Saying no to a great candidate be one of the most difficult tasks for a hiring manager or recruiter, but it's important to promptly deliver a candidate rejection email after an interview.

In doing so, it's critical to remain professional and compassionate when delivering news that may have an emotional effect on the candidate. In this blog post, we’ll share how to send a candidate rejection email after an interview and how to avoid common mistakes.

What is a Candidate Rejection Email and Why is it Important?

When you've been through the interview process and have finally made a decision on who to hire, it's time to send out rejections to the candidates you interviewed who didn't make the cut. Rejection emails can be tough to write, but it's important to do so in a way that is respectful and considerate of the candidate's time and effort.

Rejection emails should always be sent promptly after a decision has been made, and they should be clear and concise in their explanation of why the candidate was not chosen.

Rejection emails can often come across as cold or impersonal, so it's important to avoid common mistakes like these when writing yours. First, resist the urge to copy and paste generic phrases into your email - take the time to personalize each message. Second, don't try to soften the blow by making false promises or offering vague platitudes - simply state that the candidate was not selected for the role. Finally, avoid using "we" statements throughout the email - this can make it sound like you're passing the blame onto someone else.

By following these tips, you can write a compassionate rejection email that respects the time and effort of every candidate you've interviewed.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Sending a Candidate Rejection Email

When sending a rejection email, it is important to avoid common mistakes that can come off as unprofessional or hurtful. Some common mistakes to avoid include:

1. Sending a generic rejection email, or an email that's obviously autogenerated from a "do-not-reply" email address. Generic rejection emails are often impersonal and can come across as cold or uncaring. If a candidate has made it through several rounds of interviews, presented an assignment to your team, and has spent ample time preparing - receiving an automatic email can be disappointing, to say the least.

2. Badmouthing the candidate or their qualifications. This is unprofessional and unnecessary, and will only serve to damage your reputation.

3. Making promises you cannot keep. For example, do not promise the candidate that you will keep their resume on file for future openings if you do not intend to do so.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can send a compassionate rejection email that conveys your professionalism and respect for the candidate.

The Tone of a Compassionate Candidate Rejection Email

It's important to be compassionate in your candidate rejection email so that the recipient doesn't feel like they wasted their time, but it's also important to avoid common mistakes that can leave a bad taste in the candidate's mouth.

Here are some tips for how to craft a compassionate rejection email:

1. Be direct and honest in your language. Candidates appreciate straight-forwardness, and while it may be tempting to sugar-coat your feedback, doing so will only leave the candidate feeling misled.

2. Thank the candidate for their time and effort. Even if they weren't the right fit for the role, they took time out of their day to speak with you and it's important to acknowledge that.

3. Keep it short and sweet. Candidate rejection emails don't need to be long - just a few sentences will suffice. The more concise you can be, the better!

Examples of Compassionate Candidate Rejection Emails

Compassionate rejection emails are those that let the applicant know that they were not selected for the position, while also offering some words of encouragement.

First, avoid using generic phrases like "we regret to inform you" or "unfortunately." These phrases offer no real information and can come across as cold and impersonal. Instead, start by thanking the applicant for their time and effort. This shows that you appreciate them taking the time to interview with you, even if they weren't ultimately selected for the role.

Next, give a brief overview of why they were not selected. Again, try to avoid generic phrases and instead focus on specific aspects of their qualifications or experience that didn't align with what you are looking for in this particular role. This will help the applicant understand your decision and potentially use this feedback to improve their candidacy in future opportunities.

Finally, finish strong by again expressing your appreciation for their time and effort and wishing them well in their job search. If you especially had a great connection with your candidate and you have any recommendations for other roles they might be a fit for, feel free to include those as well. By ending on a positive note, you leave the door open for future interactions down the road.

Here's an example Candidate Rejection email that incorporates these tips: 

Dear [Candidate Name],

I wanted to personally thank you for taking the time to interview for the [Position] role at [Company Name]. We appreciate the effort you put into preparing for the interview and the time you spent speaking with our team.

After careful consideration, we have decided to move forward with another candidate whose skills and experience more closely match the needs of the role. While we were impressed with your background and qualifications, we have decided to move in a different direction.

I regret that we won't be moving forward with you at this time, but I want to emphasize that it was a pleasure to meet you and learn about your background and experience. I wish you the very best in your future endeavors, and I hope that our paths cross again in the future.


[Your Name]

Conclusion on Candidate Rejection Emails

Sending a candidate rejection email after an interview is never easy, but it can be done in a way that shows respect and compassion. By following the tips outlined in this post, you can ensure that candidates are treated with dignity throughout the process and know exactly why they were not chosen for the role. Remember to always thank them for their time – even if they ultimately weren't the right fit!