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Rejection Letter: Definition, Outline, Tips, and Samples

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Creating a rejection letter is often troubling for HR managers and specialists. You want to remain straightforward but without seeming too cold.

Balancing these aspects on a rejection letter is challenging but essential.

A well-formatted letter can improve your candidate experience, boost credibility, and enhance your long-term recruitment strategy.

Creating one involves adding standard sections, from your job title and date to constructive feedback and invitation for reapplication.

What is a Rejection Letter?

A rejection letter is a document sent to applying candidates that notifies them of their unsuccess in employment.

Employers primarily send the letter during the hiring process, whether after an interview or qualification test.

The response can mention the reasons for rejection and offer advice for future career outlooks. It’s a crucial document for applying candidates because it allows them to move forward with their job search.

Is it Good to Get a Rejection Letter?

Aside from not getting the role, rejection letters promote better future professional relationships between potential employees and employers.

They don’t cut ties with candidates and can invite employees to apply later when they’ve gathered the needed skillset.

The letter showcases the company’s respectful and credible reputation. It provides employees with a common courtesy rather than being met with silence.

Types of Rejection Letters

In most industries, rejection letters are standard.

They inform the candidate of their rejection and either dissect the reasons or not. Other markets craft distinct rejection letters, such as literary and publishing.

1. Form Rejections

Form rejections are abrupt and don’t provide candidates with much information about their unsuccess. They can include a “Thank you for your submission, but it’s not for us.”

These types of rejection letters may implicate several messages. The publisher may not be interested in the work because it doesn’t align with their company standards.

The writing doesn’t give publishers a reason to invest in it. Your work or manuscript may also not fit the publisher’s editorial requirements.

2. Personal Rejections

Unlike form rejections, the personal kind gives writers more detail regarding their unacceptance.

A literary agent or publisher will likely include a critique of your writing. These comments are valuable to your future career growth.

Despite being rejected, the document reflects that the employers saw enough potential to give you pointers. Be sure to respond with gratitude.

You can use the coaching to redraft your manuscript and resend it. Alternatively, send the writing elsewhere and reference the critique from the previous publisher.

3. Second-Chance Rejections

The second-chance option can provide a critique of your literary work, similar to the personal rejection letter. It also invites the writer to resubmit their manuscript after completing the revisions.

Second-chance rejection letters may not provide a reason for rejection. Instead, they could be a standard response, implicating a lack of serious interest in your work. For this reason, check the length of the letter.

If it offers an informative response with advice, the publishers likely want to see a second draft. Otherwise, you can send a thank you note and check your options elsewhere or submit another manuscript.

4. Positive Rejections

While it seems like an oxymoron, positive rejections do exist. They offer candidates a positive review of their work but gradually reject it without detailing their reasons.

It likely implies they’re not officially interested in your work, but you can try to resubmit another draft. You can take these compliments as a win since they’re from professional publishers and literary agents.

Parts of a Rejection Letter

Crafting a rejection letter can be a challenging prospect. That doesn’t make the letters less critical for your business’s image and professionalism. Before writing the document, outline it into essential components and fill them out.

1. Introduction

In the introduction portion of the letter, you need to add vital information, such as your job title, name, contact details, and date.

That way, candidates can respond to you with their experience or inquire about other opportunities. Plus, when mentioning the candidate, use their names to personalize the letter.

The date can save you the hassle of tracking down necessary information on the candidate.

For example, you may need to contact the candidate in the future and reference the date of the previous candidacy results.

2. Rejection Note

After including an introductory passage about the company, you should inform the candidate of their rejection.

Mentioning their unacceptance as soon as possible will improve communication. The note needs to be straightforward and transparent.

3. Reason for Rejection

Once you state the rejection, discuss why the candidate failed to meet the company’s standards.

The portion is crucial since it displays the employer’s understanding of the candidate’s diligence in the hiring process.

Refrain from including unsubstantiated claims. Keep the critique relevant and helpful so the candidate can use it to build their skill set.

You can explain why you accepted other candidates. Emphasizing the latter’s skills will provide a guide for rejected candidates to follow.

Rejection may come from candidates counter-offering too hard. In this case, you can state, “The salary expectations do not align with what the company can offer.”

Overall, this part can encourage candidates to apply again.

3. Strengths

Rejection letters are often demotivating when they don’t mention the candidate’s strengths. Complimenting the candidate’s current skills can go a long way in encouraging them to continue their job search.

4. Gratitude

A “Thank you” comes off as professional and polite. Candidates put lots of effort into their interviews, tests, and application. Gratitude is an ideal response to recognize that work.

In acceptance cases, employees find questions to ask after accepting a job. Likewise, you can ask candidates if they have any inquiries after expressing gratitude.

Tips for Writing a Good Rejection Letter

When creating a job rejection letter, you’ll want to consider some factors. Aside from stating its purpose, an ideal document will include further details, such as constructive feedback.

1. Remain Concise

After waiting for a response email, your candidate won’t appreciate reading three paragraphs before reaching their rejection note. Their answer should be in the first paragraph.

2. Offer Constructive Feedback

HR specialists encourage employers to offer constructive feedback. After going through multiple stages of the candidacy ladder and getting rejected, candidates deserve to know why.

The explanation can help them recognize their points of weakness. You can also include positive feedback to balance your response and soften the blow of rejection.

3. Invite the Candidate to Reapply When the Time is Right

Rather than close the door on your candidate, you can keep it ajar by asking them if it’s okay to remain in touch.

Retaining their information for future positions can save time during the hiring process.

You can say, “We’d love to stay in touch with you for future roles. Is it possible for us to keep your contact information in case we run into positions that fit your skill set?”

Accepted candidates may decline after already accepting the offer. In this scenario, keeping other applicants in touch is convenient.

4. Be Prompt

Employees are likely anticipating your response. The faster your email, the more respectful you’ll appear toward the candidates’ time and efforts.

Over 44% of candidates receive their feedback after a few weeks. Less than 4% acquire their response on the same day.

Increasing your hiring process’ time efficiency can work wonders for your employee experience.

Sample Rejection Letters

Using a rejection letter sample can guide you through the writing process.

Sample #1


Dear (Candidate Name),

We appreciate the time you have taken to apply for the (Position) at (Company Name). Unfortunately, we are unable to accept your application for the time being.

We have chosen to move forward with a different candidate. Their qualifications are better aligned with the company’s requirements.

Nonetheless, we hope to remain in touch with you. Please allow us to retain your details for future positions that are better suited to your qualifications.

Please contact us if you have any inquiries or feedback about your application experience.

We wish you well in your future career endeavors.

Kind Regards,

(Sender Name and Job Title)

Sample #2


Dear (Candidate Name),

Thank you for your interest in working as a (Position) at (Company Name). After reviewing multiple applications, we have decided to not offer you this role.

Your educational background meets our qualifications. However, your lack of hands-on experience in the IT field may impede your performance for the job.

Furthermore, we hope you don’t mind if we keep your details to contact you regarding future opportunities. Don’t hesitate to reapply once you have gained the necessary experience for the job.

On behalf of the company, we wish you well with your application process.

Kind Regards,

(Sender Name and Job Title)

Sample #3


Dear (Candidate Name),

Thank you for applying for the (Position) at (Company Name). We regret to inform you that your application was not successful.

As a sales company, our culture fosters a fast-paced environment. In turn, your experiences did not position you in similar spaces, which may impede teamwork efforts.

We hope you find an ideal fit for your work experiences in your current job search.

Kind Regards,

(Sender Name and Job Title)

Wrapping Up

Rejection letters are an inevitable part of every hiring process. The document consists of several essential components, such as rejection reasoning and an invitation to reapply.

Sending the letter evokes a sense of integrity on the employer’s end. Creating an ideal response can enhance your company’s hiring experience allowing candidates to recommend the organization to their friends and family.

Don’t hesitate to comment if you have any questions. Overall, rejection letters should be to-the-point and offer an explanation while maintaining a respectful tone.

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