Keeping in mind that every communication made on behalf of your organization makes an impact on its perception to others, HR professionals should take extra care when communicating with unsuccessful applicants after an interview process. Sending out rejections is often the last step of the recruitment process for busy hiring managers; however, it is important to take this opportunity to build goodwill with the candidates and leave them with a good impression of your company via the rejection letter.
• Keep it timely. Send the rejection letter within a reasonable amount of time after you have determined the candidate will not be hired. Candidates appreciate not being left wondering for weeks whether they will be offered the job.
• Be direct, but gracious. Begin the letter by warmly thanking the candidate for considering your organization for their next career move. Then get right to the point, remembering to extend a compliment, if you can. For instance, “While your background and qualifications are quite impressive, we have selected another candidate for the position.”
• Remain neutral. It is safer, legally speaking, to give a non-specific reason for the decision not to hire. And if it was difficult decision to make, communicate that to the candidate as well to help soften the blow of the bad news they are receiving. An example, “We have extended an offer to an applicant whose credentials are better suited for the role. It was a difficult decision.”
• Personalize it. Avoid sending what appears to be a form rejection letter by including the candidate’s name, the title of the role they applied for, and date of the interview. Your signature is a nice touch as well.
• Leave the door open. If you feel the candidate might be a good cultural fit for your company, encourage them to apply for other roles that come available in the future.
• Wish them well. End the letter on a positive note by thanking the candidate for their time and wishing them success in their job search.
The rejected candidate is going to be disappointed no matter how you deliver the news to them. A well-written rejection letter represents a true reflection of your organization’s culture and the candidate will remember the positive experience they had with you.
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