Notifying someone that they didn’t get the job is never easy.

This often results in regular emails, or worse, complete silence – which is where a rejection letter template can come in handy.

While it’s never fun to do so, there are some friendly and professional ways to reject applicants to protect your employer brand.

How to write a rejection letter

You probably don’t think twice about sending a rejection letter. But the truth is, your rejection letter reflects your company. If it’s poorly written, it can leave a negative impression on your company and can easily spread to other candidates.

That’s why writing a thoughtful rejection letter is key. It allows you to maintain a good relationship with applicants even if they are not suitable for a particular role. Who knows, if there’s another job opening, you might want to switch back to them.

When that happens, you want candidates to be excited about the prospect of working with you — and the way you communicate plays a key role in that.

It is crucial that you are positive about your language and focus on the language of the job description itself.

Also, keep in mind that rejection letters are a great opportunity for candidates to get positive feedback and learn how to do better in the future. Consider how to include specific and valuable feedback.

The rejection letter can be divided into three parts:

first paragraph

Your first paragraph should be completely personalized and include the applicant’s name and the position they are applying for. Next, thank the candidate for their interest in your company and take the time to interview.

Finally, it is critical to tell the candidate in the first paragraph that you have decided to move forward with another candidate.

You can kindly let them down by adding a compliment to the rejection, such as “While your credentials are impressive…”

Second paragraph (optional)

The second paragraph is where personalization really comes into play. What you write will depend on your experience with the candidate and how far they have progressed in the process.

For example, if you rejected a candidate after the first round, you can keep this section short and skip to the third paragraph. However, for candidates entering the final round, you may wish to provide more background information on the reasons for rejection.

Candidates take the time to prepare for your interview process, so if you’re impressed with them during the interview, letting them know can make a big difference.

Just include one of their strengths that you remember during the interview, such as “Our team was particularly impressed with your writing skills.”

To really add value, you also need to include constructive feedback to help your candidate identify areas for improvement. Take detailed notes during the interview (or ask the hiring manager to do so) and offer an area or two for improvement when you reject your applicant.

Focus on one aspect of the job description that you think the candidate is a poor match for.

Suppose the position requires expertise in data analysis, but the applicant is not strong in this area. You might say, “Right now, we’re looking for candidates with a deeper understanding of data analytics…”

If you’re impressed with a candidate and really feel like they’re a good fit for your company, tell them you’re going to put them in your contact database and reconsider them in the future to keep them open.

Also, if it’s a tough decision, tell your candidate — it helps soften the blow.

third paragraph

Finally, I wish job seekers the best of luck in their job search and thank them again for considering your company.

Standard Rejection Letter

Honey [Name],

Thanks for the interview [position] exist [date of interview] And take the time to get to know our company. After careful consideration, we have selected another candidate for the position.

We hope you will keep us in mind as we advertise jobs in the future and encourage you to apply again.

Good luck with your job search and thank you for your interest in our company.

Sincerely,

[Name]

feedback rejection letter

Honey [Name],

Thanks for the interview [position] exist [date of interview]. This was a very difficult decision, but we have selected another candidate for the position.

Our team is especially impressed with you [skills]but we think you’re inexperienced [skill/experience]. we suggest [taking a course/obtaining a certificate/gaining project experience] improve.

We want to keep in touch with you for future opportunities that may be suitable for you. Let us know if you are interested in staying in our talent pool.

Thanks again for taking the time to apply and meet with the team. Good luck with your job search and thank you for your interest in our company.

Sincerely,

[Name]

Redirect rejection letter

Honey [Name],

Thanks for the interview [position] exist [date of interview]. After careful consideration, we decided to move forward with another candidate.

Our team is especially impressed with you [skills]but we think you’re inexperienced [skill]. However, we believe your skill set will be better matched with [position] and would like to consider it for you.

Please let us know if you are interested in discussing further.

We would like to thank you again for your time and wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

Sincerely,

[Name]

short letter of rejection

Honey [Name],

Thanks for the interview [position] exist [date of interview]. After careful consideration, we decided to move forward with another candidate.

We appreciate your interest in the company and wish you the best of luck in your job search.

Sincerely,

[Name]

Notifying candidates that they have been rejected is no easy task. By writing a thoughtful letter that fits the situation, you will open the door to future collaborations and leave a positive impression on your company.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in October 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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