Turn down candidates the right way; you owe it to them.
I’m writing this as a message to all interviewers. If you turn down a candidate, for whatever reason, they deserve to know why and how could they have done better.
I've attached an email thread conversation (from last year) between me and a candidate who I did not move ahead with:
If you turning a candidate down for any of these reasons — behavior, mode of conduct, unprofessionalism, lack of skill-set, not enough experience, fake work or something else, it’s your responsibility to call it out and let them know why you are rejecting them. Extend a helping hand and communicate how can they improve.
Here are a few pointers:
- Be as specific as possible. Vague, cloudy feedback doesn't help the applicant and your lack of good articulation leaves a bad impression too!
- Sometimes you like the candidate for a lot of things but some specific attributes don't work out. You may want to consider staying in touch -- adding them to your network, dropping occasional "hi"s and such. Remember, every person you interview is also part of the bigger community.
- It's understandable if you do not have the time to send across a detailed response. It's not practical sometimes. However, it's a healthy practice to leave an opportunity with the candidate to get back to you in case they seek further, detailed feedback. In my experience, most do not get back.
15 minutes of your time can help someone build their career.