Reference Request Rejection Letter Sample

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Sometimes when you are asked to write a reference for someone, you have to decline. There are many reasons you might choose not to write a recommendation, but saying “no” requires some thought, and tact. It’s possible that you don’t know the person well enough to write a detailed letter.

You may have had experiences with the person that lead you to believe that the position they are seeking would not be a good fit.

You might not know enough about the position to be able to offer a strong endorsement for the candidate. It may be that you just don’t have the time to spend writing a well thought out reference.

Some Tips for Declining a Reference Request

When you need to decline a request for a recommendation, try to do so as promptly as possible. You should give the person as much time as possible to line up alternative references if you can’t provide one.

In your letter, try to be as tactful as possible, and give the person a reason for your rejection. It is better to decline the request than to write a lukewarm endorsement.

If you can, include some positive feedback. Offer to help in another way- perhaps you can offer some job search advice for their target industry, or possibly recommend a mutual acquaintance who would be a more appropriate person to endorse them.

Here are some sample letters rejecting a request for a reference.

Letter Samples Reference Request Rejection

Example 1

Your Name
Your Address
Your City, State, Zip Code
Your Phone Number
Your Email

Date

Name
Address
City, State, Zip

Dear Mr. Smith,

I am glad to hear you are interested in a job in the publishing industry. I do not feel that I worked with you long enough to write you an accurate reference letter for your job search.

However, if you have any questions about job searching in the publishing industry, I would be happy to answer them.

Sincerely,

YourName

Example 2

Your Name
Your Address
Your City, State, Zip Code
Your Phone Number

Your Email

Date
Name
Address
City, State, Zip

Dear Ms Jones,

I am pleased to hear that you are applying for a sales position with XYZ Company. Unfortunately, since I haven’t had the opportunity to observe your work in this field, I would be unable to offer the strength of endorsement that one of your closer colleagues could.

Best of luck in your new endeavor.

Sincerely,

YourName

Example 3

Your Name
Your Address
Your City, State, Zip Code
Your Phone Number
Your Email

Date

Name
Address
City, State, Zip

Dear Mr. Black,

I received your request for a letter of recommendation. I believe that you would be better served to utilize a reference who is more familiar with your coursework in a field related to the IT position at ABC Systems than I am.

I am happy to supply a general character reference, but I would not be able to speak directly to your qualifications for this position.

Regards,

YourName

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