Skip to content
Hiring Advice Attracting candidates 4 scenarios and samples of post-interview rejection letter that won't burn bridges
4 scenarios and samples of post-interview rejection letter that won't burn bridges

4 scenarios and samples of post-interview rejection letter that won't burn bridges

For the past few weeks since you first advertised for that vacant position in your company, you have received many job applications and have even gone through a number of interviews with some of the shortlisted candidates. However, some of these candidates may not be able to meet the job requirements and skill sets. It is now time for you to start drafting rejection letters to them. This crucial extra step, is important to build goodwill with the rejected candidates and to maintain your reputation as the employer of choice.

The question is, how does one draft a proper rejection letter after interviewing multiple candidates who did not make the cut in a short span of time, without burning any bridges? Instead of using a generic rejection letter that may end up sounding rather harsh, too cold or inhumane, you can consider preparing several templates that are based on different scenarios to make them more personal and engaging.

Here, we have identified four types of post-interview rejection letters you can use for four common rejection scenarios:

Scenario 1:

This is for a candidate that you are blacklisting due to his or her dishonesty, or inappropriate display of work attitude during the interview (you are sure you won’t be calling them again). Although it may be tempting to tell them off, always remember to practice professionalism and you definitely don’t want to tell him or her in the letter that they are blacklisted! Just keep the rejection letter short and use a standard format for this type of candidate.

Dear [candidate name], ⁠ Thank you for your interest in the [role title] and for taking the time to meet with us at [company name]. We received many highly qualified candidates for the position and it has been a difficult decision but we regret to inform you that we have chosen to pursue another candidate who we believe most closely matches the requirements of the position at this point of time. We wish you good luck with your job search and professional future endeavours. ⁠ ⁠Thank you. ⁠ ⁠Regards, ⁠[Sender Name]

Scenario 2: 

Sometimes you may have the pleasure of meeting a candidate who is very pleasant, has all the potential and the right work attitude that you seek, but lack the technical skills that the job really requires. And these are the kind that you really want to help and coach. It is always best to keep these candidates in your list and gently reject them for now, with hope that they may become the right fit for your company in future, especially if they have sharpened their skills and knowledge.

Dear [candidate name],⁠ ⁠ ⁠⁠It was a pleasure meeting you to discuss your background and interest in the [role title]. ⁠We appreciate your time, effort and patience throughout the interview process.Unfortunately, we are unable to select you for further consideration as we have chosen another candidate who we believe is best qualified. ⁠ ⁠⁠Nevertheless, we are pleased to have had the chance to know more about you, your skills and accomplishments. We would like to encourage you to not give up in gaining more knowledge and skills as we will be keeping your resume in our records for future openings that better fit your profile. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at [phone number].Thanks again and we wish you good luck in your future endeavours. ⁠ ⁠Regards, ⁠[Sender Name]⁠⁠

Scenario 3: 

These are candidates who possess high potential, the right culture fit and skill sets but you realised that these candidates’ skills are more suitable for another department. However, that particular department has no immediate vacancy at the moment hence you have no choice but to reject them. Nevertheless, these are candidates that you definitely want to keep in your talent pipeline.

Dear [candidate name], ⁠ ⁠We want to thank you for your interest in the [role title] at [company name] and for all the time you have put into the interview process. It was a pleasure to learn more about your skills and accomplishments.While we were impressed with your background and experience, we regret that we cannot offer you an employment at this time. ⁠ ⁠Nevertheless, we have noted that your skills and knowledge would prove useful for another position in a different department at [company name]. If such vacant positions become available, we will keep you in mind.We will keep your resume in our records and we hope that you will not hesitate to apply at [company name] again in the near future.If you have any feedback or any specific questions, I am happy to answer them for you. Please feel free to contact me at [phone number].We wish you best of luck in your future endeavours. ⁠ ⁠⁠Regards, ⁠[Sender Name]

Scenario 4: 

At times, you would meet candidates with outstanding profiles. Just as you are about to seal the deal, the management of your company decided to pull the plug and freeze hiring due to cost cutting, reorganisation or other reasons. Honesty may not be the best policy here because by telling the candidate that your company is in a hiring freeze, it could cause your employee brand to be tarnished and job seekers would potentially take it to social media platforms to share the fact that your firm is halting all hires, turning off all other candidates from having an interest in your company.

⁠Dear [candidate name], ⁠ ⁠We understand that there are a lot of companies out there that are hiring therefore we really appreciate that you took the time to consider applying to [company name] for the position [role title].The purpose of this letter is to thank you and to also let you know that the management of [company name] has instituted a change in our hiring process hence we regret that we are unable to offer you an employment at this time. We would like to sincerely apologise for the difficulty that this may cause. ⁠ Nevertheless, we are pleased to inform you that your credentials and experience fit our requirements and we hope you don’t mind if we reach out to you once the management has made an affirmed decision on the state of our hiring process. Your continued interest in our company is much appreciated.It was a pleasure to know you and once again, thank you for your time and interest. We sincerely hope to be in touch with you again in the near future.If you have any feedback or any specific questions, I’d be more than happy to answer them for you. Please feel free to contact me at [phone number].We wish you best of luck in your future endeavours. ⁠ ⁠⁠Regards, ⁠[Sender Name] ⁠

These are just four of the common rejection scenarios you potentially would encounter in your hiring process. By preparing several rejection letters with template replies, it saves you time as you no longer need to write these rejection letters from scratch, allowing you to concentrate more on other important matters. Such level of customisation and proper closure also allow candidates to feel more connected to you and hopefully, encourage them to re-apply to your company in the near future.

NOTE: These post-interview rejection letter samples are for reference only. All information provided should be considered as fictional.

Subscribe to Hiring Advice

Get expert Hiring Advice delivered to your inbox.
You can unsubscribe from emails at any time. By clicking ‘subscribe’ you agree to our SEEK’s Privacy Statement