How To Send a Rejection Letter After an Interview

Following the interview process, you’ll likely have a list of candidates you’d like to advance to the next stage of the hiring process. However, you must also complete another step before closing out the interview cycle: sending a rejection letter to candidates who aren’t moving to the next step. 

Sending a rejection letter is a polite way to tell candidates you’ve appreciated the interest they’ve shown in your company and the time they’ve taken to attend interviews. It’s also a way to inform them they’re no longer in contention for a particular position. This can bring closure for some people who may have otherwise wondered about the outcome of their interview. Providing a rejection letter may even make your company or brand look more favourable because it shows you’re committed to honesty, transparency, and communication.

Additionally, a rejection letter can serve as an invitation to apply for other opportunities within your company. You may use this method of communication to inform candidates they won’t be advancing in the hiring process with one position but that they impressed you with their skills or background and you hope to see their application for another more relevant position at a later time.

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5 tips for how to send a rejection letter after an interview:

 

1. Be personal

Though you may use a general template to structure your rejection letters, you can take the time to personalize them for each candidate. Include their name, the position for which they applied, and a memorable moment or instance from their interview. You may also consider offering feedback that could help the candidate when interviewing for other positions with your company or similar roles with other organizations. This can help make the rejection process more constructive and valuable for candidates. For example, you may say to a candidate:

“Amanda, thank you for taking the time to interview for the Assistant Manager’s position. While your ambition to take initiative and attend training sessions for the role impressed our hiring team, we feel you may benefit from a few more years of mentorship experience before advancing to this role.”

 

2. Be clear and direct

Be respectful of the candidate’s time and feelings by stating the reason for your letter as close to the beginning as possible. Typically, you can start with a personalized greeting, express your thanks for the candidate’s interest in the role, and then gently share the news of rejection. Use a tone and word choice that’s friendly and polite, but be clear that you’re pursuing other candidates, and the recipient’s time in the hiring process for this position has ended. 

 

3. Be punctual

Send your rejection letters as soon as you’ve decided which candidates to advance to the next level of the hiring process. Typically, it’s courteous to let all candidates know the status of their applications within a week of your final interview. Consider sending your rejection letters the same time you send your congratulatory letters or make phone calls to those advancing to the next phase. This can keep you accountable for handling all your correspondence at one time. Sending rejection letters quickly also gives those candidates more time to explore and apply for other jobs.

 

4. Be encouraging

Being professional and kind in your rejection letter may help candidates feel more confident in their interview performance and encouraged to make changes and improve for their next one, with your company or another business. Consider using the “Sandwich Method” to deliver the news. This strategy involves listing a piece of praise, followed by unpleasant news and closing with a positive message. Using this system may make it easier for candidates to accept rejection. For example, you may say something like:

“Neil, I appreciated getting to know you during our interview and learning about your extensive marketing experience. Unfortunately, we’re going to pursue other candidates for this role. However, you have many admirable qualities and we hope you’ll consider applying for other open positions with our company in the future.”

 

5. Keep it short

While there is no definitive rule about the length of a rejection letter, shorter letters are more common. Depending on how much information you’re sharing with a candidate, one to three brief paragraphs is an acceptable length for a rejection letter. Consider including only the most important information, such as the rejection, qualities you liked about the candidate, ways they can improve their skills or their interview presence for future interactions, and information about any additional roles for which you may want them to apply.

 

Example of an appropriate rejection letter

You can use this sample rejection letter template to help you craft and personalize your own document.

 

September 14, 20XX

Angela Winters

 

1224 Chester Hill Road

Toronto, ON, M4K 3Z1

 

Dear Angela,

 

Thank you for taking the time to apply for the Community Manager position at First Studios Company. We enjoyed meeting with you during the interview process. It’s always exciting to meet another ambitious University of Toronto graduate!

At this time, we’re pursuing a working relationship with another applicant who has more experience dealing with social media management. However, with your marketing degree and personal interest in film, we’d like to encourage you to keep watching our job listings and apply for other positions in the future.

Once more, we want to say thank you for applying for this role. We wish you the best of luck. Hope you find an exciting role that aligns with your skills and personal goals.

Sincerely,

Carlos Smith

First Studios Marketing Director

 

By sending a rejection letter, you inform a candidate that you haven’t selected them for a particular position. However, doing this with tact can make receiving the news easier for the candidate and it can uphold your company’s reputation. By making the letter short, punctual, polite, and clear, you can ensure that the candidate receives your letter in the most professional manner possible.

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