How to turn candidates down and still have them love you

hiringAs I ponder all the changes in the world of recruiting and hiring, I resort back to one of the best experiences I’ve had with a company. I interviewed with Kohl’s Department Stores years ago for an internship and I did not get the job. Yet, I would recommend their stores to anyone looking to shop and their company to anyone looking for an awesome place to work.

When I interviewed at Kohl’s, I didn’t experience any cool technology that so many organizations have today like applicant tracking systems (ATS) or video interviews. Yet, it was probably the single best interviewing experience of my life.

After applying for the job, I was invited to to an interview with a recruiter. She made me feel very comfortable and was not intimidating at all. I was extremely fresh in my career so I was not used to interviews where the employer wanted to know about me personally. It was as if we we’ve been friends forever.

I got a call the next day inviting me to the last round of interviews which was held at Kohl’s headquarters. Amazing! That’s quick turnaround if I know it. I was told it would be an all day event. I thought they were crazy at first but they said they would pay for me to come into the city the night before, enjoy a dinner on them and stay in a four-star hotel they paid for.

After a wonderful night, I showed up to my day of interviews with a free breakfast, a session with the CEO and other candidates and free gifts from Kohl’s stores. After I interviewed with two people, I was taken on a tour of the building and provided a free, delicious lunch. The tour included meeting all kinds of employees and hearing about their projects and stories. After my last two interviews, they paid for my ride home.

The next day, the recruiters were communicating with me already. To say the least, I was extremely disappointed that I did not get the job but I have no hard feelings towards the company because they treated me with great respect and really let me get to know their company.

This is a prime example of how to turn down a candidate and still have them love you. You don’t have to do everything that Kohl’s did but don’t leave a bad taste in candidate’s mouths. They may not be the right fit for the current job but they might be the perfect fit for another opening you have in the future. It’s all about creating an experience and building relationships.

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