How to Correctly Reject an Unsuccessful Candidate (Rejection Letter Templates included)

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How to Correctly Reject an Unsuccessful Candidate (Rejection Letter Templates included) - TalentVine

If you’re wondering whether you should provide letters to unsuccessful applicants, this answer is always ‘Yes’! 

By failing to provide an update to an unsuitable candidate, you’ll be doing damage to your employer brand and lead to the poor candidate experience. Plus, it’s pretty unfair to leave a candidate waiting in the dark when they have invested time and effort into applying for a role with you.

Successful candidate rejection will help you maintain not only a positive relationship for future opportunities, but also a strong talent pipeline where candidates would still feel open to reapplying or to refer others to your organisation.

This article will show you the top tips on how to best handle the candidate rejection.

Why Should I Send Feedback to Rejected Candidate?

According to Seek’s report, 66% of Australian who haven’t heard back from employers grew negative feelings towards the hirer. As a result, 57% of them lost interest in applying for the future role from this hirer. This shows that the way you decline the candidates really affect their perceptions of the organisation and whether or not they would like to refer to others. In our previous blog, we addressed the reasons why it is crucial to provide feedback to rejected candidates. Ultimately, you will want these candidates to remain in your talent pipeline for future jobs and become a referral source. So, what is the best way to reject a candidate and maintain a positive relationship?

RELATED: 5 Reasons Why You Should Provide Feedback to Rejected Candidates

Five Tips to Reject A Candidate

1. Decline at the right stage

Let your candidate know your decision promptly. Although there are times that you want to keep your options open, you should decline the candidates in early stages if the candidate is not fit for the role.

2. Offer helpful feedback

Explaining why you’re rejecting candidates shows that you appreciate their time and effort for applying to your job, and won’t leave them guessing. If you are rejecting a candidate after an interview stage, you can provide specific feedback about their skills and experiences that need improvement. Take notes during the interview or utilise the Applicant Tracking System so that you can personalise your feedback.

Understandingly, personalised feedback would be almost impossible to make if the candidate does not reach the interview stage.

3. Stay in communication between stages

You can share with candidates about how long your hiring process is expected to last. You can even let them know how many candidates are in the process. 

4. Take their feedback

Getting candidates’ opinions will not only help improve your hiring process but also build trust with the candidate and enhance your employer brand. Many companies organise surveys or utilise candidate experience websites such as Glassdoor to collect and share their opinion.

5. Keep them in your talent pipeline

Staying in touch with candidates helps keep them in your pipeline. If you can maintain a positive relationship with them, they may apply for other job vacancies or even become a referral source for their network. For instance, you can add them in a newsletter relating to your current job openings or connect on social media to provide company updates.

How to write a Candidate Rejection Letter

How to write a candidate rejection letter - TalentVine

1. Choose the right tone

When you decline your candidate, you need to do it in an understanding and respectful manner. Therefore, choose kind words and be mindful of the phrases you utilise. 

For instance, use a phrase like “unsuccessful at this time” so you can preserve your employer brand and opens them up to future opportunities with your organisation. 

2. Be informative

Depending on the type of position, the information or feedback that you would provide to an unsuccessful applicant may differ. One way would be to include the aspects of the person you did end up hiring. You can mention the skills and experiences that the new hire has to make the letter informative.

You can also offer a few pointers on how they can improve in the future but also emphasise the strengths of the candidate and what they have done well during the application process.

3. Leave a positive impression

Your main goal is to let them know that they were unsuccessful. However, try to provide an on-ramp for future opportunities. If the candidates have a positive experience, they may share with their friends or colleagues about other opportunities at your organisation.

Job Rejection Letter Templates

Following is the rejection letter template introduced by When you need to dismiss multiple candidates at once, especially for the role you are volume hiring for, use a Mass-Email Job Rejection Letter template. If the candidate proceeded further in the process and you have had more time with them, you may want to choose a more personalised approach for rejecting them. In this case, refer to the Personalised Job Rejection Letter Template. 

Consider tailoring this template specifically to your conversation and include details that were mentioned during the interview. It’s essential to take detailed notes during an interview, especially if it’s a top candidate. This will help you make your decision based on facts rather than any biases that you may have.


Mass-Email Job Rejection Letter Template

Hello [first name],

We appreciate your enthusiasm for joining [company name]. We are writing to tell you that despite the fact that your resume and cover letter were extremely relevant to our needs, our management team assessed your application and did not choose it for further consideration.

Nonetheless, we will keep your resume in our database and connect with you about future job openings that may be a more suitable match for your abilities and work history.

We wish you the best in your search for a new position.


[Sender Name]


[Company Name]


Personalised Job Rejection Letter Template

Dear [candidate name],

Thank you for making the effort to meet with our group about the [position] at [company name]. It was a joy to become familiar with your achievements and work experiences.

However, the hiring team has decided not to move forward with your candidacy at this time.

As you may guess, the number of applicants at [company name] is constantly competitive and that we regularly need to decide between highly qualified people like yourself. Since we’ve had the opportunity to learn more about you, we will keep your resume in our database for any future open roles.

If you have any specific questions about the interview or our decision, do not hesitate to reach out.

Again, thank you for applying to [company name] and discussing this position. Good luck in all of your future endeavours.


[Sender Name]



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