One of the biggest mistakes I made as a new manager was not telling people “no”. I would bring someone in for an interview, and if I wasn’t interested, or didn’t have a position available, I wouldn’t tell them “no”. I might dodge a phone call or two, or even worse let them think something might be coming up “in a week or two”.
I just couldn’t tell them “no”. I thought it was too mean. But really – in that circumstance the best thing you can do for someone is to let them know you have no interest. I have since learned how to do this well – well enough that neither me, nor the applicant feel bad about it. They may feel disappointed, but not mad at me. They didn’t think I was an ass (as I was when I didn’t give them answers).
What’s amazing to me now is how much of my time (and theirs) I wasted by not answering their calls or emails. It takes two minutes to say no, and two weeks to avoid something long enough that it goes away.
People deserve closure – whether it’s a boyfriend or girlfriend you are dumping, or a candidate you are passing on. Spend the two minutes. They will feel better about it, and in the end, so will you.