Thank You for the Rejection

7.9.2020 | Once you send a “rejection” email to a candidate, you typically don’t expect to hear back from them. If you do, it’s usually because they are requesting feedback or inquiring about other opportunities. However, rejected candidates are now replying with an unexpected response – “thank you.”

Shannon Nibert, a human resources and talent acquisition professional, was pleasantly surprised by the response she received from a candidate whom she turned down. She shared the following on LinkedIn:


Similar posts are appearing on social media as candidates express their appreciation of communication and compassion; and while this feedback is notable, so is the timing. Amid the pandemic, two things are happening: 1) Hiring employers are dealing with larger volumes of applicants and 2) Candidates are fiercely competing for jobs during uncertain times. In other words, a growing number of candidates are interacting with your employer brand and they are probably feeling pretty vulnerable.

If there was ever a time for communication and compassion, it is now.


As Nibert says in her post, “just communicate!” Good news or bad news, candidates want to hear from you. They also value transparency throughout the hiring process. Did you receive their application? How long will it be before they hear from you? What are next steps? And (of course), did they get the job?

Pre-pandemic, many employers struggled with candidate communication. Surveys continuously show that candidates are frustrated with employer communication; in fact, a majority of them don’t expect to hear back from companies after they apply. Just by sending an automated message to each applicant, you can exceed expectations right from the start.

Show Compassion

Not only did Nibert’s candidate appreciate receiving a response, they also valued the tone of the communication. As they pointed out, “being rejected is hard to take and leaves some of us feeling hopeless.”

We’ve all been there. Whether it was years ago or just last week, we know that looking for a job is a job in itself and the process is riddled with highs and lows. Factor in a record-high unemployment rate and a global pandemic, and a candidate’s stress rises exponentially.

A kind response goes a long way.

Candidates Won’t Forget

Candidates never forget how they were treated, especially during challenging times. Today’s candidate may be tomorrow’s customer or your dream candidate for a future position. Regardless, their interaction with your brand affects your reputation and your business.

Bottom line: Communication and compassion are wise investments.

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