Letting them down gently

Subject: Letting them down gently
From: Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- FS -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Thu, 19 Oct 1995 16:06:55 +0800

Susan Fowler <sfowler -at- EJV -dot- COM> wrote:

> Reminds me of a time I was interviewing writers for a job. One gentleman had
> most of the necessary credentials but not all. We found someone we liked
> better, and sent thank-you notes to the runners-up, including him.

> Big mistake in this case. He called up, raving: "Why didn't you hire me! I
> have everything you need! You're making a big mistake!" ...

> My superior, the receptionist, and I carefully wrote his name down so that we
> would never, ever, interview or talk to him again.

When you're interviewing writers, remember that they often only think of
their own ability to the job. You can let them down gently by explaining
that they're indeed well qualified for the job, but you interviewed several
other people, all of whom could have done a fine job. You were lucky enough
to be able to pick the best from a number of suitable people, rather than
have to choose the least unsuitable (it happens). The successful applicant
happened to have more experience/higher qualifications/a nicer smile.
Thanks for applying and we hope you apply again if another job comes up.

This way you're letting them know that you didn't consider them unsuitable,
so they're less likely to take it as a personal rejection.

Once I had to sift through 80+ resumes to select 10 people to interview.
Most of the 10 we would have been very happy to take. The two we eventually
picked were terrific. Perhaps the 'thank you' letter could let them know
that the fact they were interviewed meant that they were rated highly.

Stuart Burnfield (slb -at- fs -dot- com -dot- au) Voice: +61 9 328 8288
Functional Software Fax: +61 9 328 8616
PO Box 192
Leederville, Western Australia, 6903

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