7 Rejection Letter Samples to Send to Unsuccessful Applicants

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!

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Sample Job Rejection Letters

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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