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Rejection letter after an interview – How to do it in a right way

Only one person can get the job at the end. That’s the reality. If you are an employer, a recruiter, or an HR manager, you should not feel bad about rejecting someone’s job application. Experiencing rejection is also a good lesson, and most job seekers are used to getting rejected.

At the same time, however, you should try to reject them in a polite way, to ensure they won’t spread a bad word about you, or your company, and to keep the door open for a possible cooperation with them in the future (you never know if the candidate you chose for a job won’t leave the company in two months, and you may actually need (or want) one of the candidates you originally rejected in an interview to replace them).

 

How good employers reject job applicants

  • They call them, thanking them for their time and telling them their final decision.
  • They send a rejection letter, and they mention a clear reason why they chose someone else, or why they rejected them.

We typically try to be nice in the interviews (no reason to do otherwise), and many job candidates have a good impression after meeting us, believing in their chances. Sadly, they are wrong in their impression. The fact that the interviewers were nice to someone does not tell anything about their decision to hire (or to reject) the person.

One way or another, we should give the job applicants some feedback, so they can improve on their interviewing skills, and do better next time. When I am not sure what to write, or tell them, I will use one of the following formulations:

  • You made a good impression on us, and you would be a good person for this job. However, there was a candidate with better score and better personality for the position. We may still contact you in the future, if the position opens again.
  • We were deciding between several shortlisted candidates, including you, for quite a long time. However, just one person can get a job at the end, and we eventually decided for one of the other candidates.

 

Of course, if I have a more definite reason, such as that they failed in the case study, personality test, or that they didn’t prove their readiness for the job with their interview answers, I will mention the reason in the rejection letter.

Let’s have a look at some sample.

 

Rejection letter sample

Dear Mr. X,

Thank you for interviewing with us for the position of Customer Assistant.

You made a good impression in an interview. However, just one person can get the job, and we eventually decided for one of the other applicants.

We do appreciate your time and efforts, and want to encourage you to apply for other openings in our company, if you find them interesting.

Sincerely,

……

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