Hiring candidates can be a hectic process. Sometimes that means things that should get done don't. When your hiring team is swamped reading resumes, scheduling interviews, and assessing candidates, one of the first things to go is often sending out candidate rejection emails. But this is an important part of the candidate experience. Fortunately, we've got a candidate rejection email template to help make it easier.
For many years, companies informed job applicants that they should assume that they didn't get the job if they didn't hear back after a few days or weeks. And according to Indeed.com, up to 44% of interview candidates said they waited for a response from hiring managers for up to two weeks. 15% reported waiting for months to hear back.
The importance of candidate rejection email
When you publish a job post, candidates take time out of their schedules and put in the effort to apply to be part of your company. Some of these job seekers are desperate for work, and sitting around waiting for news is worse than getting a rejection email.
3 reasons to send candidate rejection emails
- It's common courtesy. These candidates took time out of their schedules to apply for a position in your company. The least you can do is to tell them that you have chosen someone else for the job.
- You can build your talent pool by encouraging candidates to keep in touch. If you are rejecting a candidate with potential because you've received a high volume of great applicants. You can include this information in the rejection email to encourage promising candidates to be on the lookout for future openings.
- It improves the candidate experience. That's good for employer branding. Sending the emails recognizes the candidates' effort, and everybody likes being appreciated. This will give the candidates a positive view of your company, which could bode well for you as they will provide a good report of your company to other people. The reverse is also true.
The elements of a candidate rejection email
If you were to compare candidate rejection emails from different companies, you would find some common elements.
The fundamental components are the name of the candidate, the name of your company, the position, and the reason for the rejection. The length and amount of detail depend on how far into the process the candidate is.
If you're telling someone their resume wasn't excepted, an automated response is more acceptable than if you're sending a rejection to someone who made it to the final round of interviews. If someone makes it that far and spends that much time on your organization, you should take the extra time it takes to craft a good rejection email.
More specifically, candidates who make it to the interview process should receive more personalized rejection emails with some level of feedback.
Use information from the interview or the application to make the email specific. Also, use their name and indicate what position they were applying for. This shows that you considered the candidate individually and paid attention to them when they were applying.
If you can find the time, give the candidate feedback they can use to improve. You may have spotted a mistake that the candidates can correct in the future. At the very least, you should include the reason for rejecting the candidate. Of course, it might not be practical to make this section highly detailed for every email.
That said, even a generic "we had many qualified applicants" is much better than nothing.
Some people refrain from sending candidate rejection due to PR and legal concerns. They don't want their job rejection email to go viral or lead to a lawsuit. Instead, they send boilerplate rejection letters approved by their legal department or eschew sending any notification to candidates who were rejected.
It is important to think carefully about what you say to ensure that it won't lead to negative publicity or legal trouble, but it can be done.
How candidate rejection email templates can help
Many organizations have rejection email templates at hand to use during the hiring process. These templates make the process of sending out rejection emails more efficient, which is especially important if you received a large number of applications.
Candidate rejection email templates
Here are a few different examples you can use.
For rejections during the application process or early-stage screening
Dear Jane Doe;
Thank you for applying for a job at Sunset Express and for the time and effort you put into applying for the IT Consultant position.
This is to notify you that you were not selected to proceed to the next stage of the hiring process. While we were impressed with your educational qualifications and skill set, we received applications from a large number of candidates.
Thank you again for choosing us, and we wish you luck in your future endeavors.
For late-stage screening (Positive)
A positive rejection email implies that though you did not get the job, they were impressed by you during the application or interview process and would not be averse to hiring you in the future.
Dear Jane Doe;
Thank you very much for applying for the IT Consultant position with Sunset Express and for taking the time out of your schedule to visit our offices for the face to face interviews. We are sorry to inform you that we have decided to go with a different candidate.
The competition was very stiff among the candidates, and we had to make difficult choices between several exceptional candidates. However, we assessed your academic qualifications and skill set, and we think you would be an excellent fit for our company, particularly with our Security Operations Centre.
We will be posting a few vacancies in the coming weeks, and we think that with your industry knowledge and background, you should consider applying again. Otherwise, we are grateful for applying to us, and we wish you the best in your future career endeavors.
For further information and clarification, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 321-654-0987
Rejection email for late-stage screening (negative)
A negative rejection email implies that they would not consider hiring you in the future based on
what they found out in the application and interview process.
Dear Jane Doe,
We are grateful that you considered working with us at Sunset Express as an IT Consultant. Thank you for taking the time to fill in the applications and talk to us during the phone interview.
We are sorry to inform you that we have decided to proceed with a different applicant, and you will, therefore, not be moving on to the next stage of the interviews. We were very impressed with your educational qualifications, but we have to proceed with another applicant who had more experience.
Again we are very grateful, and we wish you all the best in your future career endeavors.
Don't Be That Company
By communicating with your job candidates at each step of the hiring process, you will show candidates that you are a courteous professional who is respectful of their time. We've all been on the job market, applying for jobs and never hearing back from some companies. Don't be that company. Take the time to formalize your candidate rejection process, and keep rejected applicants informed.