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Rejecting a Candidate for a Role? Here’s How to do it the Right Way.

Although a relatively short process, rejecting a candidate from a role after a short while after interview takes some professionalism, courtesy, and diligence. A bad rejection method can result in a negative reputation about your company, its culture, and can even damage your company brand.

Remember, a candidate is part of your industry and word of mouth spreads quickly, especially if they didn’t take the rejection well. Plus, it’s always important to maintain a relationship with a skilled candidate for a future hire. Just because they were turned down for one role, doesn’t mean you can’t contact them in the future for a more suitable one.

So, when the time comes to reject a candidate be courteous, diplomatic, and responsive.

According to, when the call comes from a client or an executive naming their choice for a role, let the candidate (s) know as soon as possible. After all, it can be stressful process with hopes of a new role on the horizon. Informing them that they didn’t get the role means they can simply move on to other endeavors.  Also, in some cases, it’s more appropriate and professional to take a few minutes do it over the phone, especially if it was a long multi-interview process.  Be respectful, talk to them, and break the news in a gracious way.

Even though hiring managers receive dozens of resumes for one position, they should be as courteous as possible to all applicants before moving to the next round of interviews. This means reaching out those who were not selected. A common practice is a rejection email template. These not only save time, but it also lets the applicant know that they were not selected for the position.

In fact, according to a survey conducted by Indeed, “44 percent of candidates said they waited up to two weeks for a response, while 15 percent waited months. Additionally, “55 percent revealed the digital hiring process has made the experience more inefficient and their resume seems to disappear.”

Choosing your words carefully and being kind and considerate is always essential to ensure the applicant will still have a positive perception of your company. Indeed suggests some of the following tips to create an effective, yet positive rejection email template:

  • Be Polite
    First off, always being polite. Saying “thank-you for their interest in your company, the time they spent completing an application, and the efforts made for the interview (if applicable) is always important.  While courteous, it also demonstrates that you value an applicant’s time.


  • Make it More Personal
    It’s true that a rejection email template can be a little cold or too general. So, Indeed suggests including the applicant’s name, the title of position they applied, a note relating to a previous conversation, and mention a specific positive attributes (s) to their skills.


  • Suggest Applying for Another Role in the Company
    In the event a candidate was turned down for the desired role, yet they would have been a good fit for the company with their skills, let them know in a simple sentence. There are many reasons why an applicant doesn’t get hired. So, you may want to encourage them to apply for other opportunities in the future and keep their resume and contact information in your data base.

Rejecting an applicant doesn’t have to be a difficult or pessimistic experience. Regardless of the method you do choose, being courteous, diligent and professional is the best way to avoid any hardship or resentment towards you and your company.

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