Tuesday, October 9, 2012

How to Politely Reject a Nanny Applicant

When you place an ad seeking a new nanny, the sheer number of responses you receive from applicants can be staggering, especially in today’s difficult economic climate. Depending on the qualifications that you’re looking for in a childcare provider, however, the majority may not even be eligible for consideration. If you do manage to get to the interview stage with an applicant before discovering that she’s not what you’re looking for or isn’t as qualified as you originally thought, letting her know that you’ve decided to go with another candidate is rarely an easy task. Here are a few hints for handling the situation as courteously as possible, and avoiding any unpleasantness.

  • Don’t Get Personal – If a candidate said something that you found particularly offensive over the course of her interview, it’s best not to address it at all. This especially holds true if she was espousing religious or political beliefs that differ from yours, both to avoid allegations of discrimination and to prevent a messy scene. A comment that she construes as a personal attack, especially if she’s upset over being rejected for the position, could cause a major blow up.
  • Refuse to Be Drawn into Debate – Most of the time, when an applicant says that she wants to discuss where she went wrong in an interview or what she could have done better, she’s not looking for advice to reference in the future. Often, she’s actually looking for a way to defend her actions and convince you that she is the right choice for the job, despite your initial misgivings. Since this entire encounter is counterproductive and fraught with the opportunity for unpleasantness, do not allow yourself to be drawn into it.
  • Be Direct and Firm – It’s difficult to explain to a teary applicant that she’s not getting the job, but it’s important that you maintain a polite firmness. Being too gentle might not get the point across, but being too adamant can easily cross the line into what she perceives as rudeness. Also, avoid beating around the bush when you deliver the news. It’s not easy to tell someone that you’ve chosen not to hire them, but you’re only wasting time that she could be spending pursuing another post by skirting the issue while you gather your courage. In these situations, a direct approach is usually best.
  • Acknowledge Her Best Attributes – Rather than discussing the reasons why you chose not to hire a particular applicant, make a point of mentioning her best attributes in a complimentary manner. This will help you avoid adding insult to the already-present injury of being passed over for a job opportunity.
  • Keep it Vague and Courteous – Using phrases like, “as I’m sure you know, we’ve had several applicants for this position and we’re glad that you expressed your interest, but we’ve decided to continue our search” are polite and to the point without addressing any particular complaints or misgivings that you have about her abilities. Don’t tell her that you’ve chosen another applicant if the position is still open, especially if you’ll be leaving the job posting or wanted ad in place. She’ll only feel more hurt when she recognizes it in her future job search and realizes that you were dishonest with her.
  • Avoid Engaging with Aggressive Applicants at All – Looking for a job can be a stressful experience, especially when times are hard. This pressure can leave even applicants that are normally gentle more aggressive than they would be under other circumstances, but that aggression can become a nasty scene if you continue the conversation. At the first sign of such behavior, politely end the discussion.
  • Consider Any Criticism Carefully Before Offering It – In some cases you may feel that you have constructive criticism to offer an applicant who asks why you chose not to hire her, but you should think twice before doing so. If there’s any chance at all that she could take your advice personally, it’s best not to offer it at all.

Be very careful during your conversation with an applicant regarding the reasons why you chose another candidate or simply opted not to hire her, as accusations of discriminatory hiring practices can lead to big legal trouble. Make sure that your reasons for choosing not to hire a particular candidate are within the bounds of the law, and are not based on any criteria such as race, religion or sexual orientation, as these are protected by state and federal employment laws.

Taken From Hire a Nanny

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