Candidate Rejection Letter

You Can Reject Candidates Kindly and Professionally

woman typing a rejection letter on her laptop
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Candidate Rejection Letters Make Business Sense

How you treat candidates for your jobs really matters. Sending a candidate rejection letter to the applicants who were not selected for the job is an extra, but positive step, your company can take to build good will with candidates and establish yourself as an employer of choice.

Your reputation, built one candidate at a time, is critical to your ongoing ability to attract the best and most skilled talent to your firm.

Candidates make decisions about your company based on their treatment and officially notifying them about your employment decisions is a point in your favor.

Start With a Follow-up Phone Call

A phone call to the candidate is the first step after you have decided that he or she is not the most qualified for your open position. During the call, you thank the candidates for their application and interview time. State clearly that you have determined that you will offer, or have offered, the position to another candidate.

Then, follow-up your call with the official candidate rejection letter providing the same information. This contact should occur as soon as you know that the candidate is not the person you want to hire. Don't leave your candidates wondering, for weeks on end, whether he or she was the person selected for the job.

Tips for Writing Candidate Rejection Letters

  • Also known as a "thanks, but no thanks letter," candidate rejection letters tell the candidate that he or she was not selected for the position. If you believe that the candidate would qualify for other roles in your company, and that he or she appeared to also fit your culture, you can also encourage the person to apply again in the future. Always end your candidate rejection letters on a positive note and wish the person success. Make sure you thank your candidate for the time invested in the application and interview process.
  • Personalize your candidate rejection letters with the candidate's name, the position, and possibly a remark about the interview time. You don't want your candidate to feel as if he or she received a form rejection letter - even if it basically, is.
  • Get straight to the point in your rejection letters. But, especially if you have called, the candidate already knows what to expect in the rejection letter.
  • Make your candidate rejection letter business-like, but gracious. After all, you are puncturing a person's hopes and dreams. Do so with respect and consideration.
  • Never say anything in the candidate rejection letter that you don't mean. For example, don't suggest that the candidate apply for openings in the future if you know the candidate will not fit successfully in your organization.
  • Remember, the candidate rejection letter is your last opportunity to build a relationship with the candidate that will cause him or her to think favorably of your company. Your reputation as an employer is affected by this candidate and the people affected by this candidate's opinions and treatment at your hands. Don't ever believe this is unimportant for your reputation as a potential employer.​

Human Resources Sample Letters

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Standard Application Acknowledgement Letter

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