Managing unsuccessful candidates

It is important to deal positively with unsuccessful applicants, particularly if the Committee's first choice candidate is not approved, or rejects the offer of appointment.

When the successful applicant has formally accepted the offer of employment, the unsuccessful applicants are to be advised of the outcome.

  • Applicants who were not short listed, and may not previously have been informed, should be advised in a timely manner by using the template letter/email generated from the ANU Recruit system.
  • The unsuccessful short-listed applicants should be advised of the outcome of the process in a courteous manner.
  • The Chair of the Selection Committee is responsible for providing feedback.

Arranging the meeting

Ensure that enough time is available, and that privacy and confidentiality are maintained. If the applicant cannot attend the office, feedback should be provided over the telephone.

Prepare for the discussion

Check the selection criteria, read through any notes, and/or Selection Committee Report, and consult other Committee members as appropriate.

Providing feedback

The discussion should emphasise the strengths of the applicant and recommend how any weaknesses (if identified) can be rectified.

Give positive feedback first

Tell the applicant about the areas in which they presented well and aspects that impressed the Committee. These may be application, overall presentation at the interview or specific skills, knowledge or experience related to the selection criteria. If the job is academic, there may be feedback on the applicant's public lecture/presentation.

Only discuss the applicant's performance in relation to the specific selection criteria. This is not the time or place for overall performance feedback. Avoid personal criticisms, and do not enter into disagreements.

Never discuss another applicant or their performance.

Listen, acknowledge, and show empathy.

Offer positive suggestions for improvement. These may include:

  • more detailed preparation
  • more detailed information
  • more specific examples in relation to the criteria
  • additional experience, training or qualifications that might make them more competitive.

Close with are statement of the applicant's positive qualities.

You will need to take brief notes of the discussion, and place these on the recruitment file.

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