It is not an easy task to find the perfect candidate for the job. Yet, you did it! You now have the right person coming on board, one who aligns with the job description. This person will easily fit in with the rest of the team and will contribute significantly to the vision and mission of the organization. But, what about those candidates who did not make it? Well, these are the ones whom you will have to inform now. Yes, sending a job rejection letter or declining a job offer may not be something an HR looks forward to, yet these are essential as well. It is easy to send out offer letters, but difficult to tell people that they are not selected with empathy and kindness.

In this article, we will talk all about how to write a job rejection letter, what are the components of a job rejection email, the rejection letter template, and more. Read on to learn about smart rejection that will not only help you say no but also help the candidates apply in the future.

What is a Job Rejection Letter?

A job rejection letter is a formal communication to the candidates that they are not selected for the job. It is more of a courtesy where the candidates are informed that they can pursue other job opportunities as their profile does not match our company.

However, how well you inform the candidates depends on how versed you are with the art of writing a perfect job rejection letter.
A good job rejection letter is not verbose and communicates the key decision,the reason behind it and some advice. To know how to write it well, it is important to be aware of what is included in a job rejection letter.

What are the Components of a Job Rejection Letter?

The first and foremost thing to remember while penning down a job rejection letter is that it should be short and precise. Remember that you do not have a personal relationship with the candidate. You have only known them for a short period. But although it is not a personal relationship, it still is enough for you to know as a human resource professional, what is the best way to communicate the matter to them. It is important to be aware of what exactly you should write while declining a job offer.

Thank You

Start the job rejection letter by thanking the candidate for taking out time to apply for the job and going through the entire interview process.

The News

Deliver the news in a short and crisp fashion, without beating around the bush. It’s a blow but not one that we should spend too much time delving into.

The Reason

Give the reason for rejection whenever possible. Many HRs do not think they are required to tell the candidates why they did not get selected. You can make a difference in their career by just telling them why they weren’t the right fit. Tell them exactly where they went wrong and even if they did not, what the selected candidates did better. This will help them in their future endeavors and leave them with a positive image of the company.

The Wishes

Even though the candidate may be dejected, the letter should invoke hope and should encourage the person not to give up. The HR should close the letter on an uplifting note, communicating to the candidate that they are talented and that their profile will be taken into consideration for future vacancies. A simple kind sentence can do marvels for their morale.

Once you are done with the letter, proofread it. You do not want any typos while delivering such an important message.

What to Keep in Mind While Writing a Job Rejection Letter?

job rejection letter

There are certain etiquettes to keep in mind as you draft a job rejection letter. While nothing can make this task palatable, it will certainly be easier to deliver the news if you follow certain ground rules of communicating the ‘bad news.’ Usually, rejecting a job offer is done on emails and not as a letter anymore. Here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind while drafting a decline job offer email.

Do Not Prolong the Decision

Sure, you can sleep on it. Choosing the best out of a large pool of great candidates is not an easy task. You should take some time but don’t waste any candidate’s time If you have made up your mind that you are declining a job offer, do that soon and do not defer the decision without any concrete reason.

Personalize the Communication

This is a foolproof method of putting the candidate at ease. Create a rejection letter template to make things easy for yourself but personalize it for each candidate. Use the candidate’s name instead of a general salutation, add a personal note, and keep the overall tone warm. Remember that the candidate is already hearing bad news. It is on you to deliver it in the best way possible. Given that you are the person they know best in this process, make sure you make them understand what the issues were.

Be Quick and Direct

Do not be ambiguous in the way you communicate the rejection. Think of it this way. If you were getting a piece of bad news, how would you like it delivered? Quick and direct or prolonged and confusing? The first, obviously.

Do the same for your candidates. Also, given your expertise with human resources, you’d know that certain candidates are not a fit for the job in the early stage itself. Do you not think an applicant suits the job description? Draft an interview rejection email or an interview rejection letter immediately and send it. Filter candidates out at every stage rather than waiting for the last one to drop the bomb on everyone. This will make your work easier and also ensure that the least amount of time is wasted for candidates as well.

Give Feedback

Now, this may sound tedious but is important. Declining a job offer via a candidate rejection email is an exhausting task in itself. The candidates face a single mail whereas you send out multiples. Nevertheless, in the quest to be quick, do not forget the humanitarian aspect. Give feedback. Tell your candidates why they are not a fit and what are the aspects they need to improve and work upon. In certain cases, the candidates may not lack anything, the hire may have something more. Tell them that too. The candidates are dejected as is, let them take something good from this. However, do not be dishonest in an effort to make them feel good. Give honest feedback.

Keep the Communication Lines Open

While declining a job offer, keep in mind that it should not be a closed-ended communication. End it in a way that the candidate can get back to you and know more about the job rejection. Keep the communication lines open but draw boundaries so that your time isn’t wasted either.

Ask for Feedback

Yes, it is not just your responsibility to give feedback to the candidate, but you also need feedback from them. This feedback would help you analyze their experience and know what went right and what went wrong in the hiring process. This also gives the candidates the impression that you value their opinion even when you have not hired them. You can also ask them to share their experience on platforms such as Glassdoor.

How to Stay in Touch with the Rejected Candidates?

job rejection letter

Do you need to? We’d say yes. Rejected candidates are not necessarily bad. So yes, you should stay in touch with them and have their details in your database so that the next time you have another vacancy, you know whom to call. This will save a lot of time and cost if they’re still looking for a position. Of course, there is no guarantee that the candidate may be available at the time, but there is no harm in trying. Also, the candidate would feel good about the fact that you remembered them first.

Here are a few things to remember if you want to stay in touch with the candidates to whom you have sent a job rejection letter in the past.

  • You have their contact details. Invite them to events and seminars that you think they would benefit from. You can even send them links to career events or job fairs if any
  • Connect with them on social media and get to know them better. LinkedIn is the best place to stay in touch. Comment on their professional and academic achievements.
  • Shortlist the candidates whom you rejected but are still promising enough to be contacted in the future. Use your hiring software to set reminders and prioritize these profiles whenever the need arises. You are a smart HR, be agile in your choices

Job Rejection Letter Template

Are you still stuck? Not to worry, let us bail you out here too. Rejecting a job offer is not an easy task, more so when words do not come naturally to you. In such a case, we have shortlisted some templates that can help you. Just tweak it a little here and there and you should be good to go.

Rejection Letter Template 1

Hello [name],

Thank you so much for your patience. We have reviewed your application and are afraid we’ve decided to hold off at the moment. You are extremely qualified and well-equipped with the knowledge required for the job, but we need somebody with more experience in leading a team and handling multiple projects at the same time.
Meanwhile, we have your profile with us. We will connect with you in case anything relevant opportunities arise in the future.

If you have any further questions, do reply or feel free to give a call. My contact details are included in my signature.

All the very best for your future endeavors.

HR Head, ABC
Phone number: xxxxx-xxxxx

Rejection Letter Template 2

Dear [name],

Thank you so much for your patience. As of this moment, we are afraid we won’t be able to take your candidature forward. While you fit the bill on most requirements, you fall significantly short on experience. At this point in time, we are not looking to train anyone and would prefer someone who can take the reigns immediately.

However, we really liked having a conversation with you and have added your profile to our database, in case something more relevant comes in the future.
All the best. Do let me know if you need help with anything.

HR Head, ABC
Phone number: xxxxx-xxxxx

Do you Need to Draft a Good Job Rejection Letter?

Gone are the days when the employer had all the power. With the advent of social media and more connections, now, the candidates too have the power to turn the tables. If the communication and their experience with the hiring process are not good, this can significantly hamper the reputation of the organization in the job market. Rejected candidates can even go on portals like Glassdoor to express their displeasure. So yes, you do need to know the best way of rejecting a candidate.

What are the practices that you follow while writing a job rejection letter? Do tag us at @HarmonizeHQ and let us know. We are all ears.