Such is the norm in my current realm, rejections are not too difficult to come by when applying for ALLLLLL THE JOBS! It just seems to be a part of the process… a big part of the process… like, a big enough part I should start a “Wall of Rejections” like my parents did back in their post-graduate days. But in all honesty, I can’t even handle someone looking at me funny without getting riled up about it, much less face a wall of “No’s” every morning when I wake up. I just. Can’t. Oh, sadness… Right, rejections.
Something I have noticed more and more in my recent rejections is… they are kind of borderline, passive aggressively rude. I know, coming from someone who is highly sensitive to criticism, this isn’t much of a groundbreaking revelation or likely to be taken seriously. But think about it. Really think about it.
So many rejections that many amazing, talented, and often qualified job candidates receive are written in a style that can make them feel like anything but the catch they are. And I find that heartbreaking.
Using myself as an example, I worked nearly the entirety of college–I prioritized my studies to complete two majors and a minor in four years; I took on multiple internships to gain experience in my field; I held officer positions in several committees at my university; I found time to give back to my community between studying and working. I’m AMAZING (she said humbly) and I have little to show for it in the job market. There are many graduates from my class who did all I did and more within four years and even for them the result is the same–nada. We are all still getting passed over for candidates who are “more qualified,” “better equipped,” and “more experienced” than US.
Granted, that last part most rejections have the decency to exclude, but it is pretty strongly implied. Essentially, you’re pretty great, but just not quite good enough. Almost, but not quite. But, you know, good luck on that job search. You’ll make someone out there very happy. Just not us. And, sure, a couple messages like this is okay… I guess. But when everyone is consistently telling you how neat you are but just not for them, you’re pretty much left in the dust, inadvertently turned away by everyone (each under the false pretense that someone out there will hire you). You see, that system doesn’t really work, yet it’s the system we have.
Awesome people feel not quite as awesome because they are only reminded of what they lack, not what they hold that is of value, and, even then, they are reminded in the vaguest way possible. Which is why I propose The Kind Rejection. As in, yes, it’s still a rejection (you’re not going to get a secret job offer while being told no–even if it’s a nice no), but it is a rejection that is worded nicely, politely, honestly, and detailed.
Why not take the time to detail a candidate your reasoning for not selecting them for the job rather than simply brushing over the justification with a vague phrase? “Underqualified”? What key qualifications were they missing? “Inexperienced”? What kind of experience would you like to see? Essentially, what can a candidate do to receive strong consideration for the job in question or a similar job? Don’t simply call out a recipient for what they lack and leave it at that. What are they lacking specifically? What would you like to see more of in this candidate if you were to receive an application from them in the future?
But don’t stop there. Why not balance out the negative with something positive, something complimentary–pun not intended? It’s likely there is at least something to like about the rejected job candidate; tell them so. Everyone is awesome in some way. What did you find particularly intriguing about this person? Do they have strong writing skills? Are they are incredibly personable? Are they are highly software savvy? Tell them. But then also tell them how they can further develop this strong suit, how can they can highlight their top qualities. In other words, what does this candidate need to do to be more awesome or how can they play up their awesomeness?
Lastly, there may be a little something extra you may want to tell the candidate, some helpful advice to offer. You began your rejection with why you didn’t choose the candidate, what they were lacking, and then you reminded said candidate of their talents. But now, if you want to be especially helpful, you must advise the candidate on, essentially, how they can be better, how they can improve–without making them feel like they are a less than individual. Whether this be elaboration on an aforementioned lack of job experience or a top-notch strength or a suggestion on the candidate’s next career move or maybe advice on what not to do at their next interview, your can hold real power–especially if you can offer it wrapped in a positively-worded package.
All in all, the biggest priority in The Kind Rejection–aside from the rejection itself–is to be kind. Of course you have a job to do aside from rejecting job candidates, you have other responsibilities. But there is no reason why this part of the job cannot be done in a positive manner. Aside from merely doing what is right and honest and good, you should want to provide a candidate with a kind rejection so as to maintain positive relations.
Clearly, this individual is interested in your organization and though they may not have been a sufficient fit for one of the current jobs offered, they may be ideal for a future position. If you were consistently honest and kind to this person during the initial hiring and rejection processes, they will be more likely and willing to try their hand at an alternate position with your organization in the future. You get a super awesome employee to hold a job at your organization and the previously rejected candidate gets a job–all thanks to kind critiques and advice offered through your Kind Rejection. Win-win!
If you ask me, you really can’t go wrong with this idea. Certainly, you can’t do any worse than telling me I’m essentially not enough for a job, or not as good as someone else. So The Kindness Rejection is at least worth a shot, right?!
So, was this pitch okay? Did I win you over? …Oh, I don’t have enough experience in sales? There’s someone with more relevant experience than I? Okay… I’ll just wrap up all my hopes and dreams in this ole college degree of mine and see myself out…
Hire me, Friends… Please.