If applicants are not considered for a vacancy, it is good manners to politely thank them for their application and give reasons for the rejection. Applicants have put a lot of time and effort into their applications, so you should also take a little time to give feedback. This will leave a lasting impression on candidates. This will positively impact both their candidate experience and your company’s employer brand. And who knows, maybe the one or other talent of the future is still hiding among the rejected applicants.
We have provided sample templates and tips to help you formulate individual rejection letters:
Sample rejection letter templates:
The following sample templates should serve as a guide for you to correctly reject applications. Please always make sure to formulate letters that are as individual as possible. In this way, you show “unfortunately-no” candidates that you are pleased with their application and that you have taken it seriously. This is how you strengthen your employer brand . In addition, this increases the likelihood that candidates will reapply for a vacancy and report positively on the application process at your company.
Rejection letter of a speculative application
Dear Sir Max Mustermann ,
Thank you very much for your initiative and your application.
We have checked all possibilities of employment, in the eligible areas of our company. We regret to inform you that we are unable to offer you a position that fits your profile at this time.
However, this may change soon. Therefore, we invite you to regularly visit our career site and keep an eye out for suitable job offers.
Rejection of an unsolicited application
Dear Sir Max Mustermann ,
Thank you for your patience and hard work in preparing the application documents.
We have thoroughly examined many applicants and have come to the conclusion that we unfortunately have to reject you this time. Unfortunately, other applicants meet our requirements even better.
As you might be an ideal fit for our team in another role, we would still like to ask you to keep an eye on our career portal. We are always on the lookout for ambitious talent and are constantly advertising new positions that could be a good fit for you.
Rejection of application after interview
Dear Max sample man ,
Thank you very much for the interesting interview and the time you took.
As you have already been shortlisted and have made a good impression on us, the decision was particularly difficult for us. In the end, however, we unfortunately had to choose someone else.
Sometimes it is only nuances that make the difference in a decision. In this case, a competitor was a small step ahead of you. We kindly ask you not to take this as a negative evaluation of your abilities or person and thank you for the confidence you have placed in us.
We would be very happy to consider you for future vacancies and keep your application on file. Since personal data is subject to the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and we are obliged to remove it after the purpose of its processing has been fulfilled, we need your consent to do so. The data would be stored by us until the end of an extended retention period of [period]. A correction or deletion would be possible at any time. If you would like to agree to these terms, please confirm by clicking on this link [confirmation link].
Regardless of your decision, we wish you all the best in your future career and hope to find an opportunity to work with you in the future.
Sample wording for rejection letters:
Regardless of whether you write the rejection letter after receiving the application or in the middle of the application process: Compose a message as personal as possible!
Avoid mass messages and standard phrases. If feasible, give reasons for your decision. The further applicants have progressed in the recruiting process, the more important it is to provide an individual explanation as to why it was not enough for a position in the end. In spite of everything, these formulations are suitable. However, we recommend to adapt and individualize it depending on the circumstances.
1. Speak to the candidate personally:
Instead of “Dear applicant"You should contact the candidates personally "Dear Mr./Mrs. XY". In this way, you show from the beginning that you have dealt with the application documents.
2. Thank you for the application:
After the personal address, you should thank the candidate for applying and emphasize that you appreciate the time and effort that candidates have already invested. You could formulate this as follows:
"Thank you very much for your application and the effort you have put into it."
"Thank you very much for your interest in our company and the advertised position. We were very happy to receive your application and thank you for the effort you have made."
3. When explaining the reasons, be sure to address the candidate individually:
If possible, tell applicants individually why they were unfortunately not suitable for a certain position:
"After reviewing all applications, we unfortunately found that other applicants better meet our requirements."
"Although your application documents are promising and you were able to convince us of your sincere interest in working for our company, we regret to have to inform you that we have not shortlisted your application."
"With a lot of applications, it’s often the little things that make all the difference. Therefore, we regret to inform you that we were unable to shortlist your application."
4. Stay in touch with promising candidates:
Applicants were shortlisted or impressed you with their qualifications? Then communicate that too. Tell candidates that you were impressed with their skills and would like to stay in touch with them.
"Especially point XY has particularly convinced us / particularly liked / particularly impressed us in your application. Therefore, we would like to stay in contact with you."
"We particularly liked your expressive / detailed / interesting / accurate application. Therefore, we would like to remain in contact with you."
"We would be very pleased if you would apply for a job that suits you in the future."
"Should a position appeal to you in the future, we would be very pleased to receive another application from you."
"Please do not hesitate to reapply if you discover a suitable position."
5. Revise pre-written messages:
Certain sections of text, such as the thank you note for the application, do not change. Nonetheless, you should also Regularly check standard phrases and revise if necessary. For example, if candidates apply to your company several times in short intervals, they will not receive identical rejection letters.
6. Conclude the rejection with a positive ending:
End the rejection letter with another thank you note or emphasize that you would be happy to receive another application in the future:
"Thank you again for your application and your interest in our company XY and we wish you all the best and much success for your future life path."
"Thank you for your interest and your application. We look forward to hearing from you again in the future and wish you good luck and all the best until then."
"We hope your interest in our company XY remains despite this rejection. We wish you all the best and much success in the future!"
5 Tips for a top-notch job application rejection:
Last but not least, we would like to share the following tips with you. They should help you to leave a good impression despite a rejection:
1. Be honest:
Give your applicants open feedback and justify your decision. The candidates will thank you. This will help them know what they can do better at the next interview.
2. Pay attention to timing:
As a company, it is important to react quickly not only to an acceptance, but also to a rejection. Candidates are finally waiting for your response! Long wait times can be frustrating, which further increases the risk that the best talent will end up choosing another employer.
3. Keep an eye on candidates even after they have been rejected:
It is not uncommon to receive promising applications from qualified candidates to whom you cannot offer a suitable position at the time. Inform these applicants about your interest and communicate that you would like to stay in contact with them. A personal call can be a good basis for future cooperation. In this way, you build up a talent pool with the best talents, from which you can profit at a later point in time.
4. Be authentic:
To be perceived positively as an employer, be authentic. It is particularly important to approach applicants individually and to explain to them why they are not suitable for a certain position.
5. Leave a positive impression:
A pre-written rejection letter sent as a mass message to candidates does not leave a good impression. Therefore, pay attention to personal messages and write them individually. By doing so, you show that you are a professional employer who takes time to consider each application. This again pays dividends to your employer brand and the external perception of your company.
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Pay attention to the wording of rejection letters by responding individually to each applicant. If possible, give reasons for your decision and meet candidates with appreciation and at eye level. With a polite and well-worded rejection, you not only positively influence your employer brand. At the same time, you ensure that applicants will remember your company positively and may apply again in the future.