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    Workstream | 8 min read

    How to Tell Someone They Didn’t Get the Job - Rejection Template

    Hiring managers often play a crucial role as gatekeepers during the recruitment process, ensuring that only quality candidates move on to the next stage. This means filtering through hundreds, if not thousands of resumes, until you finally find a candidate who seems to fit the requirements of the team. Initial interviews may have been scheduled, but you (or the team) now realized that they aren’t not suitable after all - which leads to the daunting question of how to tell someone they didn't get the job.

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    Simply ghosting them may seem like an ideal (and easy) way out, and this is also the path that many companies often take. However, the lack of follow-up after an application, be it to provide an offer or rejection may end up leading applicants on, and give a false sense of hope. More often than not, a lack of response to candidates can leave a bad impression and even spark negative word-of-mouth about your organization.

    How then should you draft a rejection letter to the candidate? Well, we've included some tips on how to write a rejection letter and even an applicant rejection letter template for you!

    Why Write a Rejection Letter

    It is important to realize the effects of a "non-response". In this case, we’re referring to the lack of follow-ups after the interview, even though the candidate has already been deemed to be "rejected" internally. Frustration, impatience and a sense of false hope may accumulate, resulting in lasting negative sentiments towards your company. This may manifest in the form of a negative Glassdoor review, with the words "terrible interview experience" in the title. While this may be the worst case scenario, it is undeniable that many candidates expect some sort of reply from the company. 

    Writing a rejection letter helps to maintain a relationship with the applicant, who may potentially be a better fit for another team or role. With more experience and training, they may be suitable for future roles as well, and a positive recruitment experience will help in keeping them in the candidate pool. Most importantly, they will retain a good impression of your company.

    Candidates will also realize that you respect the effort they've put into applying for the role and preparing for the interview(s). At the same time, it also provides a form of closure, so that they are not left anticipating a callback, but can instead focus their efforts on other companies. This is especially so if they felt like they nailed the interview and stood a chance. Instead of waiting for them to follow up after the interview (and having an influx of follow up emails in your inbox), sending the rejection letter shows initiative and does not result in anticipation and disappointment thereafter.

    Furthermore, you will be able to preserve your employer brand. Remember that negative Glassdoor review we mentioned earlier? Studies have shown that 6 in 10 candidates will discuss their negative experience with the people around them, while 30% will discourage others from applying. This may in turn dissuade other qualified candidates from even applying to your company, which will reduce the candidate pool. 

    Finally, rejection letters are also effective in keeping candidates as customers. If your brand is providing some sort of product or service, it is likely that these candidates are supporters of the product or service in the first place. Negative feelings towards the company may result in loss of support as they hold back on their purchases. The impact may even be amplified as many candidates are involved in the hiring process, which could lead to a drastic fall in profits or revenue when they are also lost as customers. 

    Writing a Good Rejection Letter

    Writing a good rejection letter is not as hard as you think it is! Here are some points you can (and should) include:

    Be Concise, and Swift

    Keep letters professional and to the point. Send them out as soon as you know that the applicant is not suitable for the role. 

    "Thank you"

    The most important part of the rejection letter - it is necessary to acknowledge their interest in your company, and the effort they've put into applying for the job, and complete the interview(s). It also emphasizes that you value their time. 

    Personalization

    This step is crucial, especially if they were involved in at least one round of interviews. Include the applicant's name and the title of the position, as well as certain pointers brought up during the interview which reflected well on them. If they were not approved in the resume screening stage, you may also set up an automated rejection email, which will put your company ahead of many others. 

    Feedback

    You may also choose to include feedback, such as how they could improve based on their interview, or what was lacking which resulted in them not making the cut. This would also be helpful in their future interviews, and candidates will definitely be appreciative of the feedback. However, do ensure that this is phrased in a gracious and careful manner, or it may come across as criticism which may end up being insulting to the candidate.

    To go the extra mile, you may even ask the candidate if they would like individual feedback. From my personal experience, the best hiring manager even offered to hop on a quick call and took the time to explain why I was not shortlisted for the particular role, which was heartwarming.

    Invitation to Apply Again 

    If you see potential in a particular candidate, you may let them know that they can apply for other opportunities available, or keep in touch and contact you should they see other openings which may be of interest to them.

    Applicant Rejection Letter Template

    Here are some templates which you may consider sending to applicants: 

    Rejection letter for an applicant who will not get an interview

    Dear <Applicant's First Name>

    I would like to thank you for taking the time to apply for the <role title> at <company name>. It was great to find out about your achievements, skills and qualifications. 

    There were a large number of applications for this particular role, and it was difficult to choose between the many experienced and quality applicants and we regret to inform you that you were not selected by our team to go forward. 

    However, we will still be keeping your details in the event that other openings arise in future, which we believe you would be a better fit for. 

    Thank you once again for your interest in <company name> and we wish you all the best in your job search. 

    Best Regards, 

    <Sender's Name> 

     

    Rejection letter for an applicant who will not get an interview (version 2)

    Dear <Applicant's First Name>

    I would like to thank you for taking the time to interview for the <role title> at <company name>. It was great to find out about your achievements, skills and qualifications. 

    We wanted to let you know that although your resume and cover letter were very competitive, our hiring team reviewed your application and have chosen to proceed with another candidate as they are a greater fit with the team. 

    However, we will keep your resume on the record and get in touch with you about future opportunities that may be a better fit for your skills and experience. 

    Thank you once again for your interest in <company name> and we wish you all the best in your job search. 

    Best Regards, 

    <Sender's Name> 

     

    Rejection letter for an applicant after the interview 

    Dear <Applicant's First Name>

    I would like to thank you for taking the time to interview for the <role title> at <company name>. It was great to find out about your achievements, skills and qualifications. 

    It was difficult to choose between the many experienced and quality applicants, and we regret to inform you that you were not selected by our team to go forward, as we have chosen to proceed with another candidate who <reason for selecting other candidate>

    However, we were impressed with <positive aspects of candidate> and we will still be keeping your details in the event that other openings arise in future, which we believe you would be a better fit for. 

    Please feel free to contact me should you want detailed feedback about your interview process, or if you chance upon other opportunities which may be of interest to you.  

    Thank you once again for your interest in <company name> and we wish you all the best in your job search. 

    Best Regards, 

    <Sender's Name> 

     

    Rejection letter for an applicant after the interview (version 2)

    Dear <Applicant's First Name>

    I would like to thank you for taking the time to interview for the <role title> at <company name>. It was great to find out about your achievements, skills and qualifications. 

    We wanted to let you know that although your past work experiences and achievements were very competitive, the hiring manager has chosen to proceed with another candidate as <include reason why other candidate was chosen>

    However, we were impressed with <positive aspects of candidate> and we will still be keeping your details in the event that other openings arise in future, which may be a better fit for your skills and experience. 

    Please feel free to contact me should you want detailed feedback about your interview process, or if you chance upon other opportunities which may be of interest to you.  

    Thank you once again for your interest in <company name> and we wish you all the best in your job search. 

    Best Regards, 

    <Sender's Name>

    By including a well-written rejection letter, you will be able to maintain a candidate's good impression of your brand, while at the same time prevent them from having false hopes and disappointment - which is a win-win situation for both parties. This will in turn elevate the hiring experience for all candidates! 

    Want to automate your hiring processes? Schedule a demo now!

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    Sng Kai Lin

    Kai Lin is a freelance writer and digital marketer well-versed in SEO. Apart from writing, she also seeks solace in traveling, photography and playing the piano.

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