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Hiring Authorities: Use Rejection to Improve the Candidate Experience

on Sat, 08/25/2012 - 22:40

Many Candidates feel hopeless in their job search efforts because of the black-hole syndrome.  Candidates think when they apply to a job via the internet that there is a very good chance they are sending their resume into the abyss.  It is easy to understand how a candidate can become despondent when time after time they apply to a position and never hear back from the employer.  This is the rare case when ‘no news is good news’ is not true. I have had candidates thank me for sending them a rejection email because at least they know they are not being considered and can stop wondering if the company received their application.  A rejection gives the candidate the dignity to bring closure to an effort that they put out.   

The key to sending a successful rejection email is to be brief, generic and gracious. 

Sample Generic rejection for those that applied to the position but are not a match:

Thank you for applying to our Marketing Coordinator position of employment. Currently, we have identified other candidates for this position. However, we will retain your resume and cross reference your skill set for other opportunities as they arise.

Again, thank you for your interest in employment with Company XYZ.




Company XYZ


You will want to use a different outgoing signature so as not to include your phone number.  Your phone number may tempt candidates to call you and ask why they were not selected. Never reveal specifics to a candidate as to why you did not select him/her. 

Sample Personalized rejection for those candidates that you spoke with via phone and/or in person:

Hi Ivan,

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me recently about the position opening of Web Designer for our I.T. Department. While you possess many excellent qualities we have decided to move forward with other candidates that have a slightly stronger set of skills for this role.  

We appreciate the time that you have invested with us concerning this opportunity and will keep you in mind for other suitable opportunities as they arise.


It is ok to sign off with your full contact information on the personalized rejection but if the candidate reaches out to you it still holds true to not reveal specifics as to why you did not select this candidate. 

Even if you have no intention of ever working with the candidate in the future you want to leave a lasting positive impression.  Treat candidates as if they are clients that use your product or service.  No matter the size of the corporation you will want to have as positive an image as possible with the overall public.  To get a glimpse into your company’s reputation visit Glassdoor, Yelp, Twitter or a number of social networks where people feel free to express their opinion. 

A rejection email is a fast and efficient means of letting candidates know that you appreciate them for taking the time to show interest in your company.