Candidate experience

How to Write the Perfect Candidate Rejection Email

3 Mins read

One of the worst recruitment practices is not contacting an applicant to inform them that their application was rejected (as well as failing to include any kind of constructive feedback). All too often, companies can’t be bothered to communicate their decision – even if the process spanned over two or three consecutive interviews. Companies assume that the lack of a message is a clear message in itself. Well, it is – but not the kind of message that companies want to be sending.

Why Is It Important to Send Job Rejection Emails?

There are at least three major reasons as to why a company should be sending job rejection emails.

First, if a candidate has taken the time to submit an application form or to attend an interview, it’s only polite to inform them about the outcome.

Second, sending a rejection email shows that you actually care about your applicants and that you don’t want them to have a negative overall experience with your company. Remember, applicants and employees become your brand ambassadors!

Lastly, being unsuccessful in one recruitment doesn’t disqualify them from another. Rejected applicants have an opportunity to become your potential employees in the future once they’ve gained enough experience elsewhere. Can you afford to lose them as potential candidates forever?

What to Include in a Job Rejection Email?

The first thing that should be included in a job rejection email is a message thanking them for their time and interest in your company. Then, give them your decision, plain and simple.

If you’re rejecting the candidate after an interview, you owe them some feedback (even if you normally inform your candidates about the outcome over the phone, it is still a best practice to also send it in writing). Make it as constructive and as personalized as possible. Begin with the positives before you dive into the negatives, whether they are experience-related or interview-related.

Be honest and specific. Give them a clear reason for their rejection, even if it’s as simple as having other candidates who are a better match for your requirements.

However, please remember that being honest is not the same as being blunt. Bear in mind that you want to leave the candidate feeling good about your company and about themselves.

One last thing – make sure that the person who sends those emails is actually the person in charge of this particular recruitment process. It isn’t exactly nice to receive feedback from people one has yet to meet.

Rejection Email Sample

Here’s an example of an email that you can send to a candidate who was rejected before the interview stage:

Dear [candidate name],

We appreciate that you took the time to apply for the position of [job title] with our company. As you can imagine, we have received a large number of applications, and I am sorry to inform you that you have not been selected for an interview for this position.

Please check out our other openings for which you may qualify: [link to your other job adverts]

Best wishes for a successful job search.

[Your signature]

Additionally, here’s an email template that you can send to an interviewee, with feedback:

Hi [first name],

We appreciate your interest in [company name] and the time you’ve invested in applying for the [role title] opening.

We ended up moving forward with another candidate, but we’d like to thank you for talking with our team and giving us the opportunity to learn about your skills and accomplishments.

During the interview, we were very impressed by [a specific example]. It was great to see that [another example].
One thing we were missing in the interview was [a specific example]. We also believe that you need to gain a bit more experience with [another example].

Please check out our other openings for which you may qualify: [link to your other job adverts] We will be also advertising more positions in the coming months. We hope you’ll keep us in mind and we encourage you to apply again.

We wish you good luck with your job search.

Best regards,

[Your signature]


How you treat people – and that includes your job applicants – sends a clear message about your company and its values. Don’t miss the chance to show that you are a professional and respectful company. Seriously, can you afford not to?