explanation
If you ended up finding problems with your process, it’s a good idea to follow through with your research by making any necessary changes. Then inform the candidate of the changes you make along with an explanation.
If not, it’s a good idea to offer a further explanation of why that candidate in particular wasn’t successful.
In your reply it’s important to stay as factual and professional as possible. A simple sentence offering an explanation followed by a note about future luck in the job search is good practice.
Step 4 – Keep assessing
Don’t burn your bridges, even if your upset candidate has already started a fire.
It’s important to note that you can never predict how someone will respond in these situations. Sometimes a professional explanation will diffuse the situation, but sometimes this can make an upset candidate more volatile.
It’s a good idea to take note of any especially rude or sassy candidates. You’re not obligated to take any kind of abuse, and entering a work environment with someone that responds to rejection with anger might not be a wise choice.
Your own opinion will be your guide if you are constantly receiving abusive emails or voicemails.
Having to handle a rejected job applicant with a complaint can be an intimidating task.
If responding to job applicants is giving you a headache, why not leave it to the experts? DigitalGrads manage all of the recruiting dirty work like advertising, rejecting, shortlisting and screening for your junior roles, so you can get onto the hiring.
If you need any more help responding to job applicants, we’ve got you covered.