Rejection a learning experience

Rejection in any thing be it a job, friendship or love is difficult to handle from the recipients’ point of view.

Many career aspirants are left high and dry when organizations reject them after conducting interviews and give no valid reason for dong so. However, informing a candidate about reasons for his/her rejection is an HR trend fast catching up as a valuable practice in India Inc these days.

According to head of recruitment, candidates are potential brand ambassadors for your company. Even if the candidates not good / relevant, he / she will talk to then other people about experience with your company. You may also want to revisit these candidates in the future. So the company should close the loop in a professional manner with the rejected candidates.

However Head HR – Raw Materials Tata Steels Ltd has mixed views about this practice he says, ‘My idealistic response is yes’. In view of the fact that transparency in all HR processes is an important ingredient, therefore in all fairness the job aspirant should be informed the reasons for the rejection. But the practical response is no. As a society we have still not matured enough to be able to handle this sort of communication. Rejection in any thing be it a job, friendship or love is a difficult situation to handle from the recipients’ point of view. Moreover at times, the difference between candidates is very marginal and then it gets increasingly more difficult top attribute specific reasons for rejection. Also, there are instances where candidate who has been rejected today is selected sometime down the road. Therefore there will be a contradiction if specific reasons are cited for the earlier rejection.

Many organizations today are actually taking up this practice and the results are certainly commendable. So, how do these organizations go about informing candidates about why they were rejected? At DCBL; it is one of the SOPs in the recruitment process and irrespective of the level they reach in the selection process, as a mandate they inform all candidates of the outcome. The communication is either directly to the candidate or through the recruitment agency (if the candidate has come through them). In terms of the reasons we simply tell the real reason whether it is inadequate experience gap in hard / soft skills cultural misfit etc.

HR Head, Broadridge India points out ‘Yes we do practice this policy. Typically we revert on the status of the candidature via email to all, however for those who clear a few levels of interviews, we do discuss he same with them’. At Broadridge, they have rolled out an iFIT India Future is Today initiative called ABLE – attract build, lead and engage wherein we ensure that the focus is on getting the right talent for the right job and the cultural fit is also given prime importance. In continuation to this, we have rolled out a BBI – behavioral based interviewing training program for all our interviews, which not only targets getting the right people in, but also helps people to deal with providing inputs to the candidates for rejection. In fact, we use he technique called feed forward which ensures that areas of improvements are highlighted in a positive manner.

A win-win situation:

The practice of informing rejected candidates is fast catching up in India Inc with more and more organizations taking it up. Experts say that this practice not only benefits the candidate, but also the organization as well. So, how does informing a candidate about reasons for rejecting him/her help a organization and the candidate as well? Second, we have experienced that candidates who were rejected by us have referred their friends / colleagues to us based on our feedback! And a few of them have actually got hired by us. Intrinsic in the value that an organization has for a potential resources for the industry, appropriate feedback to a candidate will go a long way in aiding one to develop himself/ herself and gearing up for the future.

The reasons for non-fitment across candidates vary. By informing them, we ensure that they are aware of their blind spots and can work on them. In fact, each time we give inputs, it’s on the guidelines of the johari window i.e. each individual has four quadrants and we need to ensure that the feed forward mechanism actually helps them understand priorities for self and make an informed career decision because at the end of the day, the individuals is responsible for how his / her a career shapes and for that, it’s important to know one self and be aware, which this mechanism to an extent addresses.

Hence it is not always necessary that candidates make it though every interview they are called for. But knowing why they could not make it certainly helps them plan better for their future and also says a lot your good policies. And HR can pay a huge role to ensure just that.