What Is a Job Rejection Letter?

Job rejection letters inform candidates that they did not get the job. A job rejection letter may be sent to interviewees who have had more than one interview with the company. It can be difficult to give a job rejection letter to a prospect who was liked and qualified enough to make it to the next round of interviews, but it is important to remember that this is commonplace. Due to the sensitive nature of rejection, the letters should be professional and polite as well as written with compassion.

What Is the Importance of Job Rejection Letters?

Reputation is important to an organization. It is critical to ensure that the organization’s reputation is kept intact with each potential employee so that the firm is able to attract the most highly qualified individuals.

The organization’s reputation can be impacted by how the candidates are treated by the interviewers. As candidates make the time and effort to apply for the job and visit the organization on two occasions, if a candidate does not get the job, the firm is obligated to send a professional communication of rejection in the form of a job rejection letter. It would be inconsiderate and disrespectful to not notify the candidate of the results of their effort. Excuses such as not having the time or being preoccupied are unacceptable and sending the letter as soon as possible allow the candidate to continue their job search.

Sending job rejection letters benefits the company by preventing follow ups and safeguard the firm's reputation by showing that the firm respects the candidates.

Begin With a Phone Call

It is advisable to first phone the candidate/s who did not get the job before sending a rejection letter. An interviewee who has taken the time to interview for the job on two occasions, and by having a second interview believes they are in the running, deserves to receive a phone call notifying them of the outcome of their application. The firm should expect the candidate to have follow up questions and be prepared to answer them.

It is legally advisable to only tell the candidate that the firm decided to hire another candidate and not that they chose to hire a better-qualified candidate. If the rejected candidate tries to sue the organization for discrimination, the reason of hiring a more qualified person would give the plaintiff's attorney reason to investigate the applications of all other candidates and what might be considered qualified. Feedback with regards to the candidate's strengths, noted during the interviews, is acceptable.

A job rejection letter should follow after the phone call.

The Different Types of Rejection Letters

It is important to note that there are actually a variety of rejection letters for different situations, such as:

  • Not selected for the job interview - as many people will apply and only a few will interview, these can be automated electronically on a standard form as there is no relationship with the candidates.
  • Selected another candidate - a letter indicating that another candidate was selected, but the firm hopes the rejected candidate applies for future roles.
  • Poor fit - Candidate is unsuccessful as they are a poor fit for the organization's culture.
  • Not selected for the applied role, but another role is available - another candidate was selected for the applied role, but the firm wishes for the rejected candidate to apply for another role.
  • Not selected for the second interview – after initial interview to assess applicant's skills, experience, and cultural fit, it is decided the candidate does not qualify for a second interview.
  • No available positions – a letter indicating that the position is not available.

Rejection letters should include specific reasons as to why the candidate was unsuccessful and next steps if there are any. The job rejection letter should be to the point and the reasons for rejection clearly stated. The letter should be compassionate and not appear insulting. Although time-consuming, job rejection letters with specific feedback as to why the candidate was unsuccessful are the most appreciated and beneficial to the candidate.

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