Talent Acquisition

Candidate Rejection Email Templates

Hiring new employees is an exciting process, but it also involves rejecting candidates not selected for the job. To positively represent your brand, discover how to write a rejection letter that conveys your message professionally and compassionately.

How to Write a Rejection Letter

When writing a candidate rejection email, it’s important to empathize with the applicant. Recognizing their time and effort in their job search demonstrates respect and appreciation for the applicant, even if they weren’t selected for the role.

Research has shown that personal and informal rejection letters can enhance applicants’ perceptions of fairness and encourage them to apply again later. So, use the applicant’s name instead of a generic greeting and a friendly and conversational tone to convey your message clearly and respectfully.

Remember that rejection letters reflect not only on the applicants but also your company’s brand and values. Writing with sincerity and clarity can help maintain a favorable view of your organization.

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Different Types of Candidate Rejection Emails

The style and substance of your rejection letter can change based on the context. Here are some common types of rejection letters you might need to write:

  • Rejection after initial application: It is a brief but friendly notification. 
  • Rejection after the first interview: This letter addresses those no longer under consideration after the initial meeting.
  • Rejection after the final interview: This is specifically for candidates who have completed multiple rounds of interviews and skills tests but were not hired.
  • Rejection after an informal introduction: This is for job seekers who expressed interest in the company, but there aren’t any suitable open roles.
  • Rejection for an internal candidate: This letter is for current employees who applied for another position in the company.

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Why Employers Find Rejection Letter Templates Beneficial

Unfortunately, many job applicants experience long wait times for rejection letters or experience ghosting by potential employers. A rejection letter template can help send responses more quickly. Even better, you won’t have to write rejection letters from scratch each time, keeping your tone of voice consistent.

Tips for Writing Rejection Emails

Consider incorporating these tips into your rejection letter writing process. These best practices also apply to termination letters or communications regarding layoffs.

  • Check the applicant’s name and any other details for the letter
  • Put the company’s and position’s names in the subject line
  • Read your rejection letter out loud to smooth your writing
  • State your decision for the rejection early on

Candidate Rejection Email Templates

Here are five rejection letter templates for common scenarios. You can customize these letters even more to meet your specific needs.

1. Rejection After Initial Application

At this stage, rejection letters can be concise and straightforward without feedback.

Dear [Applicant’s name],

Thank you for applying to [Position] at [Company]. After thorough consideration, we have decided not to proceed with your application.

We sincerely appreciate the time and effort you took to apply to this role and learn about our company. Due to the large volume of applications we received, we cannot provide feedback at this stage. We wish you the best of luck in your job search and encourage you to apply for future roles at [Company].



2. Rejection After Initial Interview

At this point, applicants are likely considering multiple roles with different organizations. Sending the rejection email after an interview quickly gives them time to refocus their job search.

Dear [Applicant’s name],

Thank you so much for interviewing for [Position] at [Company]. I enjoyed meeting you and learning more about your experience. Unfortunately, we have decided not to proceed to the next round of interviews.

This decision was tough, as we interviewed many excellent candidates for the role. We were impressed with your [skills/positive qualities], but are looking for someone with more experience in [skills].

We will keep your resume on file for future opportunities that might fit your skills well. We very much appreciate the time and effort you spent on your application. We wish you all the best in your job search!

Best wishes,


3. Rejection After Final Interview

A more familiar tone may be appropriate here since you’ve had multiple conversations with the candidate. Providing more detailed feedback will likely be appreciated as well.

Hi [Applicant’s name],

Thank you so much for all the time and effort you’ve spent interviewing at [Company]. We’ve enjoyed getting to know you and have been very impressed with your work. However, we ultimately decided to go with another applicant for this role.

At this point, our team needed someone with more [skills/experience/etc.]. However, we were very impressed with your [accomplishments] and [skills].

Although we won’t be moving forward now, we would love to keep in touch with you. Can I reach back out if any new positions open up?

Thanks again, and best wishes,


4. Rejection After Informal Introduction

Sometimes, candidates will reach out with interest even when a job is unavailable. In this case, you can use a light and friendly tone to inform them where to look for future openings, like your career page.

Hi [Applicant’s name],

Thanks for reaching out.

Unfortunately, we don’t have any openings that align with your skill set. However, we appreciate you taking the time to get in touch and highly encourage you to apply for future roles at [company career page].

Best wishes,


5. Rejection of an Internal Candidate

Writing a rejection email to an internal candidate needs a delicate touch. It’s often better to have a face-to-face chat where you can offer feedback directly. By highlighting the value they bring to the team, you’ll help them feel valued despite the rejection.

Hi [Applicant’s name],

Thank you for taking the time to apply for [Position]. I appreciate the time you put into the application and the incredible work you’ve done for [Company]. Our search for this position was very competitive, and we are moving forward with another applicant.

I’d love to have a face-to-face meeting to discuss this further. You have a bright future here at  [Company], and I support you on your path forward—look out for an invite.



Wize Words

Consider a well-crafted candidate rejection email as part of your employer branding; it should reflect your company’s culture. Although a candidate is not a good fit now, they might be at some point, and you don’t want to discourage potentially great talent from applying in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are employers legally required to send rejection letters?

Employers do not have to send rejection emails to applicants in most cases. The only exception is federal government agencies. However, even if you are not legally required to send a rejection letter, doing so shows consideration for your applicants and reflects your brand well. Remember, job seekers share their interviewing experiences on sites like Glassdoors.

How come many companies don’t send rejection letters?

Many employers skip sending rejection letters due to the time and cost involved. Imagine a job opening attracting hundreds of resumes. If a company decides to respond to all but the one successful candidate, that’s a lot of emails to send. This process isn’t just time-consuming; it can also be costly regarding resources.


  • Sarah Foley

    Sarah Foley, a Chicago-based freelance content writer and marketer, boasts a rich portfolio spanning back to 2015. Over the years, she has meticulously crafted hundreds of blogs, web copy, and ebooks that delve into diverse subjects, including business, technology, HR, and more.

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The article was reviewed by Deirdre Sullivan

Sarah Foley

Sarah Foley, a Chicago-based freelance content writer and marketer, boasts a rich portfolio spanning back to 2015. Over the years, she has meticulously crafted hundreds of blogs, web copy, and ebooks that delve into diverse subjects, including business, technology, HR, and more.

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