The way your company interacts with job applicants is important, even applicants that don’t end up getting hired at the end of an application process. Sending a rejection letter to job seekers who were not chosen for the position is an extra, yet constructive step your business can take to create goodwill with applicants and foster an overall positive reputation.

Any reputation is built one step at a time, and a good reputation is a big advantage when it comes to your company’s ability to attract the best and brightest. Job seekers make decisions about your business partly based on how they are treated and formally notifying them of your hiring decisions is a way to earn respect. Even a rejection letter is better than hearing nothing at all, in the eyes of most job seekers.

Because you are essentially delivering bad news, it’s important you get your rejection letter right. Consider the following tips on how to craft a good rejection letter.

Make it personal

If an applicant didn’t make it past the application screening process, it probably isn’t necessary to send them a personalized rejection letter. If an applicant doesn’t make it past the phone interview, a personalized rejection letter is going above and beyond what is expected, but unneeded.

Once an applicant makes it to the in-person interview, a personalized rejection letter is what is expected. Think about it: The applicant has invested a lot of time, effort and possibly money in the process, and the least you can do is not send an impersonal form letter.

A personalized letter should include the candidate’s name, the position they were seeking and a kind word or two about their performance, as well as the specific reason they didn’t get the job.

Be gracious, but get to the point

The typical applicant has probably been waiting weeks to find out if they will get hired for this job. It’s common courtesy to not make them wait any longer.

While it’s important to rip the Band-Aid off as quickly as possible, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be sympathetic. A “thanks, but no thanks” approach is a good rule of thumb: Express your gratitude for the time and effort the candidate put into the process, but say they aren’t the right fit for this job at this time.

Build a bridge to the future

If you think the applicant would be eligible for other roles in your business and they seemed to also fit your culture, you can also tell them to apply again down the road. Always end your applicant rejection letters on an upbeat note and wish them success in the future.

Need help hiring?

At Cornerstone, we assist our clients with various aspects of the hiring process, so they can put more focus on their core business activities. Please contact us today to find out how we can help your company.

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