How to write a job rejection email with tact + templates

How to write a job rejection email with tact + templates

It’s a tough time to be a job candidate right now. 75% of jobseekers have been ghosted by the company after an interview. When they do get an answer, they can be sitting and waiting for weeks before they hear anything back.

Out of the heaps of candidates you interview for a position, only one will be given a job offer letter. This means that, sadly, you’re going to have to be the one breaking the bad news to the others.

That’s where job rejection emails come in handy to help you maintain a strong candidate experience. Sending a job rejection email isn’t fun, but having a process in place makes you look professional and using the right wording is essential to communicate with the candidate. 

For me, having a job rejection email template on hand helps a lot, as I don’t have to think about what to say, but I also tend to tailor it to the candidate if they’ve gone to a later stage of the process. In this blog, I’ll show you how to word your job rejection email and give you a few customisable job rejection email templates you can use. 

No time to read? Download our free templates now. 

Download our job rejection email templates

Why You Should Write a Job Rejection Email

Applying for jobs is not easy. It’s filled with anxiety, worry, anticipation, and hope. The job description may have sounded like the perfect fit for some candidate, but it wasn't. A thoughtful rejection email acknowledges this journey and shows you appreciate the effort they made.

It also reflects the way you do business. A timely and respectful job rejection email means you don’t only value the contributions of your employees, but of everyone interested in working with you as well. It’s a great way to improve your reputation among potential job seekers and make you more attractive as an employer – take it as something you would do, such as sending an interview invite email.

Besides, just because a candidate is not the right fit right now doesn’t mean they won’t be at some point. A personalised job rejection email leaves the door open for potential collaboration down the line and encourages the candidate to reapply when the time is right.

4 Best Practices for Writing a Job Rejection Email

Writing a job rejection email requires tact, sensitivity, and respect for the job candidate’s time. Here are a few best practices for writing job rejection emails you can follow to give closure to the job candidate and protect your business reputation. 

1. Be Prompt and Personalise Your Message

Leaving the job candidate in a protracted state of anticipation is frustrating and stressful. Here’s what can you do to alleviate this: 

  • Send a rejection email as soon as a decision has been made. It shows respect for the candidate’s time and emotional investment.
  • Use the candidate’s name and specific details of their application or interview. There are few things more off-putting than a generic job rejection email that you’ve sent to dozens of others. 

2. Express Gratitude and Be Clear on the outcome

Acknowledge their effort and the time they took to apply for the position. Be clear and direct about the decision, as it gives the job candidate the finality they need to move on, whilst keeping a kind and professional tone. 

3. Offer Constructive Feedback

Interview feedback is most appropriate for candidates who reached the final interview stage, and focused on specific aspects of the interview or their performance that could be improved. 

Frame it in a way that’s helpful and encouraging, and stay away from any remarks that could be perceived as personal criticism.

4. Encourage Future Applications for a positive goodbye 

It never hurts to keep the door open to work together at a future date. Apart from being the nice thing to do, it makes sure your talent pipeline is filled with qualified candidates who are keen to work with you.

Close on a positive note with well-wishes for the candidate’s job search.

2 Job Rejection Email Templates to get inspiration from

Writing and sending job rejection emails with a standardised template helps make your organisation look professional. Having a template helps you avoid any awkward wording that can be taken the wrong way, and makes the job rejection process automated while keeping high standards of professionalism.

Here are a few of the job rejection email templates I use for different interview stages.

Late Stage Rejection Template

This template is for job candidates who made it to the second round of interviews or later. You owe the job candidate extra personal feedback and communication if they made it this far in the process.

Hi {insert name}

Thanks so much for interviewing with us on {DATE}.

Unfortunately, I’m sorry to say that, we won’t be moving you through to the next stage of the process.

I was really impressed by your {XYZ}

However, after careful reflection on the conversations we’ve had and the notes I’ve made throughout, {WHY THEY’RE BEING REJECTED}

Feedback is extremely important to us. If you’d like any more feedback about your interview I’m happy to share it, and if you have any feedback for us please do fill in this 2-minute survey.

Thank you again for your time and for considering Charlie.

All the best,

The Charlie Team

Early Stage Rejection Template

This is a job rejection email template you can use after you review the candidate’s CV and decide early on that it’s not a good fit.

Hey {insert name},

I hope you’re well.

Thank you for your interest in our {name of role} role.

We’ve been overwhelmed by the quality and quantity of candidates for this position and have been fortunate enough to put a shortlist of candidates together for this role.

We appreciate you taking the time to apply and we apologise that we can’t move forward on this occasion — we wish you the very best of best of luck with your job hunt. 🙂

We’re actively hiring this year, so please feel free to keep an eye on our careers page for any future suitable vacancies.

All the best,

The Charlie Team

Feedback is extremely important to us here at Charlie, so if you have any feedback on the application process for this role, please email [email protected] with your thoughts.

We will keep your CV on file for 24 months in case we have any suitable vacancies come up in the future. If you do not wish for us to do this, please reply to this email to let us know and we will delete your data.

Having an HR advisor from Charlie help you make a tailored job rejection email specific to your company’s values can make the process much less painful and awkward for all concerned. The way you treat the people who work for you - and want to work for you - is a reflection of your company culture. 

Download our job rejection email templates

Keep the Job Rejection Email Professional and Painless

Job candidates spend a lot of time going through your interview process, and they deserve that level of respect in kind.

The Charlie HR software makes it easier and more efficient to create and send job rejection emails, ensuring that each rejection is handled with professionalism and care.

Click here to start a free trial

Read Next

Try Charlie for free

Take a week-long trial