Why You Should Always Send Candidate Rejection Emails (and How to Do It Right)

Are they really worth sending?

For many companies, the hiring process is much like finding a needle, i.e., the right talent, in a haystack, AKA, a pile of applications.

In fact, the average corporate job attracts 250 resumes, and only four to six of these applications make it to the interview stage.

While this represents a massive workload for recruiters, it’s essential to keep the candidate in mind. To them, their job search is often a nerve-wracking and uncertain time – which is why it’s so important to send them a formal rejection.

In light of that, we’re discussing why it’s worth sending candidate rejection emails, and how to go about doing it…

The Importance of Sending Candidate Rejection Emails


Providing unsuccessful candidates with a formal and respectful rejection is a big part of your employer brand. No one likes to deliver bad news, but you can be confident that your candidates will thank the messenger in this case. The sooner applicants receive a formal rejection, the quicker they can discount their chances of working for you and plow all their energy into their job search.

It’s also about recognizing the time the candidate spent applying for your job vacancy. While a recruiter might only take a moment to look over an unsuitable CV, the applicant has likely poured lots of effort into it. Consequently, when candidates don’t receive any acknowledgement, they often (rightly) are put off your company.

So why should you care about what unsuccessful candidates think about you?

This is where staggering candidate experience insights come in.

As many as 72% of candidates who have a negative candidate experience tell others about it, which can be incredibly damaging for your employer brand. Not only that, but it’s not uncommon for many of your candidates to also be your customers – so you may lose out on sales too!

Beyond this, although the candidates you’re rejecting might not be the right fit for the current role, they could be the perfect talent for your company later down the line. So, the last thing you want to do is alienate these candidates and burn your bridges.

How to Send a Rejection Email

Once you’ve decided to reject a candidate, it’s essential to formulate a diplomatic email to let them know.

Best Practices for Rejection Emails

First off, here’s some general advice to bear in mind as you begin writing your rejection email:

  • Let the candidate know as soon as you’re sure they’re not a good fit
  • Include the reason why you’re rejecting them. If they made it to the interview stage, candidates (usually) appreciate honest and constructive feedback
  • Include something positive at the start of your email to soften the blow
  • Personalize your message to the specific applicant as much as possible

Below, we’ve outlined an example of a good rejection letter. Still, as we’ve already hinted at, this template will need expanding with personalized feedback.

‘Dear [insert candidate name]

We would like to thank you for your interest in [position] at [company] and the time you put into the interview process. We have decided to move forward with another candidate.

[Insert personalized feedback]

We’ll be advertising more roles in the coming months and hope you apply again. We wish you the best of luck with your job search and all your future professional endeavors.

Kind regards,

[Insert your name]’

Rejecting Candidates Over The Phone

Rejecting a candidate over the phone is a more personal approach that most applicants appreciate. Although it takes more time, it’s worth it if you have an inkling the candidate could be a good fit for your company later down the line.

Pro Tip: If you do reject a candidate over the phone, send an email to reiterate the most crucial information after.

Automating the Process

Sending rejection emails can be a lot of work, but many recruiting tools allow you to do this automatically. For example, if an online assessment has been failed, candidates that don’t make the cut can be notified with a template email that’s personalized using macros.

Ask for Feedback

Rejected candidates can provide valuable and honest insights into your recruitment process, which is where tools like Trustcruit come in handy. Trustcruit automatically sends an email requesting feedback when the recruitment process ends for them. The data you collect is then automatically compiled into valuable insights you can use to improve your recruitment process. By listening to your candidates, both failed and successful, you’re taking a huge step toward improving your candidate experience.

Does that sound good to you? If so, Learn more here and get started today!

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