September 21, 2021

How To Boost Your Employer Brand By Rejecting Candidates

I spoke of “The Great Resignation” in an earlier blog post and described it as a “phenomenon where people are quitting their jobs en masse even as recent labor numbers show that the economy is recovering after the financial impact of the pandemic.” This trend points out how challenging it is these days to attract and retain talent. It also brings to light the opportunity that companies have to bolster their employer brand. Take for example Virgin Media, which made millions by improving their candidate experience. To quote Forbes

It’s estimated that for every 1,000 job openings, there are typically around 150,000 applicants who get rejected. These people could be customers or future business partners. They could be potential recruits in the future, or simply people who will share their experience of your business with their friends and family. It’s your duty to ensure they have a positive experience to share with others.

At Virgin Media, they’re on track to make an extra $7 million by simply improving their candidate experience after they realized that a significant portion of the rejected candidates ended up choosing their competitor’s service after they were rejected. It may come as a surprise, but Virgin is one of the few companies in the world to realize how big of an impact a poor candidate experience could have on their business.

Details on how Virgin managed this can be found here. In a nutshell, you could break their strategy down to this: 1) Make every job applicant to Virgin Media more employable, whether they work for Virgin Media or not and 2) Give each applicant an overwhelmingly positive candidate experience.

Virgin Media crafted their strategy during an extensive workshop that included storyboarding every point of the candidate experience and how it could be improved or made more special. It stands to reason that every company can implement a positive candidate experience strategy on some scale because every company rejects job applicants when making hiring decisions. A simple solution could be to leverage the following template; of course, customize it for your hiring goals.


Thank you for contacting me and for your interest in [insert company name here].  With respect, I am not recruiting for opportunities that meet your qualifications. At least, not as of this moment. This is not to say that I cannot place you in the future! Please assist us both by considering the following:

I recruit mostly [Insert job category here, like “Sales” or “Tech”] professionals who tend to work in the [Insert industry here, like “semiconductor”] industry. The people I tend to recruit generally have the job title of: 

    •  Job Title I
    •  Job Title 2
    • Job title 3

 More than likely, I will place those individuals in one of the following locations:

    • City 1
    • City 2
    •  City 3

Most of our [Insert category, like “Tech”] team works from home but there are occasions when we report to the office. As such, location of the candidates do matter.

To save us both some time, please review the collection of job descriptions that I recruit for every day. I have attached the job descriptions that I focus on the most. I would also encourage you to visit our careers page for more opportunities.

Thank you again for your interest in [insert your company name here]. It really is a great place to work! Check this out: [Link to something that proves that the client is a great employer. Press release, blog post, news item, et cetera.]


John Q Recruiter


P.S. You might have an interest in this. ;-)

 [link to a jobhunting resource with useful jobhunting tips]

This template is a polite way to say no and retain the confidence of the candidate with whom the recruiter is trying to build a relationship. More importantly, it does not demoralize someone who might be in the midst of a frustrating job search. To further push the positive candidate experience agenda, consider the post script.

The other job-hunting resources linked to in the postscript could be a template that job seekers use when replying to recruiters who solicit them for jobs they are not a match for. This communicates to the jobseeker that you are empathetic to them as a highly sought-after candidate and that you are not like other recruiters, spamming for candidate gold.  You and your organization are not about wasting someone’s time and that reflects well on your employer brand.

Dear Recruiter,

Thank you for contacting me about [insert job title here]. With respect, I must decline any interest in that opportunity and ask that you remove me from consideration. However, I do hope this does not conclude our relationship. Feel free to contact me for opportunities of which I am reasonably capable of performing.

Please use the following job titles as a point of reference:

    • Job Title I
    •  Job Title 2
    •  Job title 3

Although my preference is to work from home, I am open to relocation. Specific areas of interest are:

    • City 1
    • City 2
    • City 3

To save us both some time, I have an interest in companies focused on [Fill in the industry of your choice] who foster a culture of [Describe a cultural attribute you like. For example, a devotion to diversity, equity and inclusion.] and allow me to [work virtually / promote work-life balance / whatever floats your boat].

My most notable professional achievements are:

    • Bragging right 1
    • Bragging right 2
    • Bragging right 3

I am not interested in jobs that:

    • Add your criteria. (For example... require managing teams greater than four.) 
    • Add your criteria. (For example... require extensive travel.)

Finally, I have also researched the most common interview questions and prepared statements on each. I understand that this could help expedite the recruitment process. I will make this available to you should an opportunity you present capture my attention. For your information, some of the questions addressed are:

    • How do you handle stressful situations and working under pressure?
    • What are you like working in a team?
    • What has been your biggest professional disappointment / achievement so far?

I appreciate your time and consideration.


Your Name

When Virgin Media pursued a positive candidate experience, they added millions of dollars to their enterprise. How much money could your company generate with a positive candidate experience? How much more would this bolster your employer brand? A great deal.



      Recruitment Optimization, Automation and Augmentation

      Recruitment Optimization, Automation and Augmentation

      How Alumni Programs Are Turning Into a Necessity for Success

      How Alumni Programs Are Turning Into a Necessity for Success

      Want to work with us?

      Contact Us