A rejection letter informs an applicant  that they are no longer in the running for an open position at your company.

Although rejection letters are unpleasant, they are a necessary professional courtesy that no company should ignore.

Companies should not only ensure that rejection letters are sent in a timely fashion, but also that each rejection letter contains a personalized message that is both honest and encouraging. Doing so will only help the company strengthen its talent pool and outward facing image.

Why a Candidate Rejection Letter is Important

Chances are at one point or another, you’ve probably received a rejection letter after an interview.

And while rejection letters are always a bit uncomfortable to read, there’s also a bit of relief that comes with it.

Although it would’ve been better to have gotten the job, a rejection letter allows candidates to not be glued to their phone waiting for your call, or constantly checking their email.

Instead, they can simply focus on the next company/interview on their list and move on.

Besides providing a bit of relief to candidates, rejection letters are also a great opportunity for the company to strengthen its image.

While the candidate will undoubtedly have some negative feelings by being rejected, a well-crafted letter can still leave a positive, long-lasting impression. Sometimes this impression is all that is needed to encourage the candidate to apply for a different position in the future or leave a positive review on Glassdoor.

How to Write a Rejection Email

Writing a candidate rejection email doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does need to be courteous, direct, and most of all, positive.

To begin, start with a standardized heading consisting of the date and the candidate’s name.

[Date]

[Candidate Name]

Following this header, begin your letter with a greeting such as Dear (Applicant Name), followed by your introductory paragraph.

Dear Candidate,

Declare the purpose of the letter right from the get-go. There is no need to get the candidates’ hopes up.

We would like to thank you for taking the time to interview at [Company Name]. Unfortunately, we have decided to move forward with another candidate at this time. However, we will keep your resume on file and if something opens up that would be a good fit for you we will definitely reach out.

Next, personalize the message. This can be hard to do if you are a larger company hiring for many open positions at a time, but if possible, it will make a huge difference when it comes to the impression that you leave on people.

If the candidate was turned down because they lacked a specific skill that was critical to performing the job, then clearly state that to the candidate and perhaps provide some areas where they could fill out their resume to be better qualified for other positions in that field. It is also possible that the candidate was turned down due to factors that are unrelated to their viability as a candidate, such as the position no longer needing to be filled. If this is the case be sure to let them know.

It was very important for the person who fills this role to have direct experience working with [skill/tool]. If in the future you do fill in some of the gaps in resume please do reach out to us again and we would be happy to do a follow up interview.

Finally, finish the letter wishing the candidate the best in their search for employment.

Below is the fully written sample rejection letter:

[Date]

[Candidate Name]

Dear Candidate,

We would like to thank you for taking the time to interview at [Company Name]. Unfortunately, we have decided to move forward with another candidate at this time. However, we will keep your resume on file and if something opens up that would be a good fit for you we will definitely reach out.

It was very important for the person who fills this role to have direct experience working with [skill/tool]. If in the future you do fill in some of the gaps in resume please do reach out to us again and we would be happy to do a follow up interview.

Also, please do apply for any other open positions at our company that you feel you are a fit for. Thank you again for interviewing at [Company Name] and best of luck to you in your job search.

Best Regards,

[Your Name]

Closing Thoughts

A well-crafted rejection letter is an important tool for companies looking for ways to strengthen their relationship with applicants and fill out their talent pool. Word gets around if you are not courteous to candidates who have taken time out of their day (or even PTO from their current company) to interview with you.

By taking the time to write semi-personalized rejection letters to candidates you will see a positive effect in both the image your company puts forth and the quality of candidates you bring through the door. Just because somebody wasn’t a fit for the position they interviewed for doesn’t mean they won’t be perfect for another position at your company. So make the smart move and leave the door open!

 

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