It's never easy telling a candidate they didn't get the job after hours of preparation and interviews.
Oftentimes, the awkwardness leads to generic emails, like "We have chosen not to move forward with your application at this time."
You might feel like there's simply no good way to tell someone they've been rejected. Fortunately, that's not true. By wording your rejection letter kindly, you'll make it easier for the candidate to hear the news.
Additionally, if you were impressed by the candidate, you want to keep the door open. Perhaps another position will open up which you believe to be a better fit, or maybe you'll reconsider the applicant once she's had more real-world experience.
Ultimately, there's no harm in taking the time to craft a courteous rejection letter, and there's certainly plenty of benefits to doing so. To write a professional yet kind rejection letter, follow the steps below.
Rejection Letter After the Interview
Below is a professional yet kind rejection letter template. Remember, it's critical you remain positive with your language, and avoid more negative words like "Unfortunately". Also, focus on language from the job description itself when telling the candidate why she wasn't chosen -- it will remind the candidate this isn't personal.
It's important to remember that a rejection letter is a fantastic opportunity for the candidate to receive positive feedback and learn how to do better in the future. Consider how you can include specific and valuable feedback in your letter.
Thank you for interviewing for [position] on [date of interview]. We appreciate candidates like yourself expressing interest in our company. While we are thankful for the time you took, we have selected another candidate for the position.
At this time, we're looking for candidates with more experience in the field. It was a very hard decision. We would like to stay in touch with you for future opportunities that might be a good fit. Please let us know if you're interested in remaining in our talent pool.
Our team was particularly impressed with your writing skills, but we felt you lacked experience pitching advertisement campaigns. We'd recommend taking an advertising course to improve.
Thanks again for taking the time to apply and come in to meet the team. We wish you the best of luck in your job search and thank you for your interest in our company.
Your first sentence should include the position and date of the interview, so the candidate knows the letter has been personalized and isn't a generic template. Next, thank the candidate for their interest in your company. Finally, it's critical you tell the candidate within the first paragraph you've decided to move forward with another candidate. You can let them down kindly by including a compliment in the rejection, such as "While your qualifications are quite impressive …".
It's considerate to give the candidate a reason she wasn't chosen for this role -- but your reason doesn't have to be too detailed (in fact, legally-speaking, it's safer if it isn't). Instead, focus on one aspect of the job description you feel the candidate didn't quite match. If your job description required a candidate to have five years experience, but the applicant only had three, you might say, "At this time, we're looking for candidates with more experience in the field."
If you were impressed by the candidate and genuinely feel she'd be a good fit for your company down the road, leave the door open by telling her you'll put her into your contact database and reconsider her in the future. Additionally, if it was a difficult decision, tell your candidate -- it can help soften the blow.
Paragraph Three (Optional):
The candidate took time out of her week to prepare for your interview process, so if you were impressed by her during the interview, it could make a huge difference to let her know. Simply include one strength of hers you remembered from the interview process, like "Our team was particularly impressed with your writing skills."
To truly add value, however, you'll also want to include constructive feedback to help your candidate understand areas she can focus on improving. Take detailed notes during the interview, and when you reject your applicant, provide one or two areas of improvement. Your feedback could help her career success in the future.
Conclude by wishing the candidate luck in the job search, and thanking the applicant for taking the time to consider your company.
How to write a rejection letter
In paragraph one, start by including the position for which the candidate applied, and the date of the interview, so the candidate knows this is a personalized letter, not a generic template.
Thank the candidate for her time and interest in your company, and then tell her you've decided to move forward with another candidate. If possible, include a compliment.
In paragraph two, provide a reason related to the job description why the candidate wasn't chosen for this role.
If you were impressed by the applicant, tell her you'll put her in your company's contact database and consider her for future roles.
Optional -- mention one of your candidate's strengths you remember from the interview. Additionally, provide constructive feedback to help her in the future.
Finally, conclude by wishing the candidate luck in the job search, and thank the applicant for taking the time to consider your company.
Originally published Oct 12, 2018 7:00:00 AM, updated October 12 2018