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Hiring Advice Attracting candidates 8 tips on writing a rejection letter after an interview to unsuccessful candidates
8 tips on writing a rejection letter after an interview to unsuccessful candidates

8 tips on writing a rejection letter after an interview to unsuccessful candidates

We have read how important it is for HR professionals to treat all rejected candidates well (note to writers: link to article “5 reasons why you should write rejection letters after interview to candidates who were unsuccessful”) because it keeps talent in the pipeline, as well as bringing several benefits (directly and indirectly) to the company. However, it does not take a genius to know that writing a rejection letter to a candidate after an unsuccessful interview session, can be difficult.

There are many ways to write rejection letters to lessen the blow of refusal. Unfortunately, these letters are often written in a rather cold, template-oriented form to quickly hasten the process of rejecting a candidate. Always remember that rejecting candidates with grace gives them a positive candidate experience overall and would leave a good lasting impression towards your company.

Here is a step-by-step on how to write your rejection letter after an interview to an unsuccessful candidate and encourage the applicant to continue with his or her job hunt:

1. Use a company letterhead

First impression matters, whether it is a rejection letter or an offer letter. Always ensure that the letter is drafted in a template with a proper company letterhead. A company letterhead is usually positioned at the top right header of the letter and can be clearly seen in either softcopy or hardcopy format.

2. Maintain professionalism

Treat a rejection letter like how you would treat your usual business and legal documents. If you are sending the letter as an attachment on e-mail, ensure that the letter is converted or saved in a secured format such as in Adobe PDF, to maintain integrity and security.

3. Keep it short

Nobody likes to receive a rejection letter, let alone a long one. Ensure that rejection letters are kept short and polite. Remember that the candidate has been anxious to receive an update, therefore it should not be longer than one page and should be as straightforward as possible.

4. Have some personal touch

Try not to begin with a template-oriented “Dear Sir/Madam, we regret to inform you…” Always address the candidate by the correct salutation followed by his or her name. Remember to also double check to ensure that the name is accurately spelled.

5. Thank the candidate

Your opening line should always be thanking the candidate for applying to the position such as, “Thank you for your interest in the ABC position at Company ABC.” Also, let them know that you appreciate their effort spent in preparing for the job interview, and their keen interest in joining the company.

6. State your decision

After you have thanked the candidate, state your decision in an honest but humane manner. For example, instead of saying, “We are unable to find a good fit for your skill”, say something like, “We are currently focusing on hiring more expertise in specific areas such as chemical/civil engineering to support our ongoing project.”

7. Show your support

Try to identify at least one strength and compliment the candidates’ skills or experience to boost their confidence in their quest to look for a job. For example, you may something like, “Your experience and education background are impressive and it was difficult for us to come to this decision.”

8. End with another thanks and consider allowing feedback

Wrap up the letter with another sincere thanks, a courteous salutation and a proper signature. For example, write something like, “On behalf of Company ABC, I would like to thank you once again for your time and interest in the position and I wish you all the best in your future endeavours. Sincerely, Your Name.” Consider including your contact details for feedback or if the candidate has any questions pertaining to the decision made.

The way you turn down candidates will definitely be a lasting impression for them. Always remember that a rejection letter needs to be properly written as the rejection letter may either be used against your company brand or praised and referred to when one talks about the professionalism of your company.

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