Writing rejection letters is a topic that many staffing and recruitment professionals tend to avoid. No one likes giving “bad” news, so it is only natural to dodge this task. However, taking the time to write a good rejection letter to candidates who have not been chosen for the job is not only a professional courtesy, but it also helps to establish your company as an employer of choice.

While it does take a little more effort to draft a good rejection letter, doing this consistently can increase the likelihood of attracting better candidates in the future. As an employment manager, you can easily write rejection letters that gently let candidates know they were not selected for employment, without getting into legal hot water. Here is how to do this effectively.

Start by indicating in a general statement that at this time the candidate has not been selected for the specific position. Never state the exact reasons why and do not demean the candidate’s skills or background. The best way to say this is a simple, “Thank you for applying for a position at Company Name. We value your time and unique qualities; however we have decided to move forward with other candidates at this time”.

Encourage the rejected candidate to reapply at some time in the future. A nice touch to include in your rejection letter is to let the candidate know that although this position is filled, they are welcome to come back again and apply for another job within your company. Say this with a, “Although this particular position is not a good fit for your skills and background, we frequently have openings and invite you to apply again in the near future.”

Stay within legal hiring guidelines in your rejection letter. All employers are required to keep employment applications on file for a period of no less than six months. This is to document non-discriminatory hiring practices according to EEOC laws. The best way to state this in your rejection letter is to say. “We will keep your resume on file for six months, should another more suitable assignment become available.”

Lastly, be sure to set up a system for sending and recording rejection letters. This can be as simple as attaching a printed copy of the letter to each candidate’s resume or application. You may also wish to use a more sophisticated method enabled by technology such as email to send out rejection letters to each candidate. Just remember to keep it simple and demonstrate respect and good will to each individual you have to reject, for positive results.


For more tips on writing candidate rejection letters and support with your hiring practices, please visit our employer’s portal today.

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