Unordered thoughts about programming, engineering and dealing with the people in the process.

When Should You Personally Decline a Job Applicant?

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Everybody hates rejection, and everybody fears rejection(Unless you’re a salesman, of course).

The idea of someone telling us that we’re not good, we’re not a fit, we’re not loved anymore, it’s against the human condition need of being liked.

Have you ever been paralyzed before asking out that girl you like? Even knowing you have nothing to lose by doing it?

Interviewing for a job is no different, when someone applies for a position you have opened is dealing with the fear of rejection, and your responsibility is to acknowledge that fact, and treat people who want to work with you as a human being.

Does it mean you need to personally thank every applicant sending an email with his resume?

Not exactly.


You need to show respect, If you will remember only one thing, remember that.

Being in the position of the interviewer doesn’t make you better, and if the people you’re hiring is any good, you should be better showing your brightest side during the process, no one likes to work with assholes.

Having failed myself many times -always with a reasonable excuse, of course- I made some easy rules to follow when interviewing people.

It’s not about the stage

The interviewing process in your company may have many stages, technical interviews and whatnot.

But in my book about respect, there are only two things that matters when interviewing someone:

  1. How much time the applicant has spent
  2. Have you ever meet her face to face

That’s all, your respect rules must derive from that.

Dealing with time

What to do when you’re rejecting someone, according to the time he has spent?

  • He sent an off-the-shelf resume, no personal letter
    • No need to respond
  • She applied with a personal letter, took the time to understand what your company does, and why she’s a fit
    • Thank you note, you’re not exactly what we’re looking for
  • He spent 3 hours in a technical interview and failed
    • Note thanking for the time spent, if it explains why the applicant failed, much better. People always want to know the reasons of rejection.
  • Applicant passed the technical interview, but fails later on the process
    • Same as above
  • She failed on the later stages, and you have seen her face in an interview
    • You should make a phone call and personally thank for the time spent

Easy ain’t it?

It’s about other people’s time, and it’s about human relationships.

If you don’t have the balls to reject someone like a human being, you shouldn’t be interviewing at all.

Don’t reject me, and follow me on Twitter :)