How to Send a Rejection Letter After an Interview

Once you’ve selected the top candidates you want to move on to the next phase of the hiring process, there’s another important step you need to take: sending a rejection letter to the applicants who were not selected.

When you’ve decided not to move forwards with a candidate, sending a rejection letter or rejection email is a polite way of keeping an applicant from wondering where they stand, and can help ensure that applicants retain a favourable impression of your brand. According to an Indeed survey, 55% of jobseekers were highly frustrated because they never heard back from an employer.*

Additionally, if a candidate is highly skilled but not the best fit for the role you’re currently filling, a rejection letter is an excellent opportunity to let them know that you’re impressed with their background and would like them to apply in the future.

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Here are a few tips on writing a job rejection letter:


1. Personalise your letter.

Although you might use a standard template for all rejection letters, take time to tailor it to the candidate by including their name, the position and something you recall from your conversations, such as something unique from the applicant’s professional or educational background.


For example, “We were impressed with your experience of launching your own business.”, or, “It’s always great to meet a fellow University of X graduate!”.


2. Keep it concise.

It’s essential that you get to the point as quickly as possible. Don’t make the applicant read through several paragraphs of praise for their skills and experience only to discover that they haven’t been selected to move forwards. Be respectful of their time and share the news early on in the letter.


3. Be professional and considerate.

Although it’s likely that the applicant will be disappointed no matter how you frame the rejection, using professionalism and consideration can diminish any negativity they may feel towards you or the company.


Consider using the “sandwich method” where you deliver less welcome news between two positive messages. For example, you might start by letting the applicant know that you’re impressed by a specific skill or experience, tell them that you’ve chosen to move forwards with another candidate, then finish by thanking them for their time and wishing them the best of luck in their future endeavours.


4. Send it as soon as possible.

According to an Indeed survey, there is a discrepancy between the average amount of time employers say it takes them to respond to candidates and the length of time applicants say they wait to hear back. For example, 68% of employers say that they respond to candidates within a week, while 44% of jobseekers say it takes up to two weeks – and another 15% reported waiting months.*


The bottom line: send the rejection letter as soon as you’ve made the decision. Applicants are probably anxious to hear from you – especially if they’ve already come in for an interview. By quickly offering your response, you can end the uncomfortable waiting period and stand out as an organisation that cares about the applicant experience.


Often, a rejection letter will give an applicant the nudge they need to explore other, better-suited opportunities.



Example rejection letter

To help you put together your template, here is an example job rejection letter using all of the tips mentioned above. 1 August 20XX Chris Fredrickson
123 Main Road, Birmingham, West Midlands, B8 3EA

Dear Chris,

Thank you so much for your interest in the marketing manager role here at ABC Company, and for taking the time to come in and meet with the team last week. It’s always great to meet a fellow University of Leeds graduate!

Although we were all impressed with your skill set and knowledge, we’ve decided to move forwards with another candidate who has more leadership experience. However, we feel that you fit excellently in our company culture and encourage you to apply for other positions that will be available in the marketing department in the coming months.

Thank you again for the time you invested in applying and interviewing for this role. We wish you the best of luck in your job search and all future endeavours.


Jill Flores HR Director



A good rejection letter informs candidates that they will not be moving on to the next phase of the hiring process without ruining applicants’ impression of your company. By keeping the letter personal, concise and considerate and sending it as quickly as possible, you can ensure that the experience is as positive as possible.


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*Decipher/FocusVision on behalf of Indeed


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*Indeed provides this information as a courtesy to users of this site. Please note that we are not your career or legal advisor, and none of the information provided herein guarantees a job offer.