Article
10 Sep 2021

Job Rejection Letter

A man interviewing a candidate for a job position.

Job Rejection Letter

The answer is always a resounding ‘Yes' if you are questioning whether or not you should give rejection letters to unsuccessful applicants.

By failing to offer an update to an inappropriate candidate, you will be causing damage to your corporate image as well as a negative candidate experience for that job application. Furthermore, it is quite unfair to keep an applicant waiting in the dark after they have devoted time and effort to apply for a position with your company.

When you successfully reject a job candidate, you will be able to preserve not only a favorable relationship for future opportunities but also a solid talent funnel where candidates will still be open to applying or referring others to your business's future openings.

Rejecting candidates with compassion is an important element of creating a positive recruiting process, and it can help to generate a favorable impression of your organization in the minds of potential employees. Thoughtlessly delivering the 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.

Even though hiring managers are not legally compelled to share feedback, applicants have the right to ask.

It has been found that the vast majority of candidates - as much as 94% - seek feedback after an interview – and that prospects who receive constructive feedback are four times more likely to pursue a future opportunity with your organization.

How quickly should you send a candidate rejection letter?

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 their application has been received. 

Organizations set the stage for what job searchers should expect to see during the remainder of the recruiting process even at this early stage. 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, that job offer confirmation emails may be automated and standardized, applicant rejection letters or rejection emails can be automated and uniform.

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 this level, 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 recipient over the phone to address further feedback. Avoid sending a nonspecific email, since this would give the impression of false optimism. You should use your judgment based on your relationship with the candidate as well as the company's recommended method of delivering the rejection.

Are there any legalities to consider when sending a job rejection letter?

Be consistent

When it comes to shortlisting individuals, it is critical to be consistent with your 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.

In reality, it is possible that they will request the application from the employee who was hired in place of the person who was fired. After that, they might utilize this information within the selection process to draw direct similarities between the applicant you rejected and the winning candidate.

Additionally, by discussing other applicants, 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. 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.

Top tips for rejection letters

Decline at the appropriate time

Inform your candidate of your decision as soon as possible. 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.

Make it personal and provide constructive criticism

Explaining why you are rejecting candidates demonstrates that you value their time and effort in 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 precise criticism on the abilities and experiences that they need to improve on. Take notes during the interview to personalize your input so that you can better serve your interviewees.

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 presentation. Providing personal information makes the candidate feel like they are more than a number in your eyes, which can assist to lessen the pain of being rejected.

It is understandable that providing individualized feedback would be difficult if the candidate did not advance to the interview stage.

Keep it brief and to the point

People do not want to spend their time reading a novel about why they are not finding a job. Keep your response concise and to the point. 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 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 between stages

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.

Ask for their feedback

Obtaining candidates' feedback will not only assist you in improving your hiring process, but it 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. Inquire of those who have gone through your method to find out what they liked and disliked. Discuss with them about 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.

 Continue to include them 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 include them in a newsletter relevant to your current job openings or connect with them on social media to provide corporate news and information.

Be kind and human

Everyone is familiar with the saying which states that you should treat people the way you would like to be treated. This is especially true when you are rejecting candidates in a tough job market. 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 make improvements to your procedures, even if you are not planning to use them in the future.

Treat your candidates as if they were real people. Provide some personalization to the templates you utilize, 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 the long-term health and stability of your company.

What you do not know is that one of your now-rejected prospects may turn out to be a fantastic fit for one of your future positions.

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