Let Candidates Down With a Formal Rejection Letter

A well-written formal rejection letter is essential for letting job applicants down.

Why is Setting the Right Tone With Your Rejection Letter Important?

In the event that you want to consider the candidate for future jobs, you can strengthen your relationship with the candidate. You can keep their resume on file. When there are other roles that might better fit their skills and experience, you can contact them then.

Building relationships with candidates you’ve interviewed can speed up future hiring efforts. Since you have completed the process for at least one candidate, you’re going to spend less time reviewing resumes and contacting candidates.

The same is true if you send your company’s rejection letter in a timely manner. The chances of a candidate speaking well of a company, even when rejected is high when done in a sensitive manner. They may also get more favorable reviews online.

What to Write in a Candidate Rejection Letter

Express gratitude that the candidate took the time to apply

Always thank the candidate for the time they spent going through the application process.

This reaffirms that the candidate has invested their time in you, and they deserve an apology.

Expressing gratitude to the candidate gives you an opportunity to show your company in a professional light. Candidates any awkwardness as they leave.

Let them know you are “declining to move forward with their application

Don’t leave the candidate confused on this point. State your decision to move forward with specific language. Let them understand they are not the right fit.

Anything else is likely to give the candidate hope in a situation where the job application process is over.

Consider giving reasons you choose the final candidate

In tandem with the above, you can explain why you decided to choose the candidate you eventually did. It’s important to focus on that person’s strengths, so you’re not coming across as mean or unprofessional.

You don’t have to go into detail. You can tell the candidate why you chose the person you did. Don’t on’t spend too much time on this.

Avoid giving reasons for declining a candidate in your formal rejection letter

Do not go into reasons why you did not hire the candidate. Your letter should be professional and concise and should not be an attempt to express how you did not like the candidate.

Focus on the positive aspects of the candidate and his or her application. Be professional and courteous in your tone.

Use the word “declined” rather than “rejected

Language is everything. Sometimes it’s not what you say, but how you say it. This also rings true for rejection letters.

Using “rejection” is apt to be taken personally. The candidate comes away with the impression that something is intrinsically wrong with them.

The word “declined” on the other hand, is impersonal. It’s businesslike, and it’s appropriate when informing the candidate that they were not selected for the position.

Consider giving them some positive aspects of their interview

Let the candidate know that it wasn’t all bad. Give them some positive tips from their interview that they can use to build or improve their job search.

For example, you can tell them: “However, we were impressed with your ability to connect with the hiring team, which our company highly values.

Wish them luck on their search

Even though you’ve found your candidate, the ones rejected are still looking for a job. Acknowledge this and give them your good wishes.

To Wrap Up

A formal rejection letter is not a harsh letter that comes with a list of reasons why a candidate was declined. Instead, it requires care and sensitivity, because it involves people.

Regardless of how well you reject a candidate, you can always wish them luck and say that they were a pleasure to interview. This will show them that you are not a heartless person and that you do not want them to feel bad about leaving.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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