Image Source: MrJCarroll
While we do not hand out “Courtesy Regret Cards” (that would be bad form and insensitive) -- an important part of a recruiter’s job is the effective handling of regretting those job candidates who will not be receiving a job offer once the selection process is completed. Most recruiters and employers actually do an effective job in the regretting of job candidates. But enough of them do not so the complaints and ill will persist.
Leaving a job applicant hanging out there with a delayed, or no decision, is one of the biggest mistakes employers and recruiters make in the employment selection process – particularly after the interview process. It is one of the biggest complaints job candidates, who have made it to actual face-to-face interviews, have from the recruitment experience. A negative experience that becomes a sore point and they are happy to share with family, friends and complete strangers.
The "regret", in a way, is actually appreciated by the job candidate – if the choices are: a long delay or no decision communication at all. It brings closure to their status in the employment selection process. The regret allows them to move on – and if done professionally can have a positive impact with a job candidate who may be pursued for employment opportunities in the future. When that happens an effective decline has a strategic value wherein that rejected candidate has been brought back into contention – and possibly a job offer.
It goes without saying but must be said -- that respected job candidates are appreciative job candidates even when they’ve been regretted. In fact, they can become an effective referral source of other professionals in key disciplines.
Therefore, the sooner the “regret” is provided the better -- and the more succinctly and efficiently such matters are handled the better for all concerned. Whether verbally given or in writing — care must be taken in terms of being clear, concise and sensitive. Any ambiguity will invite controversy. Any insensitivity will attract complaints and bad will.
It is in a recruiter’s, and employer's, best interest to be strategic in the candidate regret process. Technical and professional communities have always been connected by mutual interests. The dramatic strides in social media has heighted that connectivity to the advantage or disadvantage of those who leverage it or disrespect it.