HR Malaysia

Candidate Rejection Letter

Posted on: March 27, 2008

Candidate Rejection Letters Make Business Sense

How you treat candidates for your jobs really matters. Sending a candidate rejection letter to the applicants who were not selected for the job is an extra, but positive step, your company can take to build good will with candidates and establish yourself as an employer of choice. Your reputation, that is built one candidate at a time, is critical to your ongoing ability to attract the best and most skilled talent to your firm. Candidates make decisions about your company based on their treatment and officially notifying them about your employment decisions is a point in your favor.

Start With a Follow-up Phone Call

I believe that a phone call to the candidate is the first step after you have decided that he or she is not the most qualified for your open position. During the call, you thank them for their application and interview time. State clearly that you have determined that you have other candidates who are more qualified for the position.

Then, follow-up your call with the official letter providing the same information. This contact should occur as soon as you know the candidate is not the person you want to hire. Don’t leave your candidates wondering for weeks on end if they are not the person who will be selected for the job.

Tips for the Candidate Rejection Letter

1. Also known as a “thanks, but no thanks letter,” the candidate rejection letter tells the candidate that he or she was not selected for the position. The reason stated is generally that you have determined that other candidates were more qualified for the job.

2. If you believe that the candidate would qualify for other roles in your company, and that he or she appeared to also fit your culture, you can also encourage the person to apply again in the future. Always end on a positive note wishing the person success. make sure you thank your candidate for the time they invested in the application and interview process.

3. Personalize the letter with the candidate’s name, the position, possibly a remark about the interview time. You don’t want your candidate to feel as if he or she received a form rejection letter – even if it basically – is.

4. Get straight to the point in your rejection letter. But, especially if you have called, the candidate really already knows what to expect in the letter.

5. Make your letter business-like, but gracious. After all, you are puncturing a person’s hopes and dreams. Do so with respect and consideration.

6. Never say anything in the candidate rejection letter that you don’t mean. For example, don’t suggest that the candidate apply for openings in the future if you know the candidate will not fit successfully in your organization.

7. Remember, the candidate rejection letter is your last opportunity to build a relationship with the candidate that will cause him or her to think favorably of your company. Your reputation as an employer is affected by this candidate and the people affected by this candidate’s opinions and treatment at your hands. Don’t ever believe this is unimportant for your reputation as a potential employer.

Here is a Sample Candidate Rejection Letter


Name of Applicant

Applicant’s Address

Dear (Applicant Name):

As you know, we interviewed a number of candidates for the (Name of Job) position, and we have determined that another candidate is the most qualified for the requirements of our opening. So, the purpose of this letter is to let you know that you have not been selected for the position and that we have offered the position to another candidate.

Thank you so much for taking the time to come to (Company Name) to meet our interview team. We enjoyed meeting you and our discussions.

Please feel free to apply for open positions, for which you qualify, in our company in the future.

We wish you every personal and professional success with your job search and in the future. Thank you for your interest in our organization.


Real Person’s Name and Signature

Example: HR Director for the Employee Selection Team


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