A reader asks:
Is there a standard for when to send out rejection letters? I deal with a lot of hiring in my job and I usually know as soon as I review a résumé or hold an interview whether I'm going to reject someone, but I have always figured that people don't want to receive a rejection notice within hours of leaving a job interview, so I wait a few days.
A friend recently told me that she never rejects people on Friday, because it would be a bad start to their weekend, and that she held a lot of rejections for longer than normal around the holidays because she didn't want to send them close to Christmas. Personally, I'd always rather know whether I had a job sooner, rather than having the employer worry about things like that. But is there a standard practice on timing these?
There's never really a good time to reject people.
I've heard people complain that they were rejected right before a holiday weekend. I've heard people complain that they were rejected right after a holiday weekend. I've heard people complain that they were rejected too quickly, and people who complained that the rejection took too long.
All you can do is strive for a timeline that feels reasonable to you. I do what you do -- I often know right away that I'm going to reject someone, but I wait a few days (usually between three days and a week) before sending the rejection email. It's still getting them an answer reasonably quickly, but if it's faster than that, some people think you didn't fully consider their candidacy or feel stung, like you're saying "you're so terrible that I didn't even need time to think about this."
But beyond that, I don't think you need to worry too much. I mean, I would not send someone a rejection on Christmas -- and, in fact, it's probably good practice to only send rejections on regular business days, at least if you're in a job with standard business hours. But I don't think you need to make the entire last two weeks of December rejection-free or worry about sending rejections on Fridays. That's going into a level of managing other people's emotions that isn't required (and really, there's no way to know if you're dealing with someone who would rather just hear the news immediately or someone who will appreciate your delicacy around their imminent weekend).
The important thing here is that you're sending them. Far too many employers don't bother to send them at all, and that's inexcusably rude.
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