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.
Hi [candidate first name],
Thank you for applying for the [position] at [company name].
We are writing to let you know that we are not moving you forward in our interview process.
However, we appreciate the time you took to apply for the 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 on your job search,
Dear [candidate first name],
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 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.
How Soon 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.
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, applicant rejection letters or rejection emails can be automated and uniform 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.