Now I tell candidates on the spot whether they pass or fail at the end of the phone interview. I give them feedback on what they did well and what they did poorly. I'm very candid with them.
- I don't reject candidates -- I choose a different candidate.
- The more they went through the process, the longer (and better) the letter. Rejected application, short thank you for applying. If you came for two interviews, but then we went with someone else -- I write a longer letter with references to the meetings.
- Good candidates that we didn't hire (because another was better) are invited into my personal network. I recommend them to others, I invite them to dev events, etc. I give non-specific-to-our-interview job hunting advice. We'll have openings at some point.
- I do the same for candidates that are just not a fit (they do X, we need Y). I might never hire them, but I have a personal goal to know every good developer within commute distance of my company (we live in a low population area).
If you read this far, you should follow me on twitter here.