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Recruitment question: 'Do I have to tell an internal applicant why I rejected her?'

by , 19 May 2014
Let's say you want to hire a new manager. You first advertise the position internally because your recruitment policy says so.

Jessica, one of your employees applies for the position. But, after you assess her application, you realise she isn't a suitable candidate and turn her down for the job.

Now the big question is: Do you have to give reasons for her unsuccessful internal application? Let's have a look.


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You don't have to give an internal applicant reasons for your decision to reject her for the post

South African labour law says that if you turn down an internal applicant you only have to give her the reason if she accuses you of discrimination. This way you can prove your decision was fair.

The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service says it's not a good idea to withhold reasons. If you do, your employee will never know how she needs to improve.

So, send a letter of regret and say that the applicant can get feedback from the interviewer or HR Manager on the reasons for not being successful.

You must deal with internal applicants in a sensitive manner.

In fact, we recommend you use this tip when turning down internal applicants…


Employment Contracts, Recruiting and Independent Contractors…

Make sure you use a legally correct recruitment procedure and updated employment contracts in your company.

There's a fine line between determining whether someone is an independent contractor or an employee. Don't get caught out. Use this independent contractor policy and checklist to ensure you get it right every time!


Advise internal job applicants as soon as possible if they're unsuccessful

Don't prolong the pain. Tell the applicant she didn't make it as soon as you can.

The Loose Leaf Service says 'it's a serious employee relations error to keep employees in the dark for longer than necessary.'

What's more… If your internal applicant decides to bring a case of unfair practice on the basis that you turned him down, the CCMA will see your failure to inform her as an aggravating factor!

Our advice is that you don't wait for an employee to accuse you of discrimination. Tell her why her application wasn't successful from the onset. It's good labour practice and it'll help ensure your employees improve and aren't disgruntled after every recruitment drive.

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