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How to Write a Rejection Email to a Potential Candidate

Most companies neglect to send rejection emails to candidates that don’t get the position. This is wrong as the candidate is left wondering if there was a miscommunication somewhere. Also, it paints your organization in a bad light. Writing rejection emails can be a bit tricky, this is why it’s advised to put yourself in the recipient’s shoes.

As a company growing and actively hiring, rejection emails are an inevitability. After a candidate successfully interviews for a position, two things happen: they either get the job or they don’t. After considering applicants’ skills, strengths and weaknesses, determining the most suitable candidate for the position is the next stage. If you decide to go with a candidate, it is standard practice to send an email to other applicants that were not chosen for the position.

A rejection email isn’t solely for the candidates that didn’t meet the criteria. It is also for candidates that didn’t make it to the next stage of the interview process (for multi-staged interviews). Nowadays, online interviews are often multi-staged. For select positions, interviews can include stages like skills tests, etc. If a candidate doesn’t make it through to these stages, a rejection email is sent to the candidate.

Sending a rejection email to a candidate is not a walk in the park. As a manager or Head of HR, an email rejection to a candidate for a position and an email firing an employee are two of the most difficult emails you may write.

When writing an email rejecting a candidate, it’s important to make sure you set the right tone. To write an email rejecting a candidate, you need to be aware that you’re delivering bad news. And it’s important to select your words carefully not to appear insensitive and cruel. Writing a kind rejection email to a candidate also goes a long way to maintain the candidate’s relationship with your company.

Why Should You Send a Rejection Email?

After a candidate interviews for a job, it’s only normal that they expect responses after interviews. Statistics show that over seventy-five percent of candidates never hear back from an employer after a job application, and sixty percent of candidates never hear back after an interview.

Candidates take time to prepare applications, attend interviews and submit tasks for a job. After partaking in the interview process, candidates wait for days on end for a response from the company.

If you’re a hiring manager and you’re contemplating ignoring candidates instead of sending them rejection emails, you should not. As hard as it is to write a rejection email, every candidate that does not get the job deserves a rejection email. What this does is it gives the candidate a definite answer and saves them from besetting themselves with anticipation.

A job rejection email explains to the applicant that you recognize the effort that they put into applying for your company. It also serves as a notice to candidates that are expecting feedback from the application.

For candidates that didn’t make it to the interview stage, a generic rejection email would suffice. For candidates that made it to the interview or the last stage of the interview process, a more personalized email would be a better option.

When writing a more personalized job rejection email, it’s important to mention something about the employee that stood out. If a candidate met most of the criteria but just wasn’t the perfect fit for the job, you can encourage them to apply for future openings.

How to a Write Rejection Email to a Potential Candidate
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What should be in a Job Rejection Email

Job rejection emails are intricate. Hence, the need for them to contain certain elements for them to be considered properly written. Some of these elements include:

Thank the candidate

 When writing a job rejection email, the first step is to thank the applicant for their interest in your organization, and for taking out time to send in their applications. This goes a long way to show applicants that you value their time.

Personalize the email to the candidate

In addition to using the candidate’s first name, if possible, include something particular about a candidate in the email. This could be how they answered your questions, something related to the task they completed, etc.

Offer constructive criticism or feedback

Candidates want feedback from an interviewer as it provides guidelines on how they can improve with their job search and applications. In your email rejecting a candidate, the reason they were passed in favour of another candidate should be stated. If you’re uncomfortable telling a candidate why they weren’t selected for a position, it’s okay to not go into the specifics on why they weren’t chosen.

Encourage applicants to apply again

 If the candidate meets most of the hiring criteria for your company but for some reason or another they couldn’t be hired, let the candidate know you’d like them to apply again for future opportunities. But if a candidate didn’t match any of your company culture or hiring criteria, there’s no need to include this in your email.

The Right Time to Send a Job Rejection Email

There’s no industry standard time to send a rejection email, but it’s encouraged to send a rejection email as soon as you find out a candidate is not being considered for the position. For candidates that have interviewed for the position, it’s advisable to send the rejection email within one week from the interview date.

How long should a Rejection Email be?

There’s no right or wrong answer to this question. The length of a rejection email doesn’t matter to the candidate.

Although, it is standard practice that the more stages of the interview process the candidate passes, the longer their email would be. This is because there’d be more personalized feedback compared to the candidate that didn’t make it to the interview stage.

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Rejection Email Template to Candidates

Rejection emails are different depending on the organization and the role. Regardless, here are some samples of rejection emails to candidates.

Sample 1: Rejection Email

Subject: Your application for Social Media Manager

Dear Tonia, 

Thank you for applying for the position of Head of Sales at Industry Co. Although impressed by your experience, we’ve decided to go with another candidate for this position. 

We want to thank you for taking out time and effort in applying to our company. Your resume and experience were impressive, but at this point, we have decided to go with another candidate. 

While your application was not successful for this position, we encourage you to apply for future openings. 

Sincerely,
Sam Davis

Sample 2: Rejection Email

Subject: Your application for the graphics designer position

Dear Arthur,

Thank you for applying for the graphics designer position at Design .co. This email is to inform you that you have not been selected for the interview. 

While this may come as a disappointment to you, we’d like to thank you for taking out time to apply.  We received a staggering amount of applications from candidates and we’re both honoured and humbled by this. 

You can connect with us on social media to learn about new opportunities.  Thank you again for taking out time to apply for the position. 

Warm Regards, 

Eden James

Sample 3: Rejection Email

Subject: Interview feedback for the sales manager position

Dear Lisa,

Thank you for coming for the interview earlier this week. Your resume, experience, professionalism and approach greatly impressed us, but we have decided to go with another candidate for this position. 

We understand you may be disappointed to hear this news. Your interview was most enlightening, the team was very impressed by your attention to detail and concise presentation. 

We’re currently looking to hire people with very strong traditional marketing backgrounds as our future campaigns are more in line. We’re confident that your skill and qualifications will help you secure a position.

Thank you for applying and coming in for the interview. Please reach out to us if you have further questions. 

Regards,
Rowan Aize

Sample 4: Rejection Email

Subject: Interview feedback for the customer service position

Hello Simon,

Thank you for making out time to meet us earlier this week for the interview. At this point, we will not be moving forward with your application. 

The reason behind our decision is that we’re looking for candidates with experience working in tech companies. Our campaigns going forward are going to be centered on servicing more tech-based enterprises. Regardless, we were blown away by your skills and experience. 

We’d like to stay in touch with you. You can follow us on LinkedIn or subscribe to our newsletter to learn about new opportunities. 

Kind regards, 

Jason Todd

Sample 5: Rejection Email

Subject: Your application for the operations manager position

Hi Sharon, 

Thank you very much for your interest in the operations manager position at Shared Digital Company. We appreciate you for honouring our invitation to interview for the position.

At this time, we will not be moving forward with your application. We have chosen to go with a candidate with more experience in the manufacturing industry. Nonetheless, we were very impressed with your experience and your industry know-how. 

As a result, we hope you’ll apply for future openings. 

Thank you again for your interest in working with us.

Sincerely, 
Simon Mustafa

In conclusion

Most companies neglect to send rejection emails to candidates that don’t get the position. This is wrong as the candidate is left wondering if there was a miscommunication somewhere. Also, it paints your organization in a bad light. Writing rejection emails can be a bit tricky, this is why it’s advised to put yourself in the recipient’s shoes.

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Jim Blessedhttp://Shakespen.com
Jim Blessed is a certified content specialist. He's a versatile and accomplished writer with diverse knowledge in creating unique content for different niches. When he's not clicking away at his keyboard or learning new things, he's listening to or reading other peoples' thoughts.

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