Dear :

Thank you for your application for employmentpromotion with . We enjoyed meeting with you last , and your accomplishments are quite impressive.

We have reviewed your background and experience, and although your qualifications are excellent, we have decided that another candidate more closely fits the position's requirements. We will keep your application and resume on file for  months, and will contact you if an appropriate position arises.

We appreciate your interest in and wish you luck in your job search.



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How-to guides, articles, and any other content appearing on this page are for informational purposes only, do not constitute legal advice, and are no substitute for the advice of an attorney.

Applicant rejection letter: How-to guide

Your business spends a lot of time attracting suitable applicants for the open positions, shortlisting the qualified candidates after careful consideration, and going through the interview process.

It is advisable to spend some time contacting those individuals after a decision has been made, even if the application is rejected.

A polite and professional rejection letter provides a positive impression of your company name.

In this article, we'll explain how to inform rejected job applicants about the hiring decision without alienating someone who may later be a colleague, peer, or customer. 

Key aspects to follow while creating an applicant rejection letter

Include a gracious note in your rejection letter

Rejecting candidates is a part of the selection process for a job position. Temper your note-positive statements. Consider including a gracious note like, “Thank you for taking the time and meeting us last week,” “We appreciate your interest in our company,” or “Best of luck for your future endeavors.”

Avoid negative language in your rejection letter

Try to avoid negative language in the subject line (e.g., “unfortunately” or “we are sorry”), which can make your letter sound discouraging.

With kind regards, emphasize that there were many applications, and they were not a good match for this position.

Avoid more specific language—e.g., “most qualified candidates”—which may leave you open to lawsuits if it is not the case.

Respond to every applicant professionally and politely

Every applicant deserves the courtesy of a response from your organization, and this reply should be professional and polite.

Job searches are daunting and exhausting, and a simple phone call or letter can provide clarity and certainty. This will reflect well on both you and your company. Rejected applicants can be your future colleagues and partners and may remember your courtesy down the road.

Send rejection letters promptly to avoid legal action

Once you have decided to move forward with another candidate, send a rejection letter as soon as possible. An applicant seeking a job might be waiting for your response and keeping other offers on hold. Making them wait longer might cause anger or disgruntlement.

A simple letter may defuse such a situation before it costs you considerable time and money.

Consider contacting applicants within two weeks of an interview, even if a decision has yet to be made. Explain that you are still reviewing applications and your determination is still being selected. 

Designate one person to handle correspondence for offers and rejections

For each open position, consider designating one person responsible for correspondence relating to offers and rejections in your office. This will ensure consistent communication with such candidates.

Follow uniform procedures for applicant rejections

If your company has procedures governing applicant rejections, be sure to follow those exactly. Consider drafting such procedures if you don’t already have them.

Maintaining and following a uniform policy can protect you against later allegations that you treat some applicants differently than others. 

Use an applicant rejection letter template

Using a template to create an applicant rejection letter ensures consistency in communication across all candidates throughout the hiring process, maintaining professionalism and fairness.

By utilizing a generic rejection letter template, hiring managers can quickly and effectively inform applicants that, while they may be qualified, other candidates closely matched the position's requirements.

This helps manage expectations and provides closure to the candidates' experience in the hiring process. Additionally, a well-crafted rejection letter communicates appreciation for the applicant's interest in the company and leaves the door open for potential consideration for future roles.

A template allows for the efficient customization of each rejection email to address the specific job applicant and the particular role they applied for, acknowledging their efforts in the job search and the value of their experience.

If you are seeking an online template to draft the rejection letter, use our pre-formatted and carefully drafted applicant rejection letter template. LegalZoom provides free templates that are simple to use. Just enter your responses to the questionnaire, complete the document, and download it for free.

Frequently asked questions

What's an applicant rejection letter?

Only one candidate can be hired into any open position, and it’s an excellent practice to respectfully inform other applicants that they were not chosen for a particular job. An applicant rejection letter lets them know in a way that’s courteous and direct.

How do you politely reject an applicant?

Thoughtless letters or ignored applications can hurt your company's reputation and business, as these job applicants can be your future employees or customers. Keep the door open for future openings with a well-drafted rejection letter. It helps lay the foundation for potential future business relationships. Draft and send a rejection letter to respectfully communicate the bad news to the job candidates. Show consideration for the job applicants, establishing a tone of mutual respect.

What are the benefits of using rejection letter templates?

Using a template to craft applicant rejection letters facilitates consistency and professionalism in communication during the hiring process. It acknowledges the efforts and skills of each job applicant while explaining the tough decision to move forward with another candidate whose qualifications closely align with the job requirements. This approach ensures fairness and leaves a positive impression, potentially paving the way for future opportunities with the company.

How do you write a rejection letter for an application?

To write an effective rejection letter, add the following information:

  • Who it's coming from: Have the business name and contact information ready
  • Who it's going to: Know who this document is going to and have their name and contact information ready
  • Interview date: Note the date you met with the applicant
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