How to write a job rejection letter

By Robert Half on 1 June 2018

There’s no denying that informing a candidate that their application has been unsuccessful is among the least pleasant aspects of the recruitment process.

However, a well-crafted communication piece can also consolidate your brand presence, help foster professional development and pave the way towards potential opportunities down the track.

Here are five tips for creating a job rejection letter that goes the extra mile.

1. Make it personal

Treating your candidate as an individual rather than an anonymous applicant is critical to keeping your relationship intact.

Correctly spelling their name and maintaining accurate contact information bolsters your professionalism and acts as marker of respect.

Remember that your candidate may be a great fit for another job, so you want to end on a good note.

2. Get to the point

When it comes to writing an effective job rejection letter, it’s important to manage expectations wisely.

State that they have been unsuccessful in the first paragraph and follow up with a compelling reason for their rejection.

Most importantly, remember that transparency trumps dishonesty at all costs.

3. Focus on the positive

A candidate rejection letter can also serve as a powerful tool for professional development.

Spend the second paragraph offering some constructive criticism and don’t forget to summarise positive attributes and emphasise the skills that most impressed you.

Carefully considered feedback is invaluable to the applicant – it can help them cultivate a competitive edge.

4. Lay the foundations for a future relationship

Perhaps your recruitment drive was met with a multitude of flawless applications and filling the position saw you spoilt for choice. In this case, ask the applicant’s permission to keep their details and CV on file.

If you take this step, you forge the kind of candidate relationship that can pay mutual dividends down the track.

5. Finish on a gracious note

To leave a positive impression of your business, it’s vital to end your letter on a gracious note.

Make sure you thank the candidate for taking the time to meet for an interview and remind them that you’ll be in contact if a suitable position materialises in the future.

Don’t forget to wish them luck with their quest for a suitable job. A small dose of positive reinforcement can have a big impact when it comes to cementing their image of your business.

Make your job rejection letter as professional as possible

A job rejection letter can be a critical tool for building relationships with future employees and forging a reputation as a recruiter that goes above and beyond.

Reprioritising the role of rejection letters can work wonders for professional credibility and candidate trust.

Learn from Robert Half’s expert recruiters so you can build a talented team of employees or advance your career. Operating in over 300 locations worldwide and as one of the top work agencies in Sydney, Robert Half can provide you with assistance where and when you need it.

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