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5 candidate rejection email templates for various situations

Hiring means you get to add someone awesome to your team but it also means you have the unenviable task of telling everyone else who applied they are not getting the job. When you send a rejection letter, you want to provide clarity while also expressing empathy and encouragement.

Below 👇 we have 5 candidate rejection email templates that help you do just that. These templates will help you to share the reasoning behind your decision while giving candidates the encouragement and/or feedback they need to move forward and find the role that's right for them!

How to write a professional, clear and compassionate rejection email

According to Homerun 's People Ops Manager Sanne Leunissen, when sending a candidate rejection email, it's important "to get straight to the point (without being too harsh) so people know where they’re at. Start with the news and then give a short explanation of the ‘why’ – being direct, emphatic and keeping it relatively short." Here are some more best practices to go along with her advice:

🎯 Always express gratitude for the candidate's interest in the position and for taking the time to apply. It's thoughtful to acknowledge their efforts and highlight any positive aspects you noticed during the application or interview process .

🎯  Do what you can to personalize the rejection letter . If it's an immediate rejection of an application or you have a massive amount of candidates, it may be as simple as addressing everyone by name. If you have a smaller candidate pool and/or certain candidates have gotten farther along in the interview process, find ways to acknowledge individuals (and if possible, share constructive feedback ) so that they feel valued and empowered.

🎯  Keep the message clear and concise . You don't want to go into excessive detail about why you're not hiring the candidate, which may end up overwhelming or confusing them. Just stick to the key points that help explain the decision – for example, the objective criteria that you used for the evaluation process like qualifications, experience, job requirements or value alignment.

🎯  Speak with empathy and encouragement . Not being selected for a job can be disheartening. Be sure to acknowledge the candidate's possible disappointment or any emotional investment they may have had during the hiring process. Encourage them to continue seeking opportunities that align with their strengths and goals, and if you see a possible future for them at your company, express that and invite them to apply again. You might also connect them to someone in your network who is hiring for a similar role.

🎯  Keep your inbox open. Let candidates know you're available to answer questions and that you welcome feedback on the hiring process. It's always good to know what you're doing right and where the process could be improved!

A final note from Sanne: “For a candidate that is further in the process and for example already has had one or more interviews, I find it a good courtesy to give them a call and explain why you’re not moving forward in that way. You can then follow up with an email confirming what you have said over the phone.” (See template #5 for an example of this!)

Candidate rejection email template #1: Not moving forward with an interview

Subject line: Your Application for [Position] at [Company] Dear [Candidate's First Name], Thank you for your interest in the [Position] role at [Company]. We appreciate the time and effort you invested in applying for this position. After careful consideration, we have decided not to move forward with your application at this time. We received a significant number of applications from qualified candidates like yourself, making this selection process extremely difficult. [Option 1: If you have a large candidate pool] Due to the high volume of applications, we are not able to provide individual feedback to candidates. However, we do hope you'll stay connected with us and keep an eye on our future career opportunities. If a suitable position opens up again, we would be happy to hear from you and consider your application. [Option 2: If you have a small candidate pool] We appreciate the strengths you demonstrated in [specific aspect related to their application or qualifications] and if a suitable position opens up in the future, we would be happy to hear from you and consider your application again. If you have any feedback for us about our application process, we welcome your input as it helps us learn and improve! We sincerely appreciate your interest in [Company] and wish you all the best in your job search. Best regards, [Your Name and Job Title] ‍

No more scattered email threads — view all your conversations in one place with Homerun.

Candidate rejection email template #2: After an early-stage interview

Subject line: Update on Your Application for [Position] at [Company] Dear [Candidate's First Name], Thank you for your patience as we've conducted interviews for the [Position] role at [Company]. With so many amazing candidates like yourself, it's been hard to reach a decision! After careful consideration, we have decided not to move forward with your application at this time. While we were impressed with your qualifications and your interview, we are moving forward with candidates whose skills and experience align more closely with the needs of this position. Please know that our decision was not a reflection of your abilities or potential. We believe you have valuable skills and qualifications such as [name specific strengths, accomplishments or contributions] that will undoubtedly contribute to your success in future endeavors. We encourage you to continue pursuing opportunities that align with your goals and if a suitable position at [Company Name] opens up again, we would be happy to hear from you and consider your application! We sincerely value the time and effort you dedicated to the application and interview. If you have any feedback on our hiring process, we welcome your input as it helps us learn and grow. Also, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out. Best regards, [Your Name and Job Title] ‍

Candidate email rejection template #3: After an interview, including specific feedback

Subject line: Update on Your Application for [Position] at [Company] Dear [Candidate's First Name], Thank you for your interest in the [Position] role at [Company]. We appreciate the time and effort you’ve invested in the application and interview process. Our team was particularly impressed with your [skills], [specific positive aspect] and [specific positive aspect]. However, this role will require a future team member with a deep understanding of [add area of expertise]. For these reasons, we have decided to move forward with another candidate whose qualifications are better suited to this particular role. We hope you don't mind us providing constructive feedback to support your professional growth. To further develop your skill set in [area of expertise], we recommend [taking a course/obtaining a certificate/gaining specific experience]. Strengthening your expertise in this area will boost your qualifications and increase your chances of success in future applications for similar roles. If you have any questions for us or would like to share any feedback on the hiring process, we would be glad to hear from you. Your insights are valuable as we continually strive to improve our processes and provide a better experience for candidates. We genuinely appreciate your interest in [Company] and all the effort you put into the hiring process, and we wish you continued success in your career journey. Best regards, [Your Name and Job Title] ‍

Candidate rejection email template #4: After the final interview round

Subject line: Decision Regarding Your Application for [Position] at [Company] Dear [Candidate's First Name], Thank you for your patience in this hiring process and for all the time and energy you've dedicated to it. We've thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you during our interviews, and we've been impressed by your qualifications and your performance throughout. While your skills and experience are top-notch, we have ultimately chosen another candidate whose background and qualifications more closely align with the specific needs of this role. We understand this news may be disappointing, and we fully recognize the effort and emotional investment you put into the application and interview process. Please know that this decision does not diminish our recognition of your abilities and potential. Your [specific strengths, accomplishments, or contributions] were highly valued and we're confident your talent and dedication will lead you to success in your future endeavors. If it's alright with you, we would like to stay in touch with you for future opportunities that might be a good fit. If you're interested in remaining in our talent pool, please let us know. If you have any questions for us or feedback on the hiring process, we welcome your input as we continually strive to improve our processes and provide a better experience for candidates. Thank you again for your dedication throughout the hiring process. We hope this experience has provided takeaways that will be helpful in future hiring situations and we wish you the very best in your job search. Warmly, [Your Name and Job Title] ‍

Candidate email rejection template # 5: After the candidate has received a rejection by phone

Subject line: Following up on our phone call about the [Position] role at [Company] Dear [Candidate's First Name], I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to reach out and personally thank you for your time and effort throughout the hiring process for the [Position] role at [Company]. It was a pleasure speaking with you and getting to know you throughout the hiring process. I just wanted to take a moment to confirm what we discussed during our last phone call. First and foremost, I want to express our sincere appreciation for your interest in [Company] and the impressive qualifications you brought to the table. Your [specific strengths, skills, or accomplishments] were highly valued and recognized by our team. However, we’ve chosen a candidate whose qualifications more closely align with the specific needs of the position. I want to personally encourage you to keep an eye on our career opportunities in the future. Should a suitable role open up, we would be delighted to have you reapply and reconsider your application. In our conversation, we touched upon [specific topics or feedback discussed during the call, such as strengths, areas for growth, or future possibilities]. We appreciate your openness to the feedback provided and your positive attitude throughout the process. Speaking of feedback, we would greatly appreciate yours in regard to the hiring process and your overall experience with us. Your insights are valuable as we continuously strive to improve and provide a better experience for candidates. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, please feel free to share them with us. Once again, I want to thank you for your time, energy and interest in [Company]. We wish you every success in your job search and future endeavors. If you have any questions or require any further information, please don't hesitate to reach out. All the best, [Your Name and Job Title] ‍

Final tips on rejection emails

Although a rejection email could seem like a sure way to burn bridges with candidates, it's actually an opportunity to build them. When you present the information in a clear, tactful and encouraging way, you can help candidates move forward with valuable information and stay motivated in their job search . They may also end up reapplying one day!

Treating candidates with empathy and respect will not only soften the blow – it can also turn some of them into advocates for your company. Communicate with compassion 🫶 and in a timely manner ⏰ and you'll be remembered as an organization that cares throughout the recruitment process.

Pop these templates into Homerun's hiring software and ensure a positive candidate experience every step of the way.

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How to Write Professional Yet Kind Rejection Letters [4 Templates]

Caroline Forsey

Published: April 28, 2022

It's never easy notifying someone that they didn’t get the job.

hiring manager uses rejection letter template to notify candidate

This often leads to generic emails, or worse, complete silence – that’s where a rejection letter template can come in handy.

While it’s never fun to do it, there are kind yet professional ways to reject an applicant that preserve your employer brand .

→ Click here to download our free guide to hiring and training a team of  all-stars [Free Ebook].

How to Write a Rejection Letter

You might not think twice about a rejection letter once you send it. But the truth is, your rejection letter is a reflection of your company. If it’s poorly written, that leaves a negative impression of your company that could easily spread to other candidates.

This is why writing a thoughtful rejection letter is key. It allows you to maintain a good relationship with the applicant, even if they were not a good fit for a particular role. Who knows, you may want to circle back to them if another position opens up.

When that comes up, you want a candidate to be excited about the prospect of working with you – and how you communicate plays a pivotal role in this.

It's critical you remain positive with your language and focus on language from the job description itself.

In addition, keep in mind that a rejection letter is a fantastic opportunity for the candidate to receive positive feedback and learn how to do better in the future. Consider how you can include specific and valuable feedback.

A rejection letter can be broken down into three sections:

Paragraph One

Your first paragraph should be completely personalized and include the applicant’s name and the position for which they applied. Next, thank the candidate for their interest in your company and for taking the time to interview.

Finally, it's critical you tell the candidate within the first paragraph you've decided to move forward with another candidate.

You can let them down kindly by including a compliment in the rejection, such as "While your qualifications are quite impressive …"

Paragraph Two (Optional)

The second paragraph is where the personalization really comes in. What you write will depend on your experience with the candidate and how far into the process they got.

For instance, if you’re rejecting a candidate after the first round, you can keep this section brief and jump to paragraph three. However, for a candidate who reached the final round, you’ll likely want to give more context to the reason for the rejection.

The candidate took time to prepare for your interview process, so if you were impressed by them during the interview, it could make a huge difference to let them know.

Simply include one strength of theirs you remembered from the interview process, like "Our team was particularly impressed with your writing skills."

To truly add value, you'll also want to include constructive feedback to help your candidate identify areas of improvement. Take detailed notes during the interview (or ask the hiring manager to do so) and when you reject your applicant, provide one or two areas of improvement.

Focus on one aspect of the job description you feel the candidate didn't quite match.

Say the role required expertise in data analytics, but the applicant wasn’t strong in this area. You might say, "At this time, we're looking for candidates with a deeper understanding of data analytics…"

If you were impressed by the candidate and genuinely feel they’d be a good fit for your company down the road, leave the door open by telling them you'll put them into your contact database and reconsider them in the future.

Additionally, if it was a difficult decision, tell your candidate – it can help soften the blow.

Paragraph Three

Conclude by wishing the candidate luck in their job search, and thanking the applicant again for considering your company.

Standard Rejection Letter

Dear [Name],

Thank you for interviewing for [position] on [date of interview] and taking the time to learn about our company. After careful consideration, we have selected another candidate for the position.

We do hope you’ll keep us in mind when we advertise roles in the future and encourage you to apply again.

We wish you the best of luck in your job search and thank you for your interest in our company.

Feedback Rejection Letter

Thank you for interviewing for [position] on [date of interview]. It was a very tough decision but we have selected another candidate for the position.

Our team was particularly impressed with your [skills], but we felt you lacked experience in [skill/experience]. We'd recommend [taking a course/obtaining a certificate/gaining project experience] to improve.

We would like to stay in touch with you for future opportunities that might be a good fit. Please let us know if you're interested in remaining in our talent pool.

Thanks again for taking the time to apply and come in to meet the team. We wish you the best of luck in your job search and thank you for your interest in our company.

Redirection Rejection Letter

Thank you for interviewing for [position] on [date of interview]. After careful consideration, we have decided to move forward with another candidate.

Our team was particularly impressed with your [skills], but we felt you lacked experience in [skill]. However, we believe your skillset would align better with [position] and would love to consider you for it.

Please let us know if you would be interested in discussing it further.

We’d like to thank you again for your time and wish you the best in your future endeavors.

Short Rejection Letter

We thank you for your interest in the company and we wish you the best of luck in your job search.

Notifying a candidate that they have been rejected is never easy. By writing a thoughtful letter fit for the situation, you leave the door open for future collaboration and leave a positive impression of your company.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in Oct. 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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job rejection letter not a good fit

How to write a job rejection email (templates included)

job rejection letter not a good fit

A corporate job typically gets 250 applications. Of these applicants, about 2% to 6% are called in for an interview. Of course, the offer is made to just one.

This means that there are about 249 candidates who get rejected each time you post an ad. Chances are you’re going to have to write a  job rejection email or two.

Now, no HR professional wants to break the bad news of rejection their candidates. But informing them about their application status is important. It helps them to track their application to closure.

Otherwise, they might end up investing more time on your job listing with follow up emails or calls – only to learn that they aren’t being considered anymore. Bad candidate experiences like these can negatively impact your employer branding .

Here’s where well-written and thought-out job rejection emails come in handy. They are great tools to update your candidates’ on their application status.

Let’s now look at the job rejection email templates you can send to your applicants. You’ll need a different kind of rejection based on the different hiring stages where they end their application.

job rejection email templates pdf

1. Post-application job rejection email template

The application stage is quite an early stage in the hiring process . At this point, all that the candidates have done is sent you their resume along with any other preliminary information you might have asked for.

Generally speaking, candidates aren’t very invested at this stage. They’re not expecting to be hired on the spot and they haven’t spent too much time in the application.

This means that a rejection at this point is usually not as discouraging as getting rejected in the more advanced hiring stages.

For these candidates, send a brief job rejection email such as:

Hello [first name] , Thank you for applying to be an [role] at [company name] . While we were really impressed by your resume and you clearly show the potential of doing some great [job core responsibility like customer service, writing, testing, etc.] , we sadly can’t move forward with your application at this point. But please feel free to re-apply when you see another relevant listing at [company name] . Thank you for applying. We appreciate your effort. [your name]

Always use the candidate’s name when delivering the rejection news as this little trick personalizes the email and it doesn’t read like a robotic mass mail.

A simple response, closing out the process is all it takes to provide a polite rejection letter at this stage.

2. Post-screening job rejection email template

The screening stage is an intermediate stage in the hiring process. Usually, at this point, you would have engaged the shortlisted candidates to work on some sample specs, had a phone call with them or got them to undertake a few pre-hiring assessment tests .

Candidates at this point feel that they’re in that zone where they have a good chance at landing the job.

So they’re somewhat hopeful and have also typically invested reasonable time and effort into getting closer to getting the job. This means that rejection at this point means more than what it does at the application stage.

Send a more thoughtful job rejection email to these candidates, such as:

Hi [first name] , Thanks so much for [sending over the trial specs or taking up the assessments tests or for participating in the screening call] to be our next [role] at [company name] . We really enjoyed reviewing your performance, and while you certainly have the skills to make it big in a [marketing or writing or customer service] role and also carry a right attitude, we sadly can’t move forward with you at this point. But please do re-apply when you see another relevant listing at [company name] . Thank you for applying. We really appreciate your effort. [your name]

Consider including personalized feedback where possible. This will help you author a polite rejection letter that candidates respond well to.

3. Post-interview job rejection email template

The interviewing stage is the most advanced stage in the hiring process. The candidate job rejection email after an interview is one of the most important, especially if you’ve had them participate in a job trial day .

Usually, at this point, your candidates have already invested a lot of time and effort to get the job and will feel much more confident and closer to getting the job. This means getting rejected after the interview can be disheartening.

Candidates don’t just lose all their time and effort, but they also experience discouragement of making it so far and still not getting hired.

To these candidates, it’s important to send a detailed job rejection email like:

Hey [first-name] , Thanks so much for interviewing to be our next [role] at [company name] . We thoroughly enjoyed talking to you about your skills, experience, and job expectations. What really stood out was your [one quality about the candidate or a complex project they might have handled or any constructive feedback they can use] . We can already tell that you have a great career ahead, but unfortunately, we can’t move forward with you this time. We went with the candidate who [explain the criteria on which the candidate lost out, for example, going with a candidate who had more experience, an additional skill, or better cultural fit]. But we’d love to have you re-apply when you see another relevant listing at [company name] . Thank you for applying at [company name]. We really appreciate your effort. [your name]

Notice that this email offers specific feedback to the candidate.

Often, this is the only way to compensate these candidates for making it this far and to give them some value in return for the time and effort they invested throughout the hiring process.

Besides, this also helps them with their future interviews.

3 principles to write polite rejection letters

Generally speaking, better job rejection emails create a better candidate experience . Every candidate will respond differently to rejection. However, there are some general best practices to abide by when writing your own job rejection letters and emails.

When using these job rejection emails samples to write yours, remember:

  • Convey empathy: Show the candidates that you know how it feels to be getting such an email. A little empathy goes a long way when improving the candidate experience.
  • Show gratitude: Thank the candidates for applying. You may not always be able to compensate candidates for their time, so demonstrating your gratitude for their time and effort is important.
  • Be personal: Customize your emails, so they feel like one-on-one conversations rather than a bulk update.

Why you should send unsuccessful candidates rejection emails

First, it is helpful to understand why you should send rejection emails at all.

Research suggests that more than half of job candidates have to wait weeks or more to get a response from prospective employers. Some never hear anything. This makes them feel disrespected and as if their time has been wasted.

Sending a rejection email is a nice way to recognize unsuccessful candidates and all the effort they put into applying. It also prevents them from having to wait around while wondering what will happen next.

Your rejection email can also be a chance to encourage them to apply again if you want them to.

In short, sending unsuccessful candidates rejection emails makes the experience more positive for them. Not only is this the kind thing to do, but it is also suitable for your business.

Candidates who have a positive relationship with employers are more likely to apply to future open positions, refer friends, and write positive reviews on websites such as Glassdoor.

In other words, you are expanding your future hiring pool by sending rejection emails.

Tips for sending better rejections emails

Sending a rejection email is always a good thing. However, sending the well-written email is even better. Many recruiters make the mistake of sending cold and mechanical emails.

These are some tips for making your emails warmer and more human:

  • Thank them: It is common courtesy to thank unsuccessful candidates for their applications. Consider expanding on this by thanking them for considering you (hiring is a two-way street). Also, acknowledge the time and effort they put in.
  • Make it personal: Whenever possible, make the email a little personal. Consider including a brief note referencing the conversation and highlighting a strength the person demonstrated.
  • Provide feedback: Offer some helpful feedback on why the person was not accepted. Ideally, this should be specific, constructive, and actionable. Providing even basic explanations can make the rejections more satisfying than merely telling unsuccessful candidates that they didn’t get the job.
  • Encourage future applications: If the person was the right candidate, encourage him or her to apply again. Consider making this more positive by writing something such as, “we hope you will be open to us reaching out about other opportunities.” This is a great way to make the email more positive.

Examples of great emails to unsuccessful candidates

Following the above tips will help to make your rejection emails more effective.

Below are some examples of well-written rejection emails to unsuccessful candidates that you can use as inspirations.

Rejection email to a candidate who was a good fit

Hi Jane, We really appreciate you applying to the Marketing Manager position at ABC Corporation. We know that many companies are hiring, and thank you for taking the time to visit us and interview with our team. At this time, we have chosen to move forward with a different candidate whose experience more closely matches our needs. We were very impressed by your in-depth knowledge of our product line and believe you would have made a great fit with our culture. Ultimately, the decision came down to the other candidate having a little more leadership experience. We expect to have other positions open soon in our marketing department. We hope that you will not mind us reaching out about any openings that we feel you would be a good fit for. Additionally, we encourage you to apply to any positions you are interested in. The best of luck with your search. We know that you will make a great team member wherever you end up. Warm regards, John Doe Marketing Director

Rejection email to a candidate who was not a good fit

Hi Jane, We appreciate you applying to the Marketing Manager position at ABC Corporation. We know that many companies are hiring, and thank you for taking the time to visit us and interview with our team. Although you have some great skills and experience, we have decided to move forward with a different candidate whose experience more closely matches our needs. Again, we really appreciate your time and effort. If you would appreciate additional feedback, please don’t hesitate to ask. The best of luck with your search. Warm Regards, John Doe Marketing Director

Key takeaways from these examples

The above two rejection email examples apply some of the aforementioned tips.

Useful tip:

While unsuccessful candidates will always be disappointed, that doesn’t mean that the rejection email needs to be devastating.

In the example for a good candidate, the hiring manager highlighted a specific strength (that she had done significant research into the product line).

He also made clear that the reason for selecting another candidate was because of the other applicant’s leadership experience.

Following this by encouraging future applications also helps keep the door open. Since she was a good candidate, the hiring manager indicates that he is considering reaching out about other openings.

This is more positive than merely asking the person to check back for other opportunities. However, you should only include this type of language if you mean it.

He also concludes with a positive note that she will make a good fit somewhere. While this isn’t going to salve the wound from rejection completely, it does help.

The example for the poorly fit candidate is shorter and more to the point. As with any other type of communication , it is best to say less when you don’t have positive things to say. There is no reason to kick the candidate when he or she is already down.

The hiring manager thanked the candidate in the same language as the first example. Regardless of whether someone was a good candidate or not, he or she put time and effort into applying, and that deserves gratitude. Conversely, the explanation is much shorter because the hiring manager has less to say.

Additionally, the hiring manager offers a chance to get some additional feedback. This is not necessary and should only be offered if you genuinely want to be helpful.

However, this can be a best practice when hiring. Providing feedback gives a good image of your company.

By offering a chance for feedback rather than just giving it, the hiring manager puts the control in the candidate’s hands. If he or she does not need to hear why the interview went poorly, he or she doesn’t have to.

The value of better recruitment

Talent is one of the most valuable resources for any organization. After all, it is the people working on your team that make it successful.

Improving your recruitment processes can help you to accelerate your business’s success.

Sending well-written and construction emails to unsuccessful candidates is a good way to enhance your recruitment efforts.

Another way is to use Recruitee. This talent acquisition platform will help you organize and streamline your recruitment process.

‍ Learn more about how Recruitee can help your team today.

Adrie is a content strategist at Foleon, and the former Head of Content & Branding at Recruitee!

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Candidate rejection emails for every stage of the application process (free templates).

Candidate rejection emails for every stage of the application process (FREE TEMPLATES)

Want to professionally, thoughtfully, and empathetically reject job applicants? The following are different types of rejection email templates for each stage of the interview process. These will assist you to turn down job applicants at various stages in the process, whether when they are not called to interview or rejected following an interview.

It’s crucial you don’t skip or delay this step or fall into the busyness trap and use it as an excuse to fail to treat your job candidates with respect. You owe your job candidates graceful and timely communicated rejections, no matter at what stage they are screened out. 

Use these sample rejection templates as a guide, but they should come with a safety precaution: ‘Handle with care.’ There’s always the risk of sounding hollow and like a bot when you use ‘one-size-fits-all’ templates. Opt for messages that mirror your company’s employer brand tone and style, and are similar to human face-to-face conversations.

Additionally, candidates that progress interviews and commit a significant amount of time to the process, priority should always be given to rejection by a courtesy phone call first. But if time and competing schedules are not on your side, we have also included an email template you can use. 

Sending rejection emails to candidates is an integral part of the hiring process. Signup for free to Occupop’s all-in-one recruiting software for better candidate experience.

So, what should I include in a rejection email?

A thorough rejection email should touch on the following elements:

#1 Say thank you Always thank a candidate for their time and interest in your company. Whether it was in application, or coming in for interviews in addition to being polite, this message also shows applicants your organisation values others’ time.

#2 Humanise it Always use the applicant’s first name and the title of the position. If possible, you may also include a note from the conversation or mention something that impressed you.

#3 Where possible, give feedback Where time permits and especially if candidates have given up a significant amount of time interviewing, provide some feedback as it provides valuable insight for the candidate that may help inform their next move. 

#4 Invitation to apply again If you feel a candidate is a good fit for the company, just not now, keep the door open and let them know you would like to contact them for other opportunities in the future. 

job rejection letter not a good fit

Candidate rejection email template: When not selected for an interview

Email Subject Line: Your application to [ Company_name ]

Hi [ Candidate_name ],

Thank you for your application for the  [ Job_title ] at [Company Name]. We really appreciate your interest in joining our company and we want to thank you for the time and energy you invested in your application for the [Job_title] position.

We received a large number of applications, and after carefully reviewing all of them, unfortunately, we have to inform you that this time we won’t be able to invite you to the next round of our hiring process.

Due to the high number of applications we are, unfortunately, not able to provide individual feedback to your application at this early stage of the process. 

However, we really appreciated your application and you are welcome to apply again at [Company name] in the future.

We wish you all the best in your job search.

Kind regards,

[ Your name ]

[ Your email signature ]

‍ Candidate rejection email template: After the team interview

It was a great pleasure to meet you and thank you so much for your interest in [ Company_name ] and the nice chat we had earlier. Unfortunately, I’m a bringer of bad news.  

After careful review, your experience and interests didn’t quite line up with what we were looking for. We have decided to move forward with other candidates at this time. We know you’ve got a lot of options when seeking a community where your skills and talents will shine, so we really appreciate that you considered us.

While this is a ‘no’ for now, it may not be forever. We think you could be a good fit for other future openings and will reach out again if we find a good match, and hopefully our paths will cross again.

Thanks once again for your time and interest. 

job rejection letter not a good fit

Candidate rejection email template: After the final interview

It was a great pleasure to meet you and we really appreciate your interest in a career with [ Company_name ]. 

Your skills and accomplishments impressed us. However after careful consideration, we wanted to let you know that we have chosen to move forward with another candidate for the [ Job_title ] position because they have more exposure to (.......) that more closely matched our hiring needs.

Our team was impressed by your skills and experience. Especially (.....). While it's a ‘no’ for now, we think you could be a good fit for other future openings and will reach out again if we find a good match.

Thank you for your time in interviewing with us and we wish you all the best in your job search and future professional endeavors.

Use ChatGPT to help you script empathetic rejection emails

Looking to use ChatGPT to help you script empathetic candidate rejection emails? Check out our ChatGPT Prompt Library for recruitment , with some great examples and use cases you can simply copy and paste into ChatGPT.

job rejection letter not a good fit

If you are looking for more time saving recruitment email templates, make sure to check out our Time-saving Email Templates for HR & Recruitment Teams resource. This includes templates for every stage of the hiring process such as; first touch sourcing email templates, recruiting email templates, interview email templates, hiring email templates, onboarding email templates and new hire announcement templates.

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Summary Points

What should i include in a rejection email.

#1 Say thank you Always thank a candidate for their time and interest in your company.

#2 Humanise it Always use the applicant’s first name and the title of the position.

job rejection letter not a good fit

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job rejection letter not a good fit

Sample Job Rejection Letters

A LinkedIn survey found that 94% of talent would like to get interview feedback .

Make sure you provide a great employer branding experience by communicating with your candidates when they haven’t been successful in applying for a job.

When you send a candidate  rejection letter, it puts your company in a good light.

This will encourage candidates to reapply for another position, speak to their friends or leave good reviews about your business.

The sample job application rejection letters below will give you a good start when communicating with candidates who haven’t made the grade. Use these candidate rejection letter templates and personalize them according to your company. Before we get into the “you didn’t get the job” email samples, here are some tips for writing job applicant rejection letters.

Job applicant rejection letter tips

  • Keep it straightforward. Don’t make the applicant letters long-winded. Keep it professional and to-the-point.
  • Personalize your applicant rejection letters. Use the candidate’s name and position and, if they attended an interview, make a comment about their performance.
  • Be gracious. As well as being professional, you should also be gracious. The person applied for a job at your business because they wanted to work with you, so make sure that your applicant rejection letter is respectful and considerate.
  • Be honest. It may be tempting to say things you don’t mean in your applicant rejection letter. So, keep things simple. For example, don’t include that you want the candidate to apply for more openings going forward if you know that the person isn’t a good fit for your business.
  • Be swift. When you know an applicant isn’t suitable for the role, don’t wait a long time before sending a rejection letter. Do it as soon as possible, so they will concentrate their efforts elsewhere.
  • Cushion the blow. When you have to give the candidate constructive criticism, start off with something positive. You can talk about things you were impressed with and then go into the skills or qualifications they were lacking. Always end on a positive note by wishing them well.
  • Always remember your brand. The applicant rejection letter could be your last chance to convey a positive impression of your business. This will either make your applicant feel favorably towards your business or hard done by. Always think about your reputation when communicating. This should be no different with an applicant rejection letter.

The structure of the job applicant rejection letter

You should have a structure for all of your job candidate rejection letters. This will enable you to say what you need to quickly and efficiently as well as sticking to your company’s brand. Use the following information when formatting a job applicant rejection letter:

  • ‍Address. Start the sample letter for rejecting a candidate with the official address of your business in the top right hand corner. You need to include your address only if you’re sending a physical letter. ‍
  • Date. A few lines under the address, include the date. You don’t need to do this if you’re sending an email.‍
  • Inside address. The candidate’s address goes a few lines underneath the date. ‍
  • Subject. Use a subject line  that is short and to-the-point. For example, the candidate’s name – job application.‍
  • Salutation. How formal or informal your salutation is will depend on your company and whether you’ve met the applicant. If you’ve met them in an interview and have developed a rapport, you can go on a first name basis, for example, “Dear Jane.” ‍
  • Opening paragraph. In the opening paragraph, convey that you appreciate that the candidate took the time to apply for the job and, if applicable, attended the interview.‍
  • The body. Use this part of the job candidate rejection letter to inform the applicant that they were not successful at this time. You can give reasons or just let them know that other candidates were more suitable and matched the job description better .‍
  • Last paragraph. How you use this last paragraph depends on your company’s policies. Some companies use it to give more detailed advice about the application while others simply note that, if the job applicant wants more detailed feedback, they can make a request.‍
  • Closing. Keep this short and to-the-point. Thank the candidate for their time and wish them the best in their future job search.‍
  • Your name and signature. You need to include your name and signature in the last part of the letter. Also, include your contact information just in case the applicant wants more information. In addition, include a signature if you’re sending a physical letter.

Job candidate rejection letter samples and templates

Job rejection letter sample 1, the standard sample rejection letter from an employer to an applicant who will not get an interview..

Dear < Applicant’s first name >,

I would like to say thank you for taking the time to apply and meet with our team about the <role title=””> at <company name=””>. It was great to find out more about what you have achieved, as well as your skills and qualifications.</company></role>

Regrettably, you were not selected by our team to go forward. Please remember that competition for jobs at <company name=””> is very high and it is often difficult to choose between many experienced and quality applicants.</company>

We will be keeping your details on file in case any openings come up in the future that we believe you would be a better fit for.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like detailed feedback about the selection process.

Many thanks again for your interest and application to <company name=””> and all the best with your job search.</company>

< Sender’s name >

Job Rejection Letter Sample 2

Dear Mr./Miss < Applicant’s last name >,

Thank you for applying for the <job title=””> at <company name=””>. We want to thank you for making the effort to apply to our company and we value your interest in becoming part of our team.</company></job>

The number of applications we received for this role was unprecedented and, after careful consideration of every single one of them, it is unfortunate that we have to let you know that you will not be proceeding to the next phase of our selection process. Although your skills and qualifications are remarkable, we have chosen to go forward with another applicant, who is a better fit in terms of experience.

Again, we value your interest in our company and would welcome an application from you in the future, should you come across another role that you think you will be suitable for.

If you need further information or have any more questions, please feel free to contact me by phone at <phone number=””> or email< email address>.</phone>

We wish you all the best with your future ventures.

Job Rejection Letter Sample 3

After a phone interview.

Dear Miss/Mr. < Applicant’s last name >

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me on the phone for the position of <job title=””>.</job>

Our company has received a high number of applications and we have contacted a number of applicants. We would like to let you know that, although your qualifications and skills were very impressive, we have decided to go forward with other candidates whose experience and skills better meet the needs of our organization at this time.

Thank you again for your interest in <company name=””>. I wish you success in your career search.</company>

Job Rejection Letter Sample 4

After a face-to-face interview.

Thank you for taking the time to interview with <company name=””> for the <position name=””>.</position></company>

We value your interest in our company and this role. I am writing to inform you that we have chosen an applicant who is the closest match for the job requirements and description of this role.

We very much appreciate you taking the time and making the effort to attend the interview. We would like you to consider applying for future openings at our company.

Once again, thank you very much for your time.

Job Rejection Letter Sample 5

Dear Miss/Mr. < Applicant’s last name >,

I appreciate you taking the time and making the effort to meet with our team to talk about the <position> at <company>.</company></position>

Your time, enthusiasm and interest in this position are much appreciated. I would like to inform you that the position has been filled by another candidate, whose qualifications, skills and experience most closely matched the requirements in the job description.

However, your application will be kept on file and you will be considered for future openings, if they are a good fit.

Again, it was good to meet with you and I wish you all the best in your future job search.

Job Rejection Letter Sample 6

Thank you for providing us with the opportunity to meet and interview you for <job position=”” title=””> with our company. We value your interest and enthusiasm in joining our team and we enjoyed getting to know more about you.</job>

It can be difficult to choose among brilliant candidates who we interview, especially when we have many who are so qualified for this particular role. Even though we would love to welcome every single person we interview to our team, in the end we need to choose an applicant who we know most closely fulfills the requirements of the position’s job description.

Although your qualifications, experience, skills and education are very impressive, we have chosen to go forward with another candidate who better matches and meets the needs of this role. Our decision was based on small nuances, but you were still a very exceptional candidate. We do hope that you keep us in mind and apply again in the future for a role you believe would be a good fit, as we appreciate your expertise in our industry. You were one of the few top candidates and it was a pleasure to meet you.

If you need more information or have any questions, I would be happy to speak with you. You can contact me by email at <email address=””> or phone at <phone number=””>.</phone></email>

Once again, thank you for the time, effort, energy and enthusiasm you have invested in this process and we wish you all the best in your personal and professional endeavors.

Job Rejection Letter Sample 7

This job applicant rejection letter is used for after a second interview.

Thank you for investing the time to go through our two-stage interview selection process for the position of <job title=””>. Our team really enjoyed meeting you and discussing various aspects of the < industry>.</job>

We have now had the time and opportunity to consider every candidate. You were one of the candidates most highly regarded for this position. However, on this occasion, the team felt that another candidate’s experience and skills were a better match for the position. We want to take this time to encourage you to continue to check our vacancies for future positions that match your skills and experience.

We wish you all the best in your future endeavors and the next part of your career. Thank you again for your interest in <company name=””>.</company>

Job Rejection Letter Sample 8

After assessment test.

Dear <applicant’s first=”” name=””>,</applicant’s>

Thank you for taking the time to meet with me and the team for <job title=””> at <company name=””>. It was a pleasure to learn more about your accomplishments and skills.</company></job>

We have now had the chance to review all applicants and, unfortunately, we regret to inform you that, at this time, we have decided not to proceed with your application. This has been a tough decision as the applicant standards have been very high. However, we have found that, during the test, other candidates had higher verbal reasoning skills. We would like to give you the advice to gain more experience in this field and to submit another application in the near future when more vacancies become available.

Thank you once again for your interest in <company name=””> and we wish you all the best in your job search and career.</company>

Conclusion: Job applicant rejection letter sample

Use the job applicant rejection letter templates above by customizing them according to the different stages of the hiring process .

Want templates for job descriptions to attract the best candidates?

Click here for Fountain’s job description templates , which include bank teller, delivery driver, retail cashier and more. You can even use our interview preparation checklist to prepare in advance for your interviews with each candidate.

After you’ve filled in your job description templates, you can use Fountain’s Boost to get your description in front of the most qualified candidates on both free and paid platforms.

For quicker and more efficient sourcing and hiring, find out about how to Boost a job here .

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  • 7 Rejection Letter Samples to...

7 Rejection Letter Samples to Send to Unsuccessful Applicants

10 min read · Updated on September 14, 2023

Ken Chase

Simplify the rejection notification process with these sample rejection letters

Whenever you hire a new employee, it almost always means that you selected them over other applicants. Obviously, the courteous thing to do is to let each of them know that you've decided not to offer them employment. But how should you notify them that they've been passed over for the position? For many companies, the answer is simple: send them a clear and professional rejection letter that confirms your decision. Unfortunately, writing those letters is not always the easiest thing to do.

In this post, we'll explain why rejection letters are important and offer some tips to help you craft your own rejection letter templates. We'll then provide seven sample employment rejection letters that you can customize to fit your company's needs.

Why send out a job rejection letter?

Obviously, sending out rejection letters to applicants does take up precious time, but there are good reasons why companies do this. First, a polite rejection notice is considered good etiquette, since it lets the candidate know that the job has been filled. That confirmation shows that you respect their time enough to help them avoid wasting it on a job that's no longer available. It also helps to avoid any candidate confusion by helping them to understand why they weren't selected for hire.

Companies that develop a habit of sending out formal rejection letters can also help themselves, by promoting their own commitment to respectful professionalism. This can leave a positive impact on the rejected candidate, as well as anyone else they might talk to about their job search experience.

Why use template rejection letters?

Template rejection letters can be a great way to save time and ensure a consistent approach to your communication with unsuccessful candidates. They can help you to provide uniform answers to explain why a candidate was rejected, as well as advice that you think may help the candidate as they continue their job search. Well-constructed rejection letters that offer helpful feedback to candidates can help to soften their disappointment, while providing useful information that can benefit their careers.

How to write your own employer rejection letters

So, how do you write a positive and helpful employment rejection letter? The following tips can help you to determine what to include in your template letters, and the best tone and method for addressing rejection in the clearest and most concise manner possible.

Don't delay the rejection. Once you've decided to move forward with a specific candidate, notify rejected applicants as soon as possible. Remember that they may also be pursuing other open positions, so you're doing them a favor by letting them know that your company's job has been filled.

You can send the rejection via email rather than by regular mail service. While a mailed letter might seem more formal, most candidates will appreciate receiving the news as soon as possible – and email is always quicker.

Keep your rejection letters short. No candidate wants to read through a lengthy explanation about why they didn't measure up to expectations. At the same time, though, your letter should include enough detail to ensure that you explain the decision.

Try to be as positive as possible. The rejection will be disappointing for the candidate, so there's no need to pile on with negative feedback or other criticism.

As a rule, keep your letter limited to no more than three short paragraphs. The first one can simply thank them for their interest and let them know that you've decided not to hire them. 

The second paragraph can include some positive affirmation, by focusing on anything that impressed you during their interview, and perhaps cite a reason why they've been rejected. If you might consider them for a different job in the future, tell them that too. 

Finally, your third paragraph should simply thank them again and wish them well in their efforts to land the right job in the future.

Seven rejection letter samples

Below, we've included seven example rejection letter templates that you can customize and send to unsuccessful applicants. This selection of templates covers a variety of different approaches for rejecting candidates, so you can choose one or several depending on your company's needs.

1.     Generic rejection letter template

Dear Mr / Ms [Applicant's name],

Thank you for submitting your application and resume for our [title of the position they applied for] position. We deeply appreciate you taking the time to reach out to us. However, after reviewing your application, we have decided not to move forward with your application.

As you probably know, we received a tremendous amount of interest in this position, so this was an extremely difficult decision for our hiring team. Unfortunately, we concluded that your impressive array of skills and achievements were not what we were looking for at this time.

We want to thank you again for your interest in working with us and wish you the best of success in your future career endeavors.

[Your name and company name]

2.     Application rejection letter template

Thank you for submitting your application. We appreciate your interest in a position as a [job title] in our company and the effort you invested in reaching out to us. Unfortunately, our review of the many applications and resumes we received in response to our job posting has moved us to select another candidate for the role.

We do want to commend you for your impressive skill set and accomplishments, and hope that you will consider a different role with us at some future point in time. We will keep your resume on file and may reach out to you if we have another opening for a job that better aligns with your unique talents.

Again, thank you for getting in touch with us and providing us with your resume and application. We wish you luck and much success in your job search efforts.

Warmest regards,

3.     Screening stage rejection letter template

Thank you for your resume and application submission and for participating in our initial screening process. Unfortunately, our screening suggests that you may not be the best fit for this position or our company at this time. As a result, we have decided to decline moving forward with our interview process.

We should note that your skills, experience, and other qualifications are very close to what we need for this position. However, our screening results found that [provide reason for rejection, such as failed background check, failed drug test, etc.]. Those results led us to focus on other candidates to fill this position.

Again, we applaud your credentials and wish you nothing but the best in your job search efforts. Thanks for reaching out to us and good luck throughout your career.

Best regards,

4.     Early-stage interview rejection letter template

We truly appreciate you taking the time to meet with our hiring team to interview for our open [title of the job] position. I speak for everyone on the team when I say that we were really impressed with your overall performance and believe that you have a lot to offer to any company that hires you. Regrettably, however, we have decided to decline moving forward in our interview process.

While your interview was solid and compelling, and your resume qualifications are close to what we were looking for, we have decided to hire another candidate whose skills more closely align with our needs for this position. Make no mistake, though – this was a difficult decision.

Since we were so impressed with your candidacy, we will keep your resume on file and contact you if any other opportunities arise in the future. Until then, we wish you the best of luck in all your endeavors and hope for your continued career success.

5.     Final stage interview rejection letter template

Thank you so much for your time and attention throughout our application and interview process. We appreciate the patience you extended to everyone on our team during all [number of interviews] of your meetings with us. Unfortunately, after reviewing the results of our assessments of every candidate for the position, we have decided not to offer you the role.

Everyone on our team agrees that your skills and experience are beyond question, so this decision is in no way a reflection on your qualifications. Our decision was based solely on an evaluation of every candidate's experience and how well we believe they might fit with the specific needs of that open position. Regrettably, that decision process led us to another candidate.

We would appreciate it if you would allow us to contact you if or when another position opens, that we believe might be a better fit for your core competencies. Again, we want to thank you for your commitment to the process and extend our best wishes for your future success.

With our best regards,

6.     Post-phone call rejection letter template

Dear Mr /Ms [Applicant's name],

This letter is to follow up on our recent phone call with you confirming that we will not be hiring you for the position of [name of position the applicant applied for]. I wanted to personally contact you and let you know how much we all appreciated having the opportunity to get to know you throughout our interview process.

Though you have already been notified of our decision in that brief call, I still want to take a few moments to say how impressed we were with your qualifications and interview skills. We all recognize the potential value our company could enjoy if you were a member of our team.

Thank you again for your interest in our company. We wish you luck in your career journey.

7.     Rejection letter template advising candidate to reapply in the future

Thank you so much for interviewing for our position as a [job title]. Your qualifications are impressive, which made our hiring decision extremely difficult. However, the team here have decided to offer the job to another candidate.

Still, we want to let you know that we recognize your talents and are confident that you would do well in a different role within our organisation, if you focused on developing [cite a skill that the candidate needs to enhance]. With those added skills , we would be eager to consider you for a different role in our company.

Thanks again for your dedication and interest in joining our firm. Good luck to you in your job search!

Simplify your efforts to follow-up with rejected candidates

It's never easy to craft a letter letting job candidates know that they've been rejected. Still, it's something that every company should do, so it's important to streamline the process as much as possible. By using some variation of these rejection letter templates, and customizing them to fit your unique needs, sending out these notifications can be quicker and easier than ever before.

Looking to avoid a job rejection letter by bolstering your resume? Get a free resume review from our experts today!

Recommended reading:

Make the Perfect First Impression With Your Resume

How to Describe Yourself in an Interview

Top 15 Professional Goals and How to Achieve Them

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Rejecting Applicants: A Template for the Perfect Rejection Letter

Mercer Smith-Looper

You never know—one of your now-rejected candidates may be an excellent fit for one of your roles in the future!

Before the pandemic, every corporate job attracted about 250 applicants . Of those, anywhere between four and six would make it to the final interview, and only one would get the job. In a post-pandemic world, there are over 12.6 million unemployed people in the United States alone. That means the number of applicants is even higher. So are the rejections that go with them.

When you’re rejecting so many candidates every day, it starts to get challenging to remain human. You get desensitized and may even forget that the people you are dealing with on the other end are just that: people.

Now, more than ever, it’s essential to be kind. Check yourself before you respond to any applicant, no matter what their stage. Here’s a checklist you can use to go through your responses and craft templates that work the best for your company and help your candidates still feel valued, even in rejection.

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Best practices for rejecting applicants.

If you can create a template to use and regularly modify for each of your candidates, it will make each rejection letter a bit easier and a bit more straightforward. Consider the following best practices as you go and create something that works perfectly for you and your team.

1. Let them know quickly

Many people like to wait until they’ve found or hired the best candidate before notifying any other candidates that they won’t be moving forward. Don’t do that. As soon as you know that the person you’re reviewing or talking to isn’t the best candidate for your team, let them know. Depending on where they are in the interview process, this can be via email or phone. If they’re just in the beginning stages of application review or a phone screen, you’re good to email. Beyond that: give them the courtesy of a phone call.

2. Personalize your rejection

Templates make things much more manageable and assure that you address everything that you need to in each rejection. Leave sections in your templates for personalization. Mention the candidate’s name in the opening and sign the message with your own. Take ownership over the rejection , rather than just hiding behind your company’s name. If you’ve spoken with them or they’ve gone through the process, mention something from your conversation if you can . Providing personal details helps the candidate feel like they are more than just a number to you and can soften the rejection blow.

3. Make it short and sweet

No one wants to read a novel about why they aren’t getting a job . Keep your rejection letter short and sweet. One to two paragraphs that include all of the critical information will suffice. Let them know that they won’t be moving forward, that you appreciated their time , add any additional information that you feel is necessary, and then move on. If they reach back out for more information, try to keep that quick and concise as well.

4. Be honest

If you can be honest in your rejection, people won’t have to reach back out and ask why they aren’t moving forward. Take time to chat with your HR or People team about what you can or can’t share regarding constructive insights. Try to offer as much information as you can, though. It will help create a better impression of your company with the candidate and help them move forward. The more insights you can offer, the more potential they have for their next interview to be the one that works out.

Ask for insights on your process

Just like they’re curious about what could have gone better, you should be too. Ask people that run through your process what they liked and didn’t like. Ask them what felt awkward or if there was anything that you could have improved. By asking for insights, you show them that you value their experience, but you also get the opportunity to hear different perspectives on how you could improve your interview process.

Rejection Letter Templates

Now that we’ve broken down the things to consider and include when writing a rejection letter, here are three templates for you to use. The type of response you send after the phone screen versus after a conversation with them should be different. Similarly, you should call them if you’ve had an interview or taken a substantial amount of their time.

Template to send to a candidate that has applied but hasn’t yet reached the phone screen:

Hey there [Name],

Thanks so much for taking the time to apply for [The Role] at [Your Company]. We really appreciate your interest.

We’ve had a chance to review your qualifications, and while you have an impressive background, we have ultimately decided to move forward with other candidates at this time.

I’m happy to stay in touch should anything change or other opportunities with [Your Company] come about that might fit your background.

Thank you again for your time and interest in [Company]—best of luck in your search.

Thanks, [Your Name]

If you’ve reviewed their credentials, scheduled a phone screen, and then decided that they aren’t a good fit, the template changes slightly:

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me and for allowing us to consider you for a position with [Company]. While you have an impressive background [note something that you liked about your conversation], we have ultimately decided to move forward with other candidates for the role.

I’m happy to stay in touch should anything change or other opportunities with us come about that might fit your background as we continue to scale.

Again, thank you so much for your interest in [company], and best of luck with your search.

When rejecting a candidate after a longer-form interview or conversation, it’s a best practice to reach out over the phone. Lead your discussion off by letting them know that you won’t be moving forward.

Continue by saying that you appreciate their time and energy and keep them in mind for future roles. If you’d like to, follow up with them via email with something like the following:

Hey there [name],

Thanks for speaking with me. I wanted to reiterate that I’m grateful for the time and energy you put into the interview process. While it didn’t work out for this role, I’m happy to keep you in mind for future positions at [Company].

Please let me know if there’s anything else I can help with, and good luck in your job search.

Thanks, [your name]

Keep it human

Everyone knows the Golden Rule: treat others as you’d like to be treated . That goes doubly when you’re rejecting candidates in a hot job market. Give people their answers quickly and keep it short and sweet. If they ask for feedback on what they could have done better or how they could change their resume, give them as much information as you can. Similarly, ask for their insights on what you could have done better. It never hurts to improve your processes, even if you aren’t moving forward with them.

Treat your candidates like humans. Personalize the templates that you use, and be as open and receptive as possible. Building relationships rather than breaking them is one of the best ways to continue to ensure your business’s health and stability.

3 Templates for the Perfect Rejection Letter

We prepared craft templates that work the best for your company and help your candidates still feel valued, even in rejection.

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Mercer is the Head of Support at Appcues, a yoga fanatic, and strives to make the world a little bit happier one customer at a time. You can find her at mercenator.com and on Twitter at @mercenator .

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How To Write a Considerate but Clear Job Rejection Letter

Hannah Durevall

Let's explore some practical tips on how to write a thoughtful job rejection letter that conveys the necessary information with respect. If you are questioning whether or not you should give rejection letters to unsuccessful applicants, the answer is always a resounding ‘Yes’.

Communicating Rejection Respectfully  

We’ve all been there during the hiring process. You apply for a dream job, you’re convinced you’re the right fit, and then you never hear back. Radio silence .

Not only does it leave you wondering, but when you finally realize that you’ve been ghosted by your dream employer, you are left with a bad taste in your mouth.

The job search is already hard enough without adding extra stress and uncertainty to the interview process . Treat job seekers the way that you would want to be treated when you are undergoing a job search, with full transparency and respect.

By failing to offer an update to candidates, you will be causing damage to your corporate image as well as creating a negative candidate experience for that job applicant. Furthermore, it is quite unfair to keep an applicant waiting in the dark after they have devoted time to and effort to apply for a position with your company. After all, preparing tailored cover letters and taking part in responding to interview questions takes time.

When you respectfully reject a job candidate, you will be able to preserve a favorable relationship for future opportunities. It can also lay the foundations for a solid talent funnel where candidates will still be open to applying or referring others to future openings.

Plus, you’re helping candidates by allowing them to pursue other opportunities that might be a better fit for them.

You can keep a resume on file for qualified candidates and if a future role is a good fit for them you can contact them to apply. Keeping them in mind for future job openings can be beneficial to both parties, as you will have candidates in mind that you have already vetted.

Rejecting candidates with compassion is an important element of creating a positive recruiting process. It can help to generate a favorable impression of your employer brand in the minds of potential employees and job applicants.

Thoughtlessly delivering negative news can leave candidates with an innate distrust of you and your organization. If you do it carefully, though, they may want to stay in touch for future opportunities or even suggest colleagues to your company.

If you find yourself struggling to compose a considerate but clear job rejection letter, don't fret. Professional assistance from a reliable paper help writing service can provide invaluable guidance in crafting a thoughtful and well-worded response to communicate your decision respectfully.

On top of providing a positive experience, you can also consider giving constructive feedback to establish a positive relationship for future career endeavors. Even though hiring managers are not legally compelled to share feedback, applicants have the right to ask.

Prospects who receive detailed feedback are more likely to pursue a future opportunity with your organization.

Job Rejection Letter Sample

If you’re in charge of sending out job rejection letters at your company, you have likely spent time fretting over what to say and how to avoid hurting feelings while remaining professional.

The emotions of this situation can leave you with writer's block. Don’t worry, we know the struggle. That’s why we’ve created these sample letters and rejection letter templates for you.

Of course, we don’t recommend that you simply copy + paste and hit send on your job rejection letter using these examples. Instead, use them as a tool to create your own. You can combine certain elements that you like, and customize them to suit your needs.

An example of a rejection letter.

Generic Letter

Dear [candidate's first name],

Thank you for your interest in [the position] at [company name]. We appreciate you taking the time to talk with us and learn more about the role. We sincerely enjoyed meeting you and learning about your impressive skills and accomplishments.

Unfortunately, you have not been selected for the role.

The competition for this position was strong, and though you showed great promise, we have decided to move forward with candidates who were a better fit for us at this time. It was a difficult decision to make with many impressive candidates in the running.

However, we will be sure to keep your resume on file and will contact you if we have any openings that fit your experience.

We are happy to answer any questions you might have or give more specific feedback on the interview if you are interested.

Thank you again for your time and good luck with your job search.

Warm Regards,

[Your Name]

Quick Letter

Hi [candidate's first name],

Thank you for applying for the [position] at [company name].

We are writing to let you know that unfortunately, we are not moving you forward in our interview process.

However, we appreciate the time you took to apply for the vacant job position, and want to thank you for allowing us the opportunity to learn about your experience and skills. You were one of many qualified candidates for this competitive position.

We will be keeping your application on file for future consideration.

Wishing you the best of luck in your job search,

Long Letter

I want to personally thank you for your interest and the time you spent applying for the [position] at [company name]. The time you put into the interview process is sincerely appreciated.

Unfortunately, we will not be offering the position to you at this time.

We had a large number of applications for this position, and though your qualifications are impressive, we have decided to move on with a candidate who has more applicable experience. Though your education in this area and your passion for the role were clear, we are in need of someone with more hands-on experience.

We were very impressed by you as a candidate and will be sure to keep your resume on file in case another position comes up that would better fit your experience level.

We encourage you to reach out to us once you gain more experience in this field, and we hope that someday you will re-apply at [company name].

On behalf of our team, I want to thank you for your time and effort and wish you all the best in your job search.

If you have any further questions, please contact me directly at [your phone number].

Each letter above serves a different purpose. The generic, longer letter is for candidates who you spent more time talking with. We encourage you to add a relevant subject line as well as personal details when possible to these types of rejection letters.

The quick letter is best for candidates who you might not have moved forward in the interview process and haven’t talked to or learned as much about. In this case, you’re giving them a heads-up that they haven’t been selected as quickly and concisely as possible.

Finally, the last of the three sample letters is for a candidate who moved onto the second stage of interviews or who specifically asked for further feedback about why they weren’t selected for the position.

Depending on the relationship you developed with an applicant and your company policy, you may want to make a phone call rather than send out an email. In that case, you can use these templates as a way to guide your conversation or help you if you get stuck and don’t know what to say.

Now that you have an idea of what these rejection letters should look like, let’s answer some of the questions that are commonly asked about job rejection letters.

Giving feedback in a job rejection letter.

Candidate Rejection Letter Timeline

First and foremost, every candidate should receive an email confirmation of their application, even if it is an automatic response. This lets them know that there have been no glitches and that their application has been received.

This can be as simple as an email like the following:

“Thank you for applying for a position with [company name]. We have received your application, and our HR team will be reviewing all applications. We will contact you regarding your application status once we are ready to move to the next step.”

If you can, give the applicant a deadline, especially if you know when you will be holding interviews. This will help them plan their other applications and interviews accordingly.

Organizations set the stage for what job searchers should expect to see during the remainder of the recruiting process , even at this early stage. Even if the candidate is not the right fit for this particular position, they may know someone else who could be or may apply again in the future.

You always want to ensure that all candidates are left with a good impression of your company and your hiring process.

You should send out job rejection letters as soon as possible, but not too quickly. Avoid issuing rejections on the same day they are received, as this may raise the suspicion that not enough time was spent assessing the applications.

In the same way, job offer confirmation emails may be automated and standardized, and applicant rejection letters or rejection emails can be automated and standardized for a faster hiring process.

If a candidate has attended a job interview and you have determined they are not the right person for the job, human resources should aim to send them a job rejection letter within 48 hours of the interview.

At the interview stage, candidates must be rejected with great care. Be sympathetic while also providing actionable advice to assist an applicant in their future endeavors.

Begin with an email, and then offer to speak with the unsuccessful candidate over the phone to address further feedback. Avoid sending a nonspecific email, since this would give the impression of false optimism. When it comes to emails, you should consider using a DKIM checker for resolving any authentication issues and providing the best possible experience to candidates.

Be clear but considerate when stating that they have not been selected for the job, leaving no question in their mind.

You should use your judgment based on your relationship with the unsuccessful candidate as well as the company's recommended method of delivering the rejection. A phone call or email is standard procedure.

Tips for Writing a Job Rejection Letter

There are many things to consider when sending out a formal rejection letter. We have some tips that can help make this process easier for the hiring team.

You will need strong communication skills, leadership skills, and a lot of tact to write the perfect employment rejection letter. You can also enhance your rejection letter with precision and professionalism using an AI checker for improved communication in the hiring process.

Checklist for writing a rejection letter.

Be Consistent

When it comes to shortlisting individuals, it is critical for the interview team to be consistent with their assessment procedures. Candidates should be evaluated using the same set of requirements, with their abilities and experience being compared to the essential needs of the position.

By adhering to this policy, you may ensure that your recruitment process is fair, non-discriminatory, and in compliance with applicable legislation. Create your Equal Opportunity Policy in order to remain in compliance with the law and to demonstrate that you have a fair hiring procedure.

Don’t Discuss Other Candidates

It is advisable not to say anything about other qualified candidates or their previous work experience unless absolutely necessary. For example, statements such as " we have decided to hire another person who is more qualified " should be avoided.

Regardless of what the unsuccessful candidates ask about the successful candidate, you should avoid giving any details. By discussing other applicants' details on file, you may be in violation of data protection regulations.

All employers, including applicants and prospective employees, have a legal obligation to maintain the confidentiality of all personal information they collect.

Additionally, if you provide information on other candidates without their permission, you are in violation of data protection laws, and your company could face serious consequences.

It is best to say as little as possible about other candidates to avoid this issue.

Decline At The Appropriate Time

Once you make a hiring decision, inform your candidate of your decision as soon as possible. Timing is everything here because the candidate may have other offers or interviews scheduled.

Despite the fact that there are occasions when you want to keep your options open, you should reject candidates early on if they are not a good fit for the position. Don’t string them along if you know they aren’t the right person for the job.

Provide Constructive Criticism

Explaining why you are rejecting candidates demonstrates that you value the time and effort they put into applying for your position and that you will not leave them in the dark about your decision.

After an interview, if you decide to reject an applicant, you can provide them with precise but constructive criticism on the abilities that they may need to improve on.

It’s always a good idea to take notes during the interview to personalize your input so that you can better serve your interviewees.

Make the Effort

Start by mentioning the candidate's name and signing the message with your own name at the end of the message. Make a point of taking responsibility for the rejection rather than simply hiding behind your company's name.

If you have had a chat with them or if they have gone through the process, try to incorporate anything from your conversation into your letter. Providing personal information makes the candidate feel like they are more than a number in your eyes, which can assist in lessening the pain of being rejected.

However, it is understandable if you can’t give individualized feedback because the candidate did not advance to the interview stage.

job rejection letter not a good fit

State Your Point

People do not want to spend their time reading a novel about why they are not the best pick for a job. Keep your response concise and to the point, and gently but clearly tell them that they were not selected.

It is sufficient to write one or two paragraphs that contain all of the important information. Inform them that they will not be proceeding further, express your appreciation for their time, provide any more information that you believe is required, and then get on with your work.

If they contact you again for additional information, make every effort to respond as quickly and succinctly as possible.

Maintain Open Lines of Communication

One of the most essential aspects of the hiring process is open communication. Candidates are typically very invested and interested in receiving information from you regarding the next steps and current updates.

You can inform candidates about the length of time you expect your hiring process to take. You can even inform them of the number of applicants who are currently in the running.

As long as you don’t give personal information about other candidates, any updates and information you can give during this process will be appreciated.

Ask for Feedback

Obtaining candidates' feedback will not only assist you in improving your hiring process but will also help you create trust with the candidate and strengthen your corporate image.

A large number of organizations conduct surveys or make use of applicant experience websites such as Glassdoor to gather and share their employees' opinions.

In the same way that they are curious about what may have gone better, you should be curious as well. Ask people who have gone through your job interview process questions to find out what worked and what didn’t.

Discuss with them what they found awkward or if there was anything you might have done better.

When you ask for their ideas, you not only demonstrate to them that you value their knowledge and expertise, but you also have the opportunity to learn about diverse viewpoints on how you may enhance the interview process.

Include Candidates in Your Talent Pool

It is important to maintain contact with candidates in order to retain them in your pool. Maintaining a positive relationship with them will increase the likelihood that they will apply for other job openings or perhaps serve as a referral source for their network.

For example, you could send them a newsletter relevant to your current job openings or connect with them on social media to provide corporate news and information.

It is important to treat people the way you would like to be treated .

This is especially true when you reject candidates in a tough job market. Candidates may be getting a lot of job rejections, and you should let them know kindly that they have not been selected by your company.

Provide them with their responses as promptly as possible, and keep them brief and to the point. If they ask for suggestions on what they could have done better or how they could improve their resume, provide them with as much information as you can about the situation.

In a similar vein, inquire about their opinions on what you could have done better. It never hurts to improve your procedures, even if you are not planning to use them in the future.

Treat your candidates like real people and understand that feelings are involved in this process. Provide some personalization to the templates you utilize when possible, and strive to be as open and receptive as possible.

The ability to build relationships rather than destroy them is one of the most effective methods of ensuring your company's long-term health and stability. It's also great to help people with positive feedback.

For more HR tips and information, check out our other flair blogs here .

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