10 Tips for Writing a Professional Rejection Email After an Interview

April 5, 2023
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Writing a professional rejection email after an interview can be a challenging task. You want to convey the news while maintaining a positive relationship with the candidate. Here are ten tips that will help you write a rejection email that is both professional and empathetic.

Maintaining a positive company image

A well-crafted rejection email will not only show respect for the candidate but also uphold your company's reputation. A professional email reflects a company that values candor and compassion in its communications.

How to Craft a Rejection Email That Leaves a Positive Impression

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1. Collecting Key Information

Before writing the email, take some time to gather the necessary information to ensure you have a solid understanding of the candidate and their strengths and weaknesses.

Review the candidate's application and interview notes

Revisit the candidate's application materials and any interview notes you or your colleagues took. By doing so, you can demonstrate a thorough understanding of their background and help personalize the rejection email.

While reviewing the candidate's application, take note of any standout accomplishments or experiences that impressed you. Mentioning these in the rejection email can help the candidate feel valued and appreciated, even if they didn't get the job.

Moreover, reviewing interview notes can help you identify any areas where the candidate may have struggled or where they excelled. This information can be used to provide constructive feedback in the rejection email.

Identifying key points to address in the email

Pinpoint the main reasons for the rejection and determine whether this information should be shared in the email. It's essential not to provide too much detail, but offering constructive feedback can help the candidate improve in future interviews.

When providing feedback, be specific and offer suggestions for improvement. For example, if the candidate struggled with answering behavioral questions, suggest that they practice answering common interview questions with a friend or family member.

It's also important to be empathetic in the rejection email. Receiving a rejection can be tough, and acknowledging the candidate's efforts and thanking them for their time can go a long way in maintaining a positive relationship.

Remember, rejection is a natural part of the job search process, and it's important to handle it with professionalism and kindness. You can help the candidate feel respected and valued, even if they didn't get the job by taking the time to prepare a thoughtful rejection email.

YOU MIGHT LIKE: Candidate Rejection email template

3. The Subject Line

The subject line of an email is like the cover of a book - it's the first thing that the recipient sees, and it can make or break their interest in reading further. Therefore, it's crucial to provide clarity at a glance while setting the appropriate tone.

Avoiding ambiguity

Avoid using ambiguous or misleading subject lines, as this can create confusion or false expectations. For example, if you're emailing a candidate to schedule an interview, make sure to include the word "interview" in the subject line. Similarly, if you're emailing a candidate to inform them of a hiring decision, make sure to include the word "decision" in the subject line. This will help the candidate understand the purpose of the email and respond accordingly.

Setting the tone for the email

The subject line should be transparent but respectful, as it sets the tone for the overall email. Avoid using overly negative phrases that may lead the candidate to feel dejected. For example, instead of using a subject line like "We regret to inform you," try something like "An update on your application." This conveys the same information in a more neutral and less discouraging way.

It's also important to keep in mind the relationship you have with the recipient. If you're emailing a colleague or someone you have a good rapport with, you may be able to use a more casual or playful tone in the subject line. However, if you're emailing someone you don't know well or someone in a position of authority, it's best to err on the side of formality.

4. Acknowledging the Candidate's Effort and Time Spent

It's important to acknowledge the time and effort the candidate has invested in the application and interview process, which demonstrates your appreciation of their interest in your company.

Here are some examples you can take as guidelines.

"Thank you for taking the time to apply for the position and for participating in the interview process. We understand the amount of work that goes into preparing for an interview, and we appreciate the effort you put forth." or "We want to acknowledge the interview process and how it can be a nerve-wracking experience. We appreciate your willingness to participate in the interview and for being open and honest with your responses.

Showing appreciation for their interest in the company

"We want to express our gratitude for your interest in our company. Although we have decided to move forward with other candidates, we want you to know that we value your interest in our company and appreciate the time and effort you put into the application and interview process.

We encourage you to continue pursuing your career goals and wish you all the best in your future endeavors."

5. Delivering the Rejection News Tactfully

The most challenging part of writing a rejection email is delivering the news itself. It's essential to strike the right tone to minimize disappointment while maintaining professionalism.

While it may be tempting to simply write a short and straightforward message, taking the time to craft a thoughtful and empathetic response can go a long way in preserving the candidate's self-esteem and reputation.

Politeness and Respect

When writing a rejection email, it's important to choose your words carefully. Use polite and respectful language and try to empathize with the candidate's feelings. Acknowledge the effort and time they put into their application and express your gratitude for their interest in the position.

For example, you could start the email by saying something like, "Thank you for taking the time to apply for the position. We appreciate your interest in our company and the effort you put into your application."

Avoiding overly negative phrases

When delivering the news, avoid focusing on flaws or weaknesses. Instead, emphasize that the decision was difficult and that there were many qualified candidates, including the recipient. This can help soften the blow and minimize any negative feelings.

For example, you could say something like, "We received many strong applications, and the decision was difficult. Unfortunately, we have decided to move forward with other candidates at this time."

Remember, delivering rejection news is never easy, but taking the time to craft a thoughtful and empathetic response can make a significant difference in the candidate's experience and perception of your company.

LEARN MORE: 3 things to consider before hitting “send” on that rejection email

6. Constructive Feedback

If appropriate, provide thoughtful feedback to the candidate, which can help them grow professionally and eliminate any lingering confusion about the rejection.

Providing constructive feedback is an essential part of the hiring process. It not only helps the candidate understand why they were not selected but also gives them valuable insights into their strengths and areas where they can improve.

Highlighting strengths

Begin by mentioning the candidate's strengths and what impressed you during the interview process. This reinforces their positive attributes and helps soften the impact of the rejection. It also shows that you recognize their potential and value their skills and experience.

You could say something like, "We were impressed with your excellent communication skills and your ability to work well in a team. Your experience in project management was also impressive, and we appreciate the insights you shared during the interview."

Offering suggestions for improvement

Gently share any areas where the candidate could improve or develop further to be considered for future opportunities. Be specific but frame your suggestions positively and constructively. Remember to focus on the future and offer suggestions for improvement rather than dwelling on the past.

For example, you can go with something along the line of, "While your experience in project management was impressive, we noticed that you could benefit from further developing your leadership skills. We suggest that you consider taking a leadership course or seeking out a mentor to help you develop in this area. This will help you become an even stronger candidate for future opportunities."

Remember that providing constructive feedback is not only beneficial for the candidate but also for the company. It helps to build a positive reputation and shows that you value your candidates and their professional growth.

7. Encouraging the Candidate to Apply in the Future

Certain candidates might not be the perfect fit for your open roles this time, or you had to choose between multiple candidates that were all equally suited. They might be the right talent for other roles that will open up in the future. So, it is important to encourage them to try for other opportunities at your company in the future.

Here is an example of a message that you can incorporate:

“While we have decided to move forward with other candidates at this time, we encourage you to consider applying for other positions within our organization. Your qualifications and experience may be better suited to a different role, and we would love to have the opportunity to work with you in the future."

Mentioning potential openings

"As a growing company, we are constantly seeking talented individuals to join our team. We encourage you to keep an eye on our job board for any potential job openings that may interest you. Additionally, we would be happy to keep your resume on file for future consideration."

Recommending networking opportunities

"We understand that finding the right job can be challenging, and we want to support you in any way we can. We offer a variety of networking events and resources that can help you become more familiar with our organization and its opportunities. Our career fairs, mentorship programs, and online networking groups are just a few examples of the resources we offer to help you succeed.

Thank you again for your interest in our organization. We wish you all the best in your job search and hope to have the opportunity to work with you in the future.

Sincerely,

The Hiring Team"

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8. Closing the Email Professionally

Your closing paragraph should reiterate your appreciation for the candidate's efforts and provide contact information for any follow-up questions.

Reiterating appreciation

Thank the candidate once again for their interest in your company and their time spent during the interview process, helping to reinforce a positive message throughout the email.

Providing contact information for follow-up questions

Provide a contact email or phone number for the candidate in case they have any additional questions or concerns, which demonstrates continued professionalism and respect for their needs.

9. Proofreading and Editing the Email

Before sending the rejection email, carefully review and edit the content to ensure clarity, accuracy, and professionalism.

Ensuring proper grammar and spelling

Proofread the email for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. A polished email that is free of mistakes will reflect your competency and professionalism.

Double-checking the tone and content

Read the email aloud to ensure the tone is both professional and empathetic. Edit any language or phrasing that may come across as harsh or overly critical.

10. Sending the Email in a Timely Manner

Finally, it's important to send the rejection email promptly after the decision has been made, as this demonstrates respect for the candidate's time and allows them to move forward in their job search.

Avoiding unnecessary delays

Don't put off sending the rejection email. Candidates will appreciate timely communication, even if the news is disappointing.

Demonstrating respect for the candidate's time

By sending the email promptly, you show that you value the candidate's time and understand the challenges of job searching. This consideration helps reinforce a positive image of your company, even in the face of rejection.

Streamlining Your Recruitment Emails with Manatal

It is fair to say that writing a rejection email takes time and effort. For recruiters that handling many responsibilities at once, it could be hard for them to focus on crafting a high-quality email and push the hiring process forward. An AI-driven Applicant Tracking System (ATS) like Manatal can come in and end this problem.

Manatal is packed with the ability to automate tasks like applicant screening and backlogging. The recruitment platform also consolidates the hiring funnel into a single dashboard, making it easy to track and manage the progress.

When it comes to crafting high-quality emails, Manatal has 100+ ready-to-use email templates, for you as guidelines. This includes referrals emails, general HR emails, job offer emails, recruiting emails, as well as rejection emails, and more.

You'll be able to organize your emailing campaign and push out your message in bulk without having to worry about any missing recipients. With Manatal's mass emailing feature, your recipient list will be easily organized in folders. You can simply select recipients, write an email, and send them out quickly.

In addition to that, Manatal automatically tracks un-subscriptions and updates opt-in status to help ensure that your emails are always landing on the right recipients.

YOU MIGHT LIKE: Post-Interview Rejection email template

Final Thoughts

Writing a professional rejection email after an interview can be a delicate task, but by following these ten tips, you can ensure your message is respectful, compassionate, and professional. Maintain an open line of communication with rejected candidates to leave the possibility for future opportunities within your organization and foster a positive reputation in the job market.

Start a 14-day free trial with Manatal now and learn how its cloud-based recruitment solution can help you manage your hiring process while enabling you to craft a professional rejection email within a few clicks.

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Manatal is a sophisticated, easy-to-use, mobile-friendly, and cloud-based applicant tracking system that helps companies achieve digitalization and seamless integration to Linkedin and other job boards. The team at Manatal is very supportive, helpful, prompt in their replies and we were pleased to see that the support they offer exceeded our expectations.
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International Director - JB Hired
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HR Manager, Talent Sourcing & Acquisition - Suntory PepsiCo Beverage
I am using Manatal for talent sourcing and it is the best platform ever. I am so impressed, the Manatal team did an excellent work. This is so much awesome, I am recommending the solution to all recruiters I know.
Bill Twinning
Talent Resources & Development Director - Charoen Pokphand Group
Manatal is the best ATS we worked with. Simplicity, efficency and the latest technologies combined make it an indispensable tool for any large-scale HR team. Since its adoption, we've seen a huge increase across all our key recruitment metrics. To summarize. it is a must-have.
Ahmed Firdaus
Director - MRINetwork, Executive Search Firm
I've been using Manatal for the past couple of months and the platform is excellent, user-friendly and it has helped me a lot in my recruitment process, operation and database management. I'm very happy with their great support. whenever I asked something they come back to me within minutes.
Dina Demajo
Senior Talent Acquisition - Manpower Group
Manpower has been using Manatal and we couldn't be happier as a team with the services this platform has provided. The application is extremely user-friendly and very well equipped with all the useful functions one would required for successful requirement. The support team is also excellent with very fast response time.
Kevin Martin
Human Resources Manager - Oakwood
Manatal is a sophisticated, easy-to-use, mobile-friendly, and cloud-based applicant tracking system that helps companies achieve digitalization and seamless integration to Linkedin and other job boards. The team at Manatal is very supportive, helpful, prompt in their replies and we were pleased to see that the support they offer exceeded our expectations.
Maxime Ferreira
International Director - JB Hired
Manatal has been at the core of our agency's expansion. Using it has greatly improved and simplified our recruitment processes. Incredibly easy and intuitive to use, customizable to a tee, and offers top-tier live support. Our recruiters love it. A must-have for all recruitment agencies. Definitely recommend!
Ngoc-Thinh Tran
HR Manager, Talent Sourcing & Acquisition - Suntory PepsiCo Beverage
I am using Manatal for talent sourcing and it is the best platform ever. I am so impressed, the Manatal team did an excellent work. This is so much awesome, I am recommending the solution to all recruiters I know.

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