What is everyone's suggestions on the best way to let someone know they are not a fit for a position? I am always very honest and let the candidate know any kind of feedback we got from the client, but sometimes we get no feedback at all. I usually always let the candidate know I will keep them in mind for other opportunities with similar skill sets.
It still is very hard to let a candidate down, especially when you as the recruiter even thought they were the "perfect fit". Sometimes I have had the opportunity to re-sell the candidate to the client, which in that case still didn't work out!
In the end, I think establishing and maintaining good relationships with each person you work with, will most likely result in positive feedback throughout the process. Whether the person gets hired or not, always being up front and honesty from day 1 is usually the best route to take especially in an extremely competitive industry.
Would love you hear everyone else's feedback!
My feedback is to always give feedback. Lots of times they are perfect fits, but their presentation is flawed. This feedback is most helpful because it is improvable.
Sometimes the client will say "don't tell him I said it, but..." Then you have to use discretion and tact.
As you put above, about honesty - that is always the best way to be then the same pitfals can be avoided in the future.
You may also have to put it across in a less direct way as you want to continue working with them.
Having no feedback come back I find frustrating and happens more than I would like it to, again you have to be honest - its not about just selling the candidate to the vacancy/company its also selling the vacancy/company to the candidate. In some spheres no news may be good news, but when it comes to feedback - its a vital part of selling your company to a potential candidate, even if it's not positive.
Again always apply tact as you need both parties to succeed!
Being able to give honest and complete feedback to a candidate, especially if it's bad news, starts during your first contact with them.
This is when you are explaining how the relationships works:
Step 1) you set up the interview,
Step 2) the candidate does exactly what you tell them to do in the interview,
Step 3) the candidate calls you with feedback on the interview as they leave the site,
Step 4) you promise to always give them the complete and unvarnished truth as to the employer feedback, good, bad or ugly.
Then you say to the candidate, in regards to the employer feedback, "you can appreciate that, can't you?" Get a "yes" from them, and then when the time comes to tell them the employer has rejected them for the position, you start off reminding them that you were going to be brutally honest about the feedback. Then give it to them in its entirely. Afterwards you point out that this has been a painful but important learning process which will surely result in a better fit next time.
They will then send you a thank-you card.
Honest and timely feedback, positive or negative is supremley important. As a Recruiter, there is a likely chance that an opening may come across your desk that this person may also qualify for. If you treat them with respect and honesty from the get-go, they will be very receptive to working with you in the future, or even referring other candidates to you.
When a client gives you little to no feedback, let them know that - sometimes there is no specific reason other than they have found someone else that is a strong culture fit. Even though you are delivering disappointing news, it is still your job to deliver that news in a timely manner with professionalism, tact and an honest approach.
Also - as an aside - I rarely tell a candidate or client that someone is a "perfect fit"...I may say a strong fit or someone is a solid candidate for a company / position, but with three people at the table - you, the candidate, and the client - opinions differ and what you may perceive as perfect may be vastly different than the other two.