By Carrie Luxem

Finding and hiring a world-class team sets the stage for long-term success. In this 5-part series, we’ll discuss the latest techniques, tips, and protocols that leave our clients with a pool of incredible candidates.

Last time, we talked about how to conduct face-to-face interviews and avoid potential legal landmines.

But what happens when you’ve reached the end of the interview and you know the candidate isn’t a good fit? Should you let them know right away or not?

How to End an Interview With a “No” Candidate

For those candidates who just aren’t right for your company, there are a few simple steps to follow to properly end the face-to-face interview:

  1. Thank them for their interest in the position.
  2. Explain that you’re in the process of interviewing numerous candidates.
  3. Let them know their information will be kept on file and if you have a position (in the future), you will contact them – and wish them the best of luck in their job search. NOTE: This area can be tricky and how you end the interview depends on why someone is a “No”.

How to End an Interview With a “Maybe” Candidate

If you believe the candidate may still be a good fit after the initial interview phase, follow these steps:

  1. Remind the candidate why working at the company has been a positive experience for you. This helps to demonstrate how employment with your business can benefit the candidate too. Real life examples are amazingly impactful.
  2. Schedule a second interview.
  3. Thank the candidate for coming in and share how much you look forward to them meeting the second interviewer.

And no matter how the interview goes, always be sure that candidates know what to expect next. Specifically, when and how they’ll be contacted regarding final decisions is crucial information to share – it provides closure and shows appreciation for their efforts.

Treating others how you would like to be treated is 1000% applicable in the hiring process too!

Understand What You Offer

When the “maybe” candidate returns for the second interview, the process will change only slightly, thanks to an updated Screen Form (available in the HR resources [].

And it’s good practice to do the following in this phase too:

  • Be clear about what the company can offer. Whether that is health insurance, flexible scheduling, discounted meals, or paid time off, make sure the candidate knows what you can provide and how it will directly benefit them.
  • Make a great – and lasting – impression. Be organized, respectful, and considerate of candidates’ time. Keeping on schedule and having resumes and papers on hand are a good start. Candidates are screening you just as much as you are them.
  • Have some fun! Don’t be afraid to show your personality at this stage. People appreciate authenticity. Remember, excitement is contagious!

Wrapping Up

This wraps up our 5-part staffing series, and really, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. But as you can see so far, hiring a world-class staff takes a lot of work and dedication. Yet nothing compares to the dynamic synergy that a well-planned, cohesive, and complementary staff creates.


Carrie Luxem is the founder and President of Restaurant HR Group, a full-service HR group based in Chicago, IL. Carrie will be sharing her wisdom from over 15 years in restaurant human resources through guest-posts on the Homebase blog.

Want some HR help? Homebase and Restaurant HR Group have partnered to provide free HR resources for restaurants and retailers. You can find them here.