Communication is key. The reputation of your organization is on the line whether you’re extending a job offer or notifying a candidate that you’re making a different choice. The time between a job offer extended by you, the negotiation process, and the acceptance of the offer by the candidate who becomes an employee is a liminal space.
Keep the status of your search under wraps and set a tight timeline out of respect for other job applicants. If you are aware that this process may not result in an accepted offer and you may need to go to a second candidate, you will want to move through the process respectfully and quickly, in order to keep additional excellent candidates within reach. We recommend the approach of “underpromise and overdeliver” when it comes to timeline. If you think that you may get back to candidates by a certain time, give yourself a cushion beyond that time. Rarely is hearing early a problem, but hearing late is problematic both for the candidate and for their perception of your organization.
If a candidate had an interview of any kind with you and will not be advanced to the next round or will not receive an offer, personal outreach is in order to inform them they were not offered the position. This should be done quickly following the decision, aligned with the timeline you have developed. Any communication can be as simple as a short email:
Thank you again for your interest in our (position name). It was a pleasure speaking with you and learning more about your background and experience. I want to update you about our next steps.
After careful consideration, we will not be advancing your application in our process. While we appreciate your deep connection to and understanding of our mission and work, we are pursuing candidates who demonstrated (deeper and more varied/different expertise/experience) on the (subject matter/pedagogy) side. We wish you all the best as you seek out the next step in your career journey, and look forward to the opportunity when our paths may cross again.
The Gender Equity in Hiring Project believes that you and your organization can shift toward equity, one small step at a time. We look forward to helping you tap into the greatest human potential our field has to offer, and hire equitably in the process.