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Ask any Human Resources or Recruiting manager what their least favorite task is and you’ll probably get a unanimous vote about writing candidate rejection letters. However, if you want your company to be viewed as professional and leave candidates with a favorable impression, then drafting thoughtful rejections letters should be part of your recruitment process. After all, you may need to call some of these candidates back in again at some point in the future for more suitable assignments. Here’s how to get started.

4 Steps for Writing Respectful Candidate Rejection Letters

1- Address the candidate by name.  No one wants to receive a rejection letter that is written in a form with little to no personalization. While it may seem like a good idea to create a canned response, this adds little value to your company communications as viewed by rejected candidates. Take the time to include the candidate’s first name at the very least.

2- Start out with a Thank You.  The candidate spent a specific amount of time applying for a job with your company, prepping for the interview, and then interviewing with you. In some cases, the candidate may have had to travel a long distance to your corporate office. Take the time to thank the candidate sincerely for his time, which is a great way to open up this communication.

3- Provide a brief, yet valid reason for not choosing the candidate.  This can be a touchy area, but you want to state something to the degree of “although you have many of the qualities we are looking for in our employees, we have chosen to move forward with a more suitable candidate at this time.” Do NOT get personal here, or list specific shortcomings, because you could offend a candidate to the point where they may feel you are discriminating against them.

4- Invite the candidate to re-apply for future openings. Close out your rejection letter by advising you will keep their application on file for a period of one year from receipt. Also, let the candidate know you would like to invite them to re-apply for any assignments that they may be qualified for in the near future.

Recruiting can be a  more pleasant experience for you and for candidates if you take the time to write a considerate rejection letter.  Let TempStaff, one of the top staffing agencies in Mississippi, help develop your recruiting strategy, and land you top talent.


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