How to Craft a Rejection Email That Leaves a Positive Impression

April 5, 2023
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Rejection emails are an inevitable part of the recruitment process, but that doesn't mean they have to leave a negative impact on the candidate. With a little thought and preparation, you can draft a rejection email that leaves the candidate feeling valued and encouraged. In this article, we will discuss the importance of a well-crafted rejection email, the key elements to include, and some common mistakes to avoid.

Understanding the Importance of a Well-Crafted Rejection Email

As a hiring manager, you know that one of the most difficult parts of the job is sending out rejection emails. It can be challenging to craft a message that is both empathetic and professional, while also providing valuable feedback. However, sending a well-crafted rejection email is crucial for several reasons.

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1: Your Company’s Reputation Depends on it

When you send a rejection email, you are representing your company. A well-written email can reflect positively on your organization, indicating that you value professionalism and communication. On the other hand, a poorly-written email can leave a negative impression on the candidate, who may share their experience with others. This can potentially harm your company's reputation and make it more difficult to attract top talent in the future.

By taking the time to craft a thoughtful rejection email, you can demonstrate that your company is committed to treating all candidates with respect and dignity.

2:  Your Relationship With Possible Future Hires

Just because a candidate wasn't the right fit for a particular role doesn't mean that they won't be a valuable asset in the future. By treating candidates with respect and providing valuable feedback, you can foster a positive relationship that may be beneficial down the line.

For example, if a candidate narrowly misses the mark for the desired position, you could encourage them to apply for other roles within your company. Alternatively, you could offer to keep their resume on file for future opportunities. By doing so, you can maintain a good rapport that can be beneficial for both parties.

3: Encouragement to Re-Apply

When you send a rejection email, you have an opportunity to encourage candidates to consider applying to your company again in the future. This can be especially valuable if you see potential in the candidate, but they weren't the right fit for the current role.

By offering words of encouragement and support, you can help candidates feel more confident in their job search. This can also help to establish your company as a desirable place to work, which can be beneficial for attracting top talent in the future.

Essentially, sending a well-crafted rejection email is an essential part of the hiring process. By taking the time to write a thoughtful message, you can demonstrate your company's commitment to professionalism, maintain positive relationships with candidates, and encourage future applications.

4 Key Elements of a Positive Rejection Email

Rejection emails can be tough to write, but they are a necessary part of the hiring process. When done correctly, a rejection email can leave a positive impression on the candidate and reflect well on your company. Here are some additional details to consider when composing a rejection email:

1. Personalization

Personalization is more than just addressing the candidate by their name. It's about acknowledging their unique skills and experience and how they could potentially fit into your organization. Consider adding a sentence or two that highlights a specific aspect of their application that impressed you. This will show the candidate that you genuinely considered their application and that they are not just another name on a list.

2. Empathy and Appreciation

Expressing empathy and appreciation can go a long way in softening the blow of rejection. Consider adding a sentence that acknowledges the effort and time the candidate invested in the application process. You could also thank them for their interest in your company and express your admiration for their skills and experience. This approach will help the candidate feel valued and respected, even in the face of rejection.

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

3. Constructive Feedback

Constructive feedback is an essential component of a well-rounded rejection email. However, it's important to be specific and avoid generic feedback that could come across as insincere. Consider highlighting a particular area where the candidate could improve and offer suggestions for how they could do so. Be sure to frame your feedback in a positive and encouraging way to help the candidate feel motivated to improve.

4. Encouragement for Future Opportunities

Ending your rejection email on a positive note is crucial. Consider adding a sentence that encourages the candidate to keep applying for roles that interest them. You could also suggest other opportunities within your company that might be a better fit for their skills and experience. This approach will help the candidate feel motivated to continue their job search and keep your company on their radar for future opportunities.

By incorporating these additional details into your rejection email, you can leave a positive impression on the candidate and reflect well on your company. Remember, rejection is never easy, but it's how you handle it that can make all the difference.

Crafting the Perfect Rejection Email

A well-structured rejection email should be clear in its purpose, empathetic in tone, and informative. Follow these steps to craft a rejection email that fits these criteria.

Clear & Concise Subject Lines

Begin your email with a concise and clear subject line that sets the tone for your message. Avoid ambiguous or generic phrases, and keep it simple, such as:

  • Job Application Status for Software Engineer at Tech Inc.
  • Decision on Administrative Assistant Role at ABC Ltd.
  • Thank You for Your Interest in Project Manager Position at XYZ Co.

Begin on a Positive Note

Start the body of your email by thanking the candidate for their interest in the position and your company. Acknowledge the effort they put into their application and mention any specific strengths or qualifications you found impressive.

For example, if the candidate had experience in a related field, you could say something like, "We were impressed by your extensive experience in [related field], and we appreciate the time and effort you put into your application."

TRY USING OUR Candidate Rejection email template

Write with Empathy

Take a straightforward yet empathetic approach when delivering the bad news. Use clear language to communicate that they were not selected for the role, and express your regret that you cannot move forward with their application.

For instance, you could say something like, "After careful consideration, we have decided not to move forward with your application at this time. We understand that this news may be disappointing, and we want to express our sincere regret that we cannot offer you the position."

Offer Actionable Feedback and Suggestions

Present your feedback in a way that is both informative and respectful. Be specific in your comments, focusing on areas where the candidate can improve or suggestions for better positioning themselves for future opportunities. Keep your feedback concise and actionable.

You could say something like, "While your qualifications and experience are impressive, we were looking for someone with more experience in [specific skill or area]. We encourage you to continue developing your skills in this area, as we believe it will be an asset to your future job search."

End with Encouragement and Well-Wishes

Close your rejection email with encouragement for the candidate's future job search. If appropriate, invite them to apply for other positions within your company or keep their contact information on file for future opportunities. Wish them well in their search and thank them again for their interest in your organization.

You can go with something like, "We wish you the best of luck in your job search and encourage you to keep pursuing your career goals. We will keep your contact information on file for future opportunities that may be a better fit for your skills and experience."

Remember, a rejection email can be a valuable opportunity to build relationships with candidates and leave a positive impression on your company. By following these steps, you can craft a rejection email that is both informative and empathetic, and helps candidates feel respected and valued. Learn how implementing ChatGPT recruitment can help you craft rejection emails faster and more efficiently with this guide.

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Common Mistakes to Avoid in Rejection Emails

While crafting your rejection email, it's essential to be aware of common pitfalls that can detract from the message's effectiveness and leave a negative impression on the candidate. However, rejection emails don't have to be all doom and gloom. In fact, they can be an opportunity to build a positive relationship with candidates and leave them with a good impression of your company.

Using Generic Templates

Avoid relying on generic templates that lack personalization and make the candidate feel like they're just another number. Take the time to personalize your message, address the candidate by their name, and incorporate specific details about their qualifications or application. This shows the candidate that you value their time and effort in applying for the position and that you recognize them as an individual.

For example, you could mention specific skills or experiences that impressed you, even if they weren't quite what you were looking for. This can help the candidate understand what they did well and what they can build on for future applications.

Delaying the Response

It's crucial to send the rejection email promptly after the decision has been made. Delaying the response can leave the candidate in limbo and create frustration. Aim to send the rejection email within a reasonable timeframe after the interview or application deadline.

However, if you do need to delay the response for any reason, it's important to communicate this clearly to the candidate. Let them know when they can expect to hear back from you and why there is a delay. This shows that you respect their time and effort and are committed to keeping them informed.

Providing False Hope or Vague Feedback

Be honest and clear in your feedback to avoid giving false hope or creating confusion. Use precise language to communicate the reasons for the rejection and provide actionable guidance for improvement. Avoid using generic or vague language that doesn't offer the candidate valuable insights.

Instead of saying "we found a more qualified candidate," you could explain what specific qualifications the other candidate had that the rejected candidate didn't. This can help the candidate understand what they need to work on for future applications.

Focusing Solely on the Negative Aspects

Balance your critiques with positive comments that recognize the candidate's strengths and achievements. Focusing exclusively on the negative can leave the candidate feeling discouraged, while providing a balanced perspective can help cushion the blow of rejection and motivate them to continue their job search with optimism.

For example, you could mention how impressed you were with the candidate's communication skills or their ability to work well under pressure. This can help the candidate understand that they have valuable skills and experiences that will serve them well in their future career.

Automating Sending with ATS

When it comes to connecting with candidates and keeping them posted, an ATS can help you push out emails to a high volume of recipients smoothly with its mass email function.

As over 44% of candidates can be waiting for a response from recruiters regarding their hiring progress for two weeks, and 15% of them can wait for months to receive feedback, leaving them hanging wouldn't provide a positive impression. With Manatal ATS, you can quickly select recipients, craft emails, and push out your campaigns within just a few clicks.

You can also customize your email template in various styles. Save it, and re-use it as many times as you'd like. From first contact, follow-up, interview schedule, to offer letter or rejection letter, and more. Moreover, Manatal tracks unsubscriptions and automatically updates opt-in status to ensure that your emails are always delivered to the right recipients.

RELATED: Post-Interview Rejection email template

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, crafting a rejection email that leaves a positive impression is a combination of empathy, personalization, and valuable feedback. By following the guidelines outlined above and avoiding common mistakes, you can foster a respectful and positive relationship with candidates while maintaining your company's reputation and encouraging future applications. Remember, rejection doesn't have to be the end of the road for candidates - it can be an opportunity for growth and improvement.

Start a 14-day free trial with Manatal today and discover how its innovative features can efficiently guide you through the recruitment process while helping you connect with candidates, smoothly deliver rejection emails, and leave a positive impression 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
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!
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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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