4 years ago
March 24, 2020

7 Tips for Following Up With the Candidates You Don’t Hire

Following up is an important part of the sales process. It’s also very important when recruiting sales talent, even for the people you don’t choose to hire. In most cases,…

Rhys Metler

Following up is an important part of the sales process. It’s also very important when recruiting sales talent, even for the people you don’t choose to hire.

In most cases, companies often only hire one person. You hire for the newly available position on your sales team. Just because you hire one person doesn’t mean you didn’t interview a number of candidates you would consider hiring. Maybe there was a situation where you had 2 or 3 highly qualified candidates you had to choose between. If you had more open positions, you would’ve hired all of them.

Most companies only follow up with the candidates they hire. But this can be a short-sighted move. Your company is fluid. You never know when you may need to hire again. It may be sooner than you anticipate.

Sure, it can be a lot of work, but following up with the candidate you don’t hire is playing the long game. You can keep them in mind for when the next opportunity arises. Following up with them will also make them more receptive if you contact them in the future about an available position. In this blog, Toronto sales recruiters take a look at why and how you should respond to the people you don’t hire.

Why Should You Respond to the Candidates You Don’t Hire?

There are three important reasons to respond to all sales candidates:

  1. Better Candidate Experience: Providing a great candidate experience will create a positive impression of your company. It increases the chances a good candidate will apply again in the future.
  2. Boost Your Brand Reputation: How you deal with candidates (all of them) will have a direct impact on your employer brand. If you are perceived well, you will have an easier time attracting people to your organization. You will also get more referrals.
  3. Keeps More Candidates in Your Talent Pipeline: By following up with a candidate, it allows you to stay connected. You can re-enter them into your talent pool. You already have some familiarity with them and you could identify them as a good candidate for other roles as they become available.

Toronto sales headhunters encourage companies to follow up with candidates they don't hire

The Best Way to Follow Up With the Candidates You Don’t Hire

Even though following up with all candidates will take a little more time out of your day, it’s worth the effort in the long term. Here is the best way to follow up with the candidates you choose not to hire:

  1. Email is acceptable: Following up with all the candidates you don’t hire can be time-consuming. Sending an email to communicate they did not get the job is fine. However, if it’s a higher-level role, or you foresee wanting to connect with the candidate in the near future, a phone call may be better.
  2. Be timely: If you have made the decision not to hire a candidate, let them know as soon as possible. We’ve all been on the other side of the situation. Waiting to hear back if you got a job or not can be painstaking. Let the candidates know promptly so they can move on and explore other job opportunities.
  3. Don’t lead them on: Avoid making promises you can’t keep. Avoid any statements that could get a candidate’s hopes up if you have no intention of following through.
  4. Maintain contact: Stay in contact with all candidates throughout the recruiting process. Keep them updated about the status of their candidacy, next steps, and timelines. It only takes a couple of minutes to send out a quick email to keep them informed.
  5. Be gracious: Be thankful to all candidates who took the time to apply and take time out of their day to attend the interview. It is the least you can do. Make sure to thank all applicants, not just the ones who made it to the final stage of the hiring process.
  6. Provide feedback if requested: If the candidate follows up with you and asks for some feedback, take a couple of minutes to provide some. Honesty is always the best policy. Provide constructive feedback and provide some positives and negatives.
  7. Re-qualify them: If you liked the candidate and you could see them working for your company in the future, encourage them to reapply if they see another opening. Make it known that you may be interested in reaching out to them again in the future about other roles.

How you treat candidates during the hiring process matters. Candidates have a voice, and if you treat them poorly, the word will spread. This could negatively impact your ability to hire in the future. Following up with the candidates you don’t hire can help improve your employer brand, create a better candidate experience, and help you keep your pipeline full of qualified candidates.

More Sales Recruiting Advice From Toronto Sales Headhunters

Check out these insightful blogs from our expert sales recruiters:

6 Tips for Recruiting Sales Candidates Over the Phone

How to Close a Top Sales Candidate When They Have Multiple Offers – 7 Tips From Sales Recruiters

8 Ways to Optimize Your Sales Job Description to Entice Top Talent

7 Ways to Spot a Great Sales Candidate BEFORE the Interview

8 Unhirable Sales Candidate Habits to Watch Out for When Recruiting

4 Things Sales Recruiters Should Stop Saying If They Want to Get the Star Candidate


SalesForce Search is a sales recruiting company which specializes in the recruitment and placement of sales professionals. We recruit salespeople in every sector of the economy including, software, manufacturing, financial services and medical devices. Find the right salesperson for your organization, start your search here.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.