Simplify the rejection notification process with these sample rejection letters

Whenever you hire a new employee, it almost always means that you selected them over other applicants. Obviously, the courteous thing to do is to let each of them know that you've decided not to offer them employment. But how should you notify them that they've been passed over for the position? For many companies, the answer is simple: send them a clear and professional rejection letter that confirms your decision. Unfortunately, writing those letters is not always the easiest thing to do.

In this post, we'll explain why rejection letters are important and offer some tips to help you craft your own rejection letter templates. We'll then provide seven sample employment rejection letters that you can customize to fit your company's needs.

Why send out a job rejection letter?

Obviously, sending out rejection letters to applicants does take up precious time, but there are good reasons why companies do this. First, a polite rejection notice is considered good etiquette, since it lets the candidate know that the job has been filled. That confirmation shows that you respect their time enough to help them avoid wasting it on a job that's no longer available. It also helps to avoid any candidate confusion by helping them to understand why they weren't selected for hire.

Companies that develop a habit of sending out formal rejection letters can also help themselves, by promoting their own commitment to respectful professionalism. This can leave a positive impact on the rejected candidate, as well as anyone else they might talk to about their job search experience.

Why use template rejection letters?

Template rejection letters can be a great way to save time and ensure a consistent approach to your communication with unsuccessful candidates. They can help you to provide uniform answers to explain why a candidate was rejected, as well as advice that you think may help the candidate as they continue their job search. Well-constructed rejection letters that offer helpful feedback to candidates can help to soften their disappointment, while providing useful information that can benefit their careers.

How to write your own employer rejection letters

So, how do you write a positive and helpful employment rejection letter? The following tips can help you to determine what to include in your template letters, and the best tone and method for addressing rejection in the clearest and most concise manner possible.

  • Don't delay the rejection. Once you've decided to move forward with a specific candidate, notify rejected applicants as soon as possible. Remember that they may also be pursuing other open positions, so you're doing them a favor by letting them know that your company's job has been filled.

  • You can send the rejection via email rather than by regular mail service. While a mailed letter might seem more formal, most candidates will appreciate receiving the news as soon as possible – and email is always quicker.

  • Keep your rejection letters short. No candidate wants to read through a lengthy explanation about why they didn't measure up to expectations. At the same time, though, your letter should include enough detail to ensure that you explain the decision.

  • Try to be as positive as possible. The rejection will be disappointing for the candidate, so there's no need to pile on with negative feedback or other criticism.

  • As a rule, keep your letter limited to no more than three short paragraphs. The first one can simply thank them for their interest and let them know that you've decided not to hire them. 

  • The second paragraph can include some positive affirmation, by focusing on anything that impressed you during their interview, and perhaps cite a reason why they've been rejected. If you might consider them for a different job in the future, tell them that too. 

  • Finally, your third paragraph should simply thank them again and wish them well in their efforts to land the right job in the future.

Seven rejection letter samples

Below, we've included seven example rejection letter templates that you can customize and send to unsuccessful applicants. This selection of templates covers a variety of different approaches for rejecting candidates, so you can choose one or several depending on your company's needs.

1.     Generic rejection letter template

Dear Mr / Ms [Applicant's name],

Thank you for submitting your application and resume for our [title of the position they applied for] position. We deeply appreciate you taking the time to reach out to us. However, after reviewing your application, we have decided not to move forward with your application.

As you probably know, we received a tremendous amount of interest in this position, so this was an extremely difficult decision for our hiring team. Unfortunately, we concluded that your impressive array of skills and achievements were not what we were looking for at this time.

We want to thank you again for your interest in working with us and wish you the best of success in your future career endeavors.


[Your name and company name]

2.     Application rejection letter template

Dear Mr / Ms [Applicant's name],

Thank you for submitting your application. We appreciate your interest in a position as a [job title] in our company and the effort you invested in reaching out to us. Unfortunately, our review of the many applications and resumes we received in response to our job posting has moved us to select another candidate for the role.

We do want to commend you for your impressive skill set and accomplishments, and hope that you will consider a different role with us at some future point in time. We will keep your resume on file and may reach out to you if we have another opening for a job that better aligns with your unique talents.

Again, thank you for getting in touch with us and providing us with your resume and application. We wish you luck and much success in your job search efforts.

Warmest regards,

[Your name and company name]

3.     Screening stage rejection letter template

Dear Mr / Ms [Applicant's name],

Thank you for your resume and application submission and for participating in our initial screening process. Unfortunately, our screening suggests that you may not be the best fit for this position or our company at this time. As a result, we have decided to decline moving forward with our interview process.

We should note that your skills, experience, and other qualifications are very close to what we need for this position. However, our screening results found that [provide reason for rejection, such as failed background check, failed drug test, etc.]. Those results led us to focus on other candidates to fill this position.

Again, we applaud your credentials and wish you nothing but the best in your job search efforts. Thanks for reaching out to us and good luck throughout your career.

Best regards,

[Your name and company name]

4.     Early-stage interview rejection letter template

Dear Mr / Ms [Applicant's name],

We truly appreciate you taking the time to meet with our hiring team to interview for our open [title of the job] position. I speak for everyone on the team when I say that we were really impressed with your overall performance and believe that you have a lot to offer to any company that hires you. Regrettably, however, we have decided to decline moving forward in our interview process.

While your interview was solid and compelling, and your resume qualifications are close to what we were looking for, we have decided to hire another candidate whose skills more closely align with our needs for this position. Make no mistake, though – this was a difficult decision.

Since we were so impressed with your candidacy, we will keep your resume on file and contact you if any other opportunities arise in the future. Until then, we wish you the best of luck in all your endeavors and hope for your continued career success.


[Your name and company name]

5.     Final stage interview rejection letter template

Dear Mr / Ms [Applicant's name],

Thank you so much for your time and attention throughout our application and interview process. We appreciate the patience you extended to everyone on our team during all [number of interviews] of your meetings with us. Unfortunately, after reviewing the results of our assessments of every candidate for the position, we have decided not to offer you the role.

Everyone on our team agrees that your skills and experience are beyond question, so this decision is in no way a reflection on your qualifications. Our decision was based solely on an evaluation of every candidate's experience and how well we believe they might fit with the specific needs of that open position. Regrettably, that decision process led us to another candidate.

We would appreciate it if you would allow us to contact you if or when another position opens, that we believe might be a better fit for your core competencies. Again, we want to thank you for your commitment to the process and extend our best wishes for your future success.

With our best regards,

[Your name and company name]

6.     Post-phone call rejection letter template

Dear Mr /Ms [Applicant's name],

This letter is to follow up on our recent phone call with you confirming that we will not be hiring you for the position of [name of position the applicant applied for]. I wanted to personally contact you and let you know how much we all appreciated having the opportunity to get to know you throughout our interview process.

Though you have already been notified of our decision in that brief call, I still want to take a few moments to say how impressed we were with your qualifications and interview skills. We all recognize the potential value our company could enjoy if you were a member of our team.

Thank you again for your interest in our company. We wish you luck in your career journey.


[Your name and company name]

7.     Rejection letter template advising candidate to reapply in the future

Dear Mr /Ms [Applicant's name],

Thank you so much for interviewing for our position as a [job title]. Your qualifications are impressive, which made our hiring decision extremely difficult. However, the team here have decided to offer the job to another candidate.

Still, we want to let you know that we recognize your talents and are confident that you would do well in a different role within our organisation, if you focused on developing [cite a skill that the candidate needs to enhance]. With those added skills, we would be eager to consider you for a different role in our company.

Thanks again for your dedication and interest in joining our firm. Good luck to you in your job search!


[Your name and company name]

Simplify your efforts to follow-up with rejected candidates

It's never easy to craft a letter letting job candidates know that they've been rejected. Still, it's something that every company should do, so it's important to streamline the process as much as possible. By using some variation of these rejection letter templates, and customizing them to fit your unique needs, sending out these notifications can be quicker and easier than ever before.

Looking to avoid a job rejection letter by bolstering your resume? Get a free resume review from our experts today!

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