Post-Interview Rejection Email / Letter (Samples & Examples)

Historically, in majority of westernized societies, men were the ones who had careers, while women were the ones who stayed at home and looked after the children. However, over the last decade, this patriarchal pattern has seen a change. Women are now focusing their goals more on other pursuits, such as their career. There has also become increasing pressure on school leavers to gain a career rather than just a ‘job’, which has coincidentally led to a highly competitive job market. For one job, applicants are increasing, and interviews have become harder. And so, rejection is a natural consequence.

Naturally it is the employer’s responsibility to let the unsuccessful candidate know that they have not made it past the interview stage, however many they have attended, whether face to face or on the phone, and aren’t chosen for the position. It is not a pleasant task and can be difficult to choose the right person as most people these days have many qualifications, qualities and impressive CV’s. Yet it is a necessary requirement for the employer to send a rejection email for two reasons. Firstly, it is courteous and kind. It is surprising how often you hear of people at different stages of seeking employment (applying online, sending their CV, speaking on the phone with an employer, attending a face to face interview or even a second stage interview) and they don’t hear anything back. This can make them lose interest in the job or respect for the employer, therefore affecting the company’s reputation. But it can also unjustly affect the applicant’s confidence, no matter how strong a candidate might be.

Secondly, it’s helpful for the applicant to have feedback. People are unsuccessful for numerous reasons- the most common being lack of experience, qualifications, personality fit. If the applicant is aware of this, they can expand their skills, experience and reapply, or adjust their job search applying for roles more suited to them. Additionally, it is occasionally the case that the applicant is suitable, but just unsuccessful for other reasons. For example, the job might have been put on hold in which case the employer might ask to keep their details and CV on file for future positions. Or the applicant might want a higher salary, or the commute might be too much, in which case the employer could negotiate with the applicant on such matters, and if not, at least the applicant knows it’s not their ability that stopped them. Sometimes however, the applicant’s performance in interview is not up to scratch, so it is the employer’s responsibility to let the applicant know their feedback no matter how negative. This overall means the employer is not waiting aimlessly and can continue applying for jobs, bringing that feedback to their next interview.

How to write a post interview rejection letter?

Writing a rejection email or letter can be awkward for the employer, and it is surprisingly difficult to know what to include. The employer has to make sure it is clear, informative, productive and sympathetic but at the same time professional. Therefore, a rejection letter template can be helpful. Here is a format below that might be useful.

  1. Address the applicant formally including titles e.g. ‘Dear Mr Robert Jones’ or if they have another professional title e.g. ‘Dear Dr Robert Jones’.
  2. Start by thanking the applicant for taking the time to apply and sending their CV or attending interview on said date.
  3. Mention that you had a high amount of interest for this role and a large amount of applicants.
  4. Mention at least two positives about their applicant e.g. ‘you listed some great qualifications on your CV’ or ‘you had been in your current role for a number of years’ (showing their loyalty.)If they attended an interview you can mention their performance e.g. ‘you came across as a good cultural fit’ or ‘you answered the questions very well’.
  5. Let them know their verdict and give productive feedback e.g. ‘unfortunately you have been unsuccessful at this stage as we have had applicants with a few more years’ experience in the industry than yourself’.
  6. Say you enjoyed meeting with them and wish them luck in the future.
  7. Sign the letter/ email.
  8. Ensure you proofread your letter/ email and get a company lawyer to check over it.

Example of rejection letter

Dear Mr. Robert Jones,


Thank you for your application for the Sales Manager position in our company and for meeting with us this afternoon.

We have had a high number of applicants apply for this role and were please to shortlist to interview stage.

We felt you came across very positively in the interview, you answered the questions very well and you have a great deal of management experience.

Unfortunately, you have been unsuccessful at this stage as we have a requirement for more specific experience in our industry and would need someone with more sales experience.

We enjoyed meeting with you and wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.

Kind Regards,
Margaret Smith
CEO of Smith Enterprises

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    When rejection letter is not necessary?

    There are some occasions where a rejection email is not necessary, for example if you decide to tell them face to face in the interview itself, over the phone or if you use a recruitment agency (in which case it is their responsibility and part of their services). However, email or letter is the most preferable option, as it is less time consuming, more professional, and enables written proof for both parties.