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Rejecting a job applicant? Here's how to do it with tact

by , 04 November 2013
You need to be careful when interviewing and recruiting new members of staff. Why? Because if a potential candidate feels he didn't get the job based on unfair discrimination, he can take you to the Labour Court. Here's how to decline a candidate and make sure he doesn't take you to the Labour Court for unfair discrimination.

According to Smart Recruiters, to hiring managers, communication is often the number one most important trait they look for in candidates. And yet, many companies don't provide thorough communication for the job seeker to move on.

Smart Recruiters adds, 'it's in our nature to avoid what is uncomfortable. We want to be liked, enjoy life and turning down a candidate isn't on a list of most businesses must-dos.'

The reality is that as uncomfortable as it may be to decline a job applicant, you need to do it. And you need to do it in a manner that won't have you defending an unfair discrimination claim.

Here's how to reject a job applicant with tact

According to the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service, you must provide feedback to each candidate. Your feedback must be fair and substantiated.

You must give specific details of why the candidate didn't make the grade, but only if he asks for this. Focus on criteria of the position itself. Don't include any statements or reasons that could be seen as discriminatory.

While there's no legal requirement for keeping documents, it's a good idea for you to hang on to them for a bit. Just in case you need to prove you acted fairly in your recruitment process.

Here's a sample letter of regret you can use to turn down a job applicant:

Date of letter

Candidate's name

Postal address (can be sent to email)

Dear Candidate,

Application for employment

We have received your application for the position of ……………

Unfortunately, your application has not been successful at this time.

Thank you for the interest shown in our organisation and we wish you the best of luck in your future career endeavours.

Yours faithfully,

(Authorised person's name)


Remember, your job seeker has invested time, stress and the emotion in you. So treat candidates with respect. Don't leave them in relationship limbo. Turn down a candidate is with honesty, dignity and grace.

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