The Data Behind Why Recruiters Must Get Better at Rejecting Candidates

Explained using data and candy

This is an article where I, Simon Werner-Zankl, will show you the importance of rejecting candidates immediately. And share my thoughts on how you as a recruiter should view the rejection part of your work. All explained with something we all love, candy.

How much does a badly handled rejection affect the candidate experience?

There are two parts to look into when rejecting candidates:

  • How do you make candidates unhappy in the rejection process?
  • And also how much a rejection affects your candidate experience?

At Trustcruit we collect feedback from candidates throughout the whole recruitment process, including after rejecting candidates. How happy candidates are and the quality of your candidate experience is measured using Candidate Net Promoter Score.

The Candidate Net Promoter Score is a key metric used by companies to measure and improve their candidate experience and strengthen their employer brand. (Read more about CNPS here).

Enough about us at Trustcruit and the definition of CNPS. Let’s dig into the data!

Today we have 4,9 million datapoints which tell us;

  • From all rejected candidates 23% say they have never even received a rejection
  • If you aim at delivering the rejection notice as fast as you know the candidate will be rejected, the CNPS is -21.9
  • If you don’t or wait delivering the candidate rejection then the CNPS drops to -44.7 😱

Start accepting that candidate rejection is like a bag of candy

When we show our clients their specific data in the rejection phase, they most often state the obvious:

“Looks pretty much as we expected. Now we know we need to improve. Let’s communicate this to our recruiters and hope they will improve.”

It is actually not harder than that because recruiters will improve. No one wants a bad candidate experience and dissatisfied candidates. And the day you have the numbers, is the day your recruiters will start to improve and start rejecting candidates properly.

From talking to many recruiters on this topic, I have found that the difference between recruiters that succeeded and recruiters that do not, can be explained by referring to Swedish candy.


Why you can not choose what candy to eat when rejecting candidates

I am from Sweden, and in Sweden, we have a popular candy called “Gott och Blandat”. It is a bag of mixed sweets and this is how the producer explains the mix of candy:

“Gott & Blandat is a unique blend of sweet, salty and sour sweets. The wine gum mixture has juicy fruit flavors and soft texture with a fine sugar shell. In the bag, you will also find our famous “revolver licorice”, as one of the absolute favorites.”.

Some people eat all the different kinds of sweets, ranging from juicy fruit-flavored ones to salty licorice pieces. Some do not like the fruit-juicy ones and others do not like the salty licorice (my favorite by the way 🤤) so they expect someone else to eat them OR they throw them away 😰.

What to do when rejecting candidates

As a recruiter, you don’t get to choose here, you have to eat all the candy! If you don’t accept that every candidate, how far or close to getting the job, needs to get a rejection and as soon as you know it. This will place you in the lower parts of the quality score on the Candidate Net Promoter Score (CNPS) scale.

But instead accepting that you have to eat all the sweets and you don’t get to choose will definitely improve your CNPS. Just look at the data!

Following this rule is the way to achieve great results that contributes to a positive candidate experience when rejecting candidates.🍬

Get notified on new blog updates

+ get our popular candidate experience ebook for free