A candidate rejection letter email informs a candidate, via email, that they did not get the job for which they applied or interviewed.
It’s important to be direct and to-the-point when you write a candidate rejection letter email—just one to two brief paragraphs will work just fine. Your tone should be polite and thankful so that the candidate is left with a positive impression of your company.
Begin a candidate rejection letter email by using the candidate’s name, the title of the position, and the company name in the subject heading. Personalize your email further by noting the candidate’s name in the opening greeting, and thank them for their interest in the job, and their patience during the application or interview process. If you’ve interviewed the candidate, also note that you enjoyed meeting them and discussing their qualifications.
From there, clearly state that they didn’t get the job. To soften the sting, consider following up the news with a reassurance that there were many other candidates for the job, and that the decision to hire someone else was a tough one. Close by thanking the candidate again for their interest and wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors. Sign off with your name, title, and company name.
Candidate Rejection Letter Email
Subject line: Alissa Edwards – Senior Technical Writer at Oscilloscope
Thank you so much for your interest in the Senior Technical Writer role at Oscilloscope. We appreciate your time and patience throughout the application and interview process and greatly enjoyed meeting you to discuss your qualifications and your interest in the role.
We have decided to pursue another candidate for the position. After much thought, we feel the other candidate is better qualified for the role. Please know that we had several highly qualified candidates for this position and that the decision was a tough one.
Thank you again for your interest in Oscilloscope. We enjoyed meeting you and wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.
Manager, Talent Acquisition
Want to use this letter?
Note the brevity of the email—you always want to cut to the chase. Wrap the email quickly after informing the candidate they didn’t get the job—there’s no need to express regret or offer compliments. Your primary goal with a candidate rejection letter email is to deliver a definitive answer to the candidate so they can continue their job hunt.
Note the polite tone of the letter—it’s important to nail this tone, because while you must get your point across – that you’ve chosen another candidate – you need the recipient of your candidate rejection letter email to walk away with no anger toward the company.
Notice the language that is missing from the email— there is no mention of who did get the job and no identification of other candidates who applied or interviewed for the role. Never reveal this information. It is confidential and beside the point of the candidate rejection letter email.
Avoid making any promises to candidates and don’t encourage them to apply for other current or future positions. Doing so can create a sense of false hope for the candidate. In rare cases, you will meet a candidate who truly has the potential to get another role at the company. In this case, you might consider noting you’ll keep their resume on file, or offer direction on current or future positions that might better suit them. Use your best judgment when it comes to this and do your best not to over-promise, which could create more hurt feelings down the road.
Consider having your candidate rejection letter email vetted by your legal department. You need to be sure that the correspondence contains no language that could be interpreted as discriminatory or offensive. There could be language in your email that looks utterly harmless to you, but that could be read in another way by the rejected candidate. It’s always best to err on the side of caution and have a lawyer review your correspondence.