Most small businesses today know about the importance of online reputation and the power of social media to help or hurt that reputation. Dozens of websites and rating services, from the majors such as Yelp, Twitter and Facebook to those serving specific business sectors such as travel, are open for anyone to express an opinion.
What many business owners haven’t yet realized, however, is that the so-called “Yelp factor” reaches into the job-interview process as well. With social networks allowing everyone to share their experiences, good and bad, through a wide range of social media platforms, businesses need to be aware of how they deal with job applicants as well as customers.
Rejecting a job candidate the right way can avoid negative comments and finger-pointing, notes Barry Sloane, CEO of Newtek, a firm that offers a variety of small-business services.
Here are some tips on rejecting a job candidate the right way:
• Don’t wait. Prompt notification of a job-seeker’s status significantly reduces the individual’s anxiety and stress. After a decision has been made, let finalists know the outcome.
• Reach out in one of three ways. Ideally, a brief telephone call is preferable. It’s sometimes difficult and uncomfortable, but it’s also the quickest, most direct way to make contact. An email is the next choice and takes little time to compose and send off. Finally, a rejection letter can be sent as long as the tone is right.
• If the job applicant barely missed the mark, or demonstrated talents and abilities that might later be of interest, encourage him or her to “please keep us in mind.” If it’s possible to provide a little feedback on where the applicant fell short (delivered in an upbeat tone), it might offer some insight into areas where he or she can seek improvement for the next job interview. This honest approach is often greatly appreciated by the recipient.
• End on a positive note. Thank the candidate once again for his or her interest in the open position and wish them luck in their search for the right job.
• Don’t include details regarding other candidates. This information is open to misinterpretation and may only aggravate the situation.
Just as applicants can go to Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels to complain about a bad job-hunting experience, when they are treated well they will likely share this news as well. This can be great publicity for your business and assist in the future hunt for qualified job candidates. •