When awards season rolls around, many nominees hedge their bets by saying “it’s an honor just to be nominated.” It’s a fairly trite saying, but it’s trotted out every year. In the case of an Oscar, this is certainly true- but finalists who don’t get the job may not be feeling the love. While Oscar nominees can point to their nomination as proof of their superior skills even if they don’t win, job candidates can’t exactly tell their next interviewer that they almost got a similar job.
How can you do a better job making them feel appreciated, even if they’re not your final selection? After all, staying on good terms with excellent candidates can only benefit you.
We’ve taken a few cues from the way Oscar candidates are treated and applied them to job candidates:
- Thanks and praise: When Oscar winners are nominated, they receive a lot of public recognition for their skills. It’s shocking how many job candidates give up their time for multiple interviews – without ever being thanked for a moment of it. Be sure to tell candidates how much you appreciate their efforts, and what specific skills made them stand out. This type of feedback will be very valuable to them as they continue their job search. You may even want to offer them constructive criticism on anything that needs work, if allowable.
- Gifts: Oscar candidates are showered with gift baskets and other free merchandise. While it’s not prudent to shower candidates with expensive gifts, if your company’s policy allows, a thoughtful, hand-written note and a small token like a gift card for coffee could go a long way, and give the candidate a lot of goodwill toward you.
- Continued Contact: Oscar candidates don’t find themselves staring at a silent phone once awards season is over- their skills are still in demand. Let a candidate know their skills are still valued by keeping up with them. If you hear about other positions that may be a fit, proactively share them with the candidate personally – this will help both of you in the long run.
It doesn’t take extravagant gestures to make others feel appreciated – and a little can go a long way toward enhancing your personal and professional reputation.