Write a Professional Candidate Rejection Email [+Samples & Template]

Candidate Rejection Email
Created by Cake

Hiring a new employee can involve reviewing, meeting and interviewing masses of candidates, but the job is not done once you make your decision. Rejecting job applications is common in the hiring process, and whether other candidates were not qualified, interviewed poorly or applicants outnumbered the available positions, candidates deserve to know if you’ve rejected their job application. 

However, since there are so many reasons a candidate might be rejected, it can be difficult to figure out how to inform unsuccessful candidates after interviews. This article outlines the steps for writing a job rejection email, as well as candidate rejection email templates and samples.

Why Should You Send Candidate Rejection Emails

Although it can make you feel like the bad guy, a job rejection email actually has many positives for both you and the unsuccessful candidates. Job rejection emails help tie up loose ends for job hunters, who can have many applications going at once. As a recruiter, notifying candidates that you have decided to reject their job applications can make the process easier for you. Reasons to send candidates rejection emails include:

✅ Show respect to the applicant

Job searching can be a very emotionally taxing process, especially for new graduates. Candidates spend hours filling in applicants and interviewing, and receiving job rejection emails after interviews is the only feedback they might receive. 

Sending candidates rejection emails shows that you have respect for their time, and can provide closure for the applicant who can now move on to other applications quicker, instead of agonising over waiting for a response. 

✅ Create a positive company image

Sending rejection emails after interviews shows applicants that you are prompt, respectful and transparent throughout the hiring process. Informing unsuccessful candidates after interviews portrays the company as one that can make decisions and is mature about the consequences for the unsuccessful candidates. 

Many companies now send out job rejection emails throughout their hiring process, so maintaining the standard by rejecting job applications respectfully can help the company's image.

✅ Lower the chance of getting follow-up emails

Candidates can become agitated if they’ve not received an update about their applications, and many will reach out on their own asking for a follow-up. Promptly sending a job rejection email can avoid this! 

As mentioned above, many companies now inform candidates that their job application has been rejected, so it is now an expectation of job hunters to receive job rejection emails.

By sending candidates rejection emails, you can avoid ambiguity in the hiring process and avoid being inundated with applicant emails. Likewise, blanket job rejection emails are much easier to send than one replying to every follow-up email!

✅ Help recruit candidates for different positions in the company

Rejection letters for candidates do not have to mean that they didn't meet the criteria for the role they applied for. . Sending a candidate rejection email which redirects them to a role they’re suited for helps both you and the candidate in the hiring process. 

How to Write a Candidate Rejection Email

Knowing what to write in a job rejection email is important so that you maintain professionalism without sounding robotic. Job rejection emails need to be clear, concise and professional to avoid ambiguity. Informing unsuccessful candidates after interviews is just another step in the process, so follow these steps to avoid awkwardness and confusion:

💡 Express gratitude

Expressing gratitude to candidates for applying and interviewing for a role is a good way to start a job rejection email. Expressing gratitude can help make it known to the candidate that although you need to reject their job application, it was taken into consideration and their efforts did not go to waste.

💡 Make it personal 

Include the candidate's name in the email and use first-person language to make the job rejection email more personal. Many large companies use automated responses for their candidate rejection emails, which seem cold and distant. If you are using automated candidate rejection emails for large pools of applicants, try to come up with ways to make them more personal. 

💡 Give feedback if possible

Sometimes it's not feasible to provide feedback in every candidate rejection email if you received hundreds of applications;  however, a bit of context about the applicant pool or hiring process would be appreciated in rejection letters to candidates. If you have a smaller applicant pool, or are rejecting job applications after the final-round interviews, providing feedback to candidates in rejection emails after interviews would be greatly appreciated. 

Feedback in job application rejection emails can be brief, simply outlining the skills or requirements the applicant does not meet. If the candidate performed poorly in the interview, or is outright unsuitable for the role, you can use your discretion to decide what to include in their job rejection email.  Many candidates spend their time waiting and interviewing, so giving feedback in candidate rejection emails can help them succeed in future applications.

💡 Encourage them to apply again

If the candidate was not a fit for the role, or they are better suited for a different role, you can include a prompt for them to apply for roles within your company in the future. This is a good way to include feedback in candidate rejection emails subtly, as an invitation to apply again implies that they could be suitable for the role in the future. 

If you have a recruiting database, you can inform candidates in their job rejection email that you’d like to keep their application on the company system. This is optional, and you don’t have to include either in job rejection emails to candidates who are not suitable.

💡 End professionally

Sign off the job rejection email with a professional tone, such as wishing success in candidates’ job hunts, or another expression of gratitude. If you are rejecting a candidate's job application before the interview, a professional sign-off can ensure their rejected job application was at the very least considered. 

Automated job rejection emails often do not include recruiters’ information, which can come across as cold or unprofessional. Include your name and role within the company so that unsuccessful candidates know their application was considered by a real human, instead of an automated process. 

Job Applicant Rejection Letter Samples

The reason for rejecting job applications can vary, so knowing what to write for each scenario is important to avoid ambiguity. Below are sample candidate rejection emails you could send depending on the situation:

✉️ Sample rejection letter after interviews

Dear Tim, 

Thank you for meeting with us on Tuesday to interview for the Sales Consultant role at SalesBoard. We thoroughly enjoyed discussing your experience and qualifications with you.

I am writing to let you know that we have decided to select another candidate at this time. However please do not let this discourage you from pursuing a career with SalesBoard, we encourage you to apply again with us.

We wish you the best of luck in your job search.

Rachel Hyre 
Head Recruiter | SalesBoard

✉️ Sample rejection letter after application

Dear Tim, 

Thank you for applying for the role of Sales Consultant at SalesBoard. We appreciate your interest in pursuing a career with us. 

We have reviewed your application in relation to our application pool and are writing to let you know that we won’t be able to invite you to the interviewing round of our hiring process. Due to the number of applications for the role, we will not be able to provide individualized feedback at this time. 

We wish you success in your job search and invite you to apply again with SalesBoard in the future. 

Rachel Hyre

Head Recruiter

✉️ Sample rejection letter for applicants who are not a good fit

Dear Tim,

Thank you for taking the time to meet with our hiring team to discuss the position of Sales Consultant at SalesBoard. We appreciate your interest in our company.

We were impressed by your extensive experience in sales roles throughout your career. However, Consultants at SalesBoard require a strong data analysis background, a metric you do not meet at this time. However, we wish to keep your application in our applicant pool for future roles.

We wish you the best in your job search.

Rachel Hyre

Head Recruiter

✉️ Sample rejection letter for applicants who are a good fit

Dear Tim, 

Thank you for meeting with me to interview for the Sales Consultant role at SalesBoard. We appreciate your interest and enthusiasm towards the role.

Although we were impressed with your skills and experience, we have unfortunately decided to move forward with another candidate. We know this would come as a disappointment to you; however, I would like to keep in touch with you via LinkedIn, and encourage you to apply for future roles with us. 

Thank you again for taking the time to interview with SalesBoard. We wish you success in your career endeavors.

Rachel Hyre

Head Recruiter 

Candidate Rejection Email Template

Subject Line: Your Application with [Company Name]

Dear [Candidate Name],

Thank you for applying for [Job Title] at [Company Name]. We have reviewed your application among the pool of candidates and have decided to move forward with other candidates at this time. 

We appreciate your interest in pursuing a career with [Company Name]. We were impressed with your extensive skills and background [Examples from the Candidate’s Application] and would like to keep your application on our system for future openings.

We wish you success in your job search. 


[Your Name]

[Position within the Company/Email Signature]

🔑 Key Takeaway:

Overall, the hiring process can be tiring for all involved. Job rejection emails are now a common courtesy, and can help streamline the hiring process for both you and the applicant. 

Rejecting a job application is inevitable, but does not have to be difficult! Use our samples to send unsuccessful job application emails and the candidate rejection email template for informing unsuccessful candidates after interviews, and make rejecting job applications straightforward.

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--- Originally written by Bronte McNamara ---

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