Saying “No Thanks” the right way

December 1, 2009

This weekend while I was in the DC area for Thanksgiving, I went wedding dress shopping with my mom (I’m getting married next summer). After finding three dresses that I liked at three different stores, I weighed the pros and cons of each, and ultimately decided on dress #3. The salespeople at the first two stores were excellent, and I felt that I owed each of them a phone call to thank them for their service, and to let them know that I would not be back since I had found another dress that was better suited for me and our wedding. Making these calls felt similar to the feeling I get when am providing recruiting support to OpenView’s portfolio companies, and need to call or email a candidate who has been interviewed to let him/her know that they are no longer being considered for a position. Passing on such disappointing news is probably the least pleasant aspect of the hiring process, but I think that it is a necessary professional courtesy to do so out of respect for the candidate’s time and effort.

Over the past few months I have found that many candidates are appreciative for receiving any feedback at all after an interview, since the job market has led many recruiters and hiring managers to stop communication once they have decided that a candidate is not right for the position. At venture capital firms and expansion stage companies, it is not only polite to let a candidate know when they are no longer under consideration for a job, it’s good business practice. Even if a candidate is not the right match for a current opening, they may be well suited for something else in the future, or may even provide valuable referrals for your company. One such candidate recently offered to put me in touch with the CEO of a local start-up to discuss a possible venture capital investment. Lesson of the week—always communicate feedback to candidates with honesty and respect… you never know what will come of it!

VP, Human Capital

<strong>Diana Martz</strong> is Vice President, Human Capital at<a href="">TA Associates</a>. She was previously the Director of Talent at OpenView.