Excerpted by an SHRM Blog by Roy Maurer

An organization’s HR team can create advocates out of any applicant—even the rejected ones—by ensuring each candidate has a positive experience. But too many organizations ignore, or blunder through the potentially unpleasant part of the recruitment process in which hopeful candidates must be told “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Delivering bad news can be a daunting task, said Diane Nicholas, a consultant at WK Advisors, a division of executive search firm Witt/Kieffer, based in Oak Brook, Ill. “When companies fail to provide feedback and close the loop with unsuccessful candidates, they miss out on the opportunity to end the process on a high note and ensure that the candidate walks away with a positive lasting impression.”

When candidates are rejected in a dismissive manner—or worse, if they never hear back from an employer at all—that news travels fast, said Brin McCagg, the CEO and founder of RecruitiFi, a crowd-based recruiting platform in New York City. “Whether it’s through social media or word of mouth, potential candidates will get wind of your hiring process. Even a generic response is better than no response.”

Experts agree that HR should be trained to consider the candidate rejection process a vital piece of the company’s recruitment strategy, with immediate and long-term benefits to the company, if done well.

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