A job rejection letter is a letter written to job applicants letting them know that they have not been selected for the position.
It is commonly be written by the hiring manager or HR. The number of job applicants will normally be high, meaning there will always be applicants who do not make it to the next step of the selection process. It is easier to dismiss a person’s application, especially if they are not a good fit for the job. However, this should not be an option, and the reason is – applicants take time to craft their resume, apply and interview for a position. It is only right to reciprocate the effort even if they did not qualify. A job rejection letter formally and respectfully declines a job application hence allowing the applicant to continue their job search rather than waiting around for an acceptance letter that will never come.
Job applicants that are typically issued rejection letters are:
- Job applicants not selected for the interview stage.
- Applicants who were able to make it past one phase of the selection or hiring process.
- Second and third choice applicants.
Not sending a job rejection letter can paint a negative picture of the company’s brand and hiring process.
When Should one Reject?
Rejecting job applications can be due to a variety of reasons. The hiring committee will usually assess how different candidates perform from their resumes and the interview. This article will look at when a job applicant can be disqualified.
Outdated job application
Adaptability has slowly but surely become a major consideration for companies, especially those who are majorly reliant on technology – most if not all of them. With technology evolving fast, employers want applicants who are up to date. Therefore, applicants with CVs or resumes that are outdated can be rejected. Outdated job applications can be interpreted as a lack of up-to-date skills, or the applicant simply didn’t take time to prepare the application.
Poor skill assessment test results
Asking job applicants to carry out a skill assessment test can be a very effective way of sorting out candidates. The results of the assessment test are used as grounds for elimination. Candidates that do not meet the threshold are disqualified.
Poor soft skills evaluation
Soft skills include communication, social, teamwork, adaptability, problem-solving skills, etc. An applicant might be suitable based on his or her learned abilities (hard skills) but falls short of the basic soft skills necessary for the position forming a basis of rejection.
Conflict of goals
Companies will always have long-term plans in place, and candidates whose career paths positively contribute and align to the company’s goals are more preferred. Candidates with conflicting goals can be turned down.
Rejecting a Candidate Politely
Having to inform someone of their job application rejection can be uncomfortable, but it is often inevitable as a hiring manager (employer). Furthermore, it can be discouraging to the candidate, and therefore, rejecting the application ought to be done candidly and humanely as much as possible.
Below are things one should consider before and when writing a job rejection letter.
Choose the right time
Timing is very important when sending job rejection letters. Once a candidate applies for a position, the waiting period is usually frustrating, and delayed responses mean they must endure the frustration for longer. As a result, letting the candidate know in time that they did not proceed to the next stage or get the job becomes a professional and courtesy gesture. Timely job rejection letters can be sent via automated recruitment systems where if an applicant does not qualify, they are notified immediately. For example, an automated email response system. Rejected candidates who are notified in a timely manner have been reported to be 52% more likely to continue and increase their relationship with the employer in question.
Appreciate for trying
When rejecting a candidate, always show appreciation for the effort they made towards applying for the position. People always appreciate politeness, and this scenario is no different. A simple “thank you” can go a long way in leaving a positive attitude towards the company. Remember, candidates will always share experiences with the company either during conversations or social media. Showing them appreciation will prevent a situation where people are skeptical towards applying for jobs in the company due to what they heard or saw on social media, which might cost the company, valuable potential employees.
Note: Do not settle when it comes to the selection of suitable employees.
A job rejection letter can be personalized to feel more personal. This is especially for shortlisted applicants. Personalization involves referring to the applicant by their first name when addressing them. In addition, be sure to mention the job position they were applying for. Within the job rejection letter, one can include a conversation, or an outstanding observation made during the interview; this lets the candidate know that they were indeed being listened to.
Give a feedback
As the hiring manager, making a professional recommendation or suggestion on where the applicant can make changes or improvements shows concern. Rejected candidates can implement the suggestions when applying for the next job.
Invite for future opportunities
Just because a candidate did not qualify for one position does not automatically disqualify them from other positions in the company. Therefore, it is important to encourage them to apply for other current or future open positions. However, this invitation does not have to be offered to candidates found to be unsuitable to work for the company.
Email, text messages, or voicemail job rejections are sent to applicants who did not qualify for an interview. Otherwise, for applicants the employer has had contact with, it is polite to first call them before following it up with a job rejection letter.
Benefits of a Rejection Letter
The hiring manager and the company they represent get to benefit from a job rejection letter in the following ways.
Good experience standard
Securing a job is often a significant step in people’s lives and careers. Meaning candidates are will undoubtedly keep to memory how their experiences when applying for a job. Issuing a job rejection letter and in a timely fashion ensures that they have a professional and polite experience with the employer or company. A rejection letter also promotes healthy relationships with candidates.
Note: Maintaining and building relationships in the corporate sector is considered a healthy business practice.
Open option for future
Once the applicant receives the employer’s feedback through the job rejection letter, they can go and improve on their skills and experience to the point that they become valuable to the employer in the future. Therefore, issuing a job rejection letter ensures there is malice between the employer and the candidate, ensuring that should a position in the company open up in the future, the candidate would not hesitate from applying – employers should aim to keep their options open.
On the other hand, in a case where a job rejection letter was not issued, but the candidate works on their weakness. They might refrain from applying for a job in the company; this can be a loss to the company, especially if they need a highly qualified employee.
Helps in employer branding
A company that issues job rejection letters would enjoy good PR from applicants even if they did not qualify for the position they were applying for. Applicants can refer to other people to apply for jobs in the company without fear of exposing them to the frustration of never getting a response from the employer.
On the other hand, if rejected candidates are not given a job rejection letter, they might share their application experience with family and friends, which might harm the employer’s/company’s reputation, which limits the number of people who will be applying for jobs limiting the company’s choices when it comes to qualified candidates.
Free Templates and Examples
Following are professionally crafted templates and samples that can be used as a guide and can also be customized after being downloaded:
Polite Rejection Letter Template
Dear [candidate name]
Thank you for applying for [title] with [company | organization name].
At this time, we would like to inform you that we’ve decided not to move forward with your application. We receive many highly qualified applications and have chosen to continue the selection process with other applicants whose profile more closely meets our requirements at this time.
We will keep your application on file for consideration related to future opportunities that may be a better fit for your profile.
Thank you again for applying with [company name] and best of luck in your future endeavors!
Polite Rejection Letter Samples
Tips for the Rejection Letter
Every employer wants a job rejection letter that serves its intended purpose while demonstrating a certain level of professionalism. Below are some things one should consider and/or incorporate when coming up with a job rejection letter.
- Don’t use the word ‘rejected’: As much as a job rejection letter is about “rejection,” it should not be used in the letter. Instead, opt for words or phrases that convey the same meaning. For example, “The hiring committee, through a unanimous vote, decided not to accept your application for the reasons stated below.” Keeping the letter positive should be an objective of whoever is writing the rejection letter.
- Keep it brief: A job rejection letter should be kept as short as possible. Reading a lengthy rejection letter might be frustrating to the candidate. Keeping it short ensures they go through the letter entirely.
Note: Keeping the letter short is not an excuse for not being polite or including a thank you and a feedback statement.
- Be honest: Information given in the job rejection letter should be true to the fact. The actual reason(s) why they were rejected must be clearly outlined in a polite manner. For example, avoid promising to reach out to the candidate if at all there is no intention of making this possible. False promises raise expectations and might hinder the candidate from looking for other opportunities elsewhere.
Note: Do not refrain from stating facts while trying to remain polite and vice versa.
- Give constructive feedback: Be sure to include constructive feedback in the job rejection letter. Identify specific issues and concerns and provide solutions to areas of weakness the candidate can improve. An employer’s feedback should be guided by positive intentions. For example, stating, “Take a business administration class to attain the bare minimum requirements for a managerial position.
- Avoid words that can be translated as evidence of unlawful discrimination: Reasons specified in the letter for rejecting the applicant should be solely based on their qualifications and not any other physical aspects or any disability. Also, avoid comparing candidates by declaring one to be more qualified than the other; it might be termed as unlawful discrimination.
- Ask for feedback on the recruitment process: Employers should also ask for ways to improve their recruitment process. Of course, no process is ideal, and there will always be room for improvement; candidates might be better positioned to see the flaws in the process than the employer.
Sending a job rejection letter is vital towards maintaining professional relationships between job applicants and employers. Even though the process of writing a rejection letter might seem unnecessary, employers should take their time to write one for candidates who did not qualify for the position. Job rejection letters should be kept short, honest, and polite. They should be personalized to show the employer appreciated the effort it took to apply for the position. Feedback should be given in the job rejection letter to guide the candidate on qualities and skills they need to improve.