Interviewing - Successful Selection

by Jane Tredgett

Informing (all) applicants

Having sorted out which candidates you will invite for interview, it is important to contact all those who have applied and inform them – one way or the other. It’s a chore, but companies that fail to do this may, justifiably, acquire an unwelcome reputation that deters future candidates from bothering to apply.

An invitation to interview

When inviting candidates to interview make sure you explain

  • Where the interview will be held (address, which building, which room and so on)
  • When it is (date and time)
  • What the process will be (how long you visualise it taking and the format)
  • Who will be conducting the interview
  • Any documentation you require them to bring
  • How and by when they should confirm their ability to attend
  • A request for information on any special needs they may have, such as wheelchair access
  • Any site specific information, such as parking/reception/security arrangements and so on.

Be prepared to have some flexibility over when the interview is held – a good candidate, who would be ideal for the job, may have existing work commitments to honour and may not be able to attend one fixed date if that is all you offer.

A rejection letter

Remember: if the letter is badly expressed, how you turn a candidate down in writing may come back to haunt you! However, it is important to send a letter rather than send nothing, as this would be seen as rude.

Ensure you do not make any discriminatory remarks about the person having children, being disabled, race, religion and so on. A decision to not pursue an application based on any of these factors is against the law and you may end up with the lengthy and laborious process of talking to lawyers.

If you are unsure about what to say and not say, ask HR to help you construct a suitable template.

Always thank candidates for their interest.

Keep the letter brief, polite and positive – you never can tell who the candidate knows (their best friend may be the ideal candidate for another vacancy!) and you want to help them keep a positive image of the company, even though they have been unsuccessful.

Explain in general terms why their application was unsuccessful: ‘We felt other candidates had more relevant technical knowledge’, for example.

Expressions such as ‘on this occasion’ or ‘this time’ can help soften the blow of a rejection letter and give the impression the candidate was not suitable for this job, rather than being someone you wouldn’t touch with a barge pole.