No one likes receiving a candidate rejection email, and if we’re really honest, no one likes writing them either. But unfortunately, they’re a part of the hiring process none of us can avoid.
The good news is, if you use your candidate rejection emails to offer genuinely helpful feedback to applicants, they can become a tool to help build bridges rather than burn them. In fact, candidates are 4X more likely to consider your company in the future if you offer constructive feedback.
But how do you write a candidate rejection email that applicants will actually appreciate?
In this article, we’ll explain how to craft candidate rejection emails that help build relationships, and share some pick-and-play samples and templates that you can easily personalize to help improve your candidate relationships — even when the person just isn’t a fit this time.
No one likes receiving a candidate rejection email — but one that’s clearly been mass-produced with zero care is guaranteed to add insult to injury.
Here’s how to keep your rejection emails thoughtful and avoid leaving a bitter taste in your candidates mouths:
We loved hearing about your background in HR but after reviewing all the candidates, we decided to go with someone with more Sapling experience since that’s our main HRIS platform. We were all impressed with your resume though and will let you know next time a relevant role crops up.
Bumping into ex-candidates in the workplace is an age-old story — so make sure you don’t burn any bridges.
A great candidate rejection email can prevent damage and help build relationships too. (All the more reason to get that email right. 😉)
Here’s how to leave the door wide open with an empathy-first candidate rejection email:
For this current role, we’re looking for someone with a bit more practical experience, but we’ll definitely keep you in mind for future positions. In the meantime, feel free to follow us on social — we’d love to stay in touch!
We know we don’t have to say this, but we can’t talk about great hiring and skip this one: your candidates are humans too.
In the age of virtual hiring, it’s easy to forget the people behind the applications — but if you want to build a great employer brand (and sleep at night), it’s important to craft rejection emails that reflect your human side.
Here’s how to use your candidate rejection emails to keep the human in HR:
Although we were very impressed with your skills, we’ve decided to go with someone who has a little more experience. Thanks for taking the time out to connect with us, we loved that you answered our questions so thoughtfully and felt that with the right role, you could be a great fit for our company. We get that it’s not an easy time for jobseekers right now, so let’s definitely stay connected for future opportunities.
Sometimes lying is easier than telling the truth — but when it comes to dealing with candidates, honesty is always the best policy.
Whether it’s a candidate you know won’t ever be a good fit, or you have another important reason for not hiring them, here are some simple tips to create a balanced, honest email:
We believe in sharing constructive feedback to help you grow as a candidate. For this role, although your technical skills were great, we felt your platform knowledge would hold you up in the role. Thanks for your application though, and best of luck in your job search!
When in doubt, use the following template as a guide to help you create job rejection emails with more care. Simply adapt each bracketed section to suit your situation.
Hi [candidate name],
Thank you for taking the time to apply to [company name].
Although your [skill] stood out, we’ve chosen another candidate this time. The reason for our decision was [constructive feedback].
We will 100% keep your resume on file and reach out about any future opportunities when they come up.
In the meantime, feel free to follow us on [social media channels] to keep up to date on [the company’s] news and upcoming roles — we’d love to stay in touch!
Good luck with your job search and we hope we’ll have the chance to consider you for another role in the future.
👉🏼 For more recruiting email templates, check out Breezy’s free resources.
If you’ve been in the HR game for long, it’s likely you’ve had to tackle the dreaded candidate rejection email — but whether you’re new to the game or an experienced recruiter, there’s always more to learn about handling candidate rejection with care.
From offering constructive feedback, to getting your tone right, there are plenty of steps you can take to craft a human-first candidate rejection email.
Remember to keep it empathetic and offer tangible feedback, and you’re guaranteed to give candidate rejection emails (and your company) a name for building bridges rather than burning them.
Want to create a more seamless hiring experience? See how BreezyHR can help.