How not to totally deflate your not so successful candidate!


Scenario – You’re an employer or a recruitment agency or simply interviewing someone for a job you’re offering, and you have a bunch of young (or not so young) hopefuls arriving for the interview! Challenge is they don’t fit the bill! What do you do? It’s simple, by the second or third question you already know how this is going down, so you minimise the interview and hit them with the infamous “we’ll be in touch soon” line!

I could be stereotyping here but very often, that’s how it starts and that’s how it ends!

Question is … is this helpful to the candidate and what would it cost to shift the dial on the outcome of this interview or conversation? Look, I get it, as a recruiter/employer you don’t have time to waste, after all, time is money and yes, some candidates are just not what you’re looking for. Surely there is a way to get good out of the time you have albeit in the name of “greater good” if not for a direct benefit for you or your organisation!

So here are a few things that comes to mind when I think about how to let someone know they, not a fit for the job without totally deflating their enthusiasm to find work and just merely saying for lack of better words, “don’t call us, we’ll call you” particularly if they are young and inexperienced!!!

  • First up – Make it a point to identify the candidate’s career journey…..…isn’t it obvious just looking at their age you will know if they are young and fresh maybe even inexperienced, perhaps inexperienced but qualified or older and trying to land a job or seeking new opportunities. It’s not difficult especially when you’re interviewing someone to quickly understand the sacrifices made to study or go out searching for a job, for a better life even! Respect where they are at and where their position leaves them.
  • Be upfront – Like I said, usually by the first few questions one normally already has a view of the possibility of success for this candidate! If you know it isn’t going to work why not (without being exposed as I do understand different companies have different HR rules) explain what you are looking for and possible gaps and if your rules allow you to be upfront about why the candidate may not be a fit. If you are hiring and dealing with people you should be able to use your emotional intelligence to communicate this.
  •  Don’t just share gaps or the negatives, provide a few tips on closing those gaps. While you may not have all the answers instead of just telling someone “sorry you’re no good” perhaps take a moment to reflect honestly and explain what’s missing and what they can do to get better and try again – perhaps, take a short course, improve communication skills, refer them to appropriate reading material or direct them to more suitable job options where possible.
  •  Encourage them to try again. I’m referring mostly to young inexperienced graduates/unemployed youth here and so I’ve heard so often it’s been said that this generation appears to want instant gratification, as such this can mean that disappointment and having the will to continue and try again can settle in very easily. We need to spur them on regardless of the circumstance. Tell them it’s ok to improve and try again.

If you’re a candidate and your reading this… remember you will get people that help and encourage you along the way however it’s not the norm so while you may or may not have the experience above – don’t be deflated by negative interviews and missed opportunities, instead choose to cheer yourself on- don’t give up – ask questions and be committed to improve your shortcomings and do better next time.

Xx – for The Experience Factory


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