What is a candidate rejection email?

A candidate rejection email or a candidate rejection letter is a professional courtesy extended from a recruiter’s end to job seekers who were not found to be the right fit for particular positions — after submitting their applications or attending interviews.

Sending a candidate rejection email is never the wrong option -  stop thinking and send it off, no matter what. It is important for candidates to know if they have not been able to clear the interview process. Don’t keep them biting their nails for too long. An email from you ensures they know where they stand in the process and helps them prepare for the next. It also builds a sense of goodwill for your company.

Worse luck, several organizations see sending a candidate rejection letter or email as an unnecessary step in their hiring process and forget to send a candidate rejection email. However, for those candidates eagerly waiting to hear from you, it would mean so much.

Candidate Rejection Email Candidate Rejection Email

Why you shouldn’t ignore sending a candidate rejection email

Explaining why you are rejecting candidates is never a bad idea. We’ll tell you why. A well-drafted email to your rejected candidates shows that you value the time and effort they took to apply for a job in your organization. In fact, it can help build and sustain a lasting relationship with those candidates. There are three cases that might happen:

However, if you know you won't be reconsidering a candidate in the future, it's best to be honest and avoid alluding to potential prospects. In addition, including a brief personal comment (such as ‘best of luck with your X project' or ‘best of luck with your future endeavors') will boost the likelihood of making you look like a nice person.

How to write the perfect candidate rejection email

A perfect candidate rejection email can help any recruiter do the following:

How to write a candidate rejection email that will not only let candidates know the sad news (for them it sure is!) but also create a good impression about your company? How do you politely reject a candidate through a candidate rejection letter or email? Follow these steps.


1. Thank the applicant

Start your email stating how you value the applicant’s interest in your company and the open position, the time and effort they put into going through your hiring process. Thank the applicant explicitly.


2. Give the news

It’s time to break the news. Be a bit careful while framing your sentences. Try suffixing the news with a crisp one-line reason. Warning: don’t beat around the bush. 

In the busy lives of recruiters, it is understandable that they may not have given much thought to how to reject candidates but you need to spend some time drafting thoughtful yet direct messages to them. 


3. Explain the reason behind the rejection

You would definitely have reasons why you couldn’t move the candidate forward in your hiring process. State them clearly in your mail. This could be related to their skill set or the experience required. While doing this, add what you liked in the candidate too. You can find hand-picked examples of gracefully rejecting candidates here. Help yourselves! 


4. End with a positive note

Here’s the climax. You never know if you’ll e-meet the candidate again for future positions. So always end with a nice, positive note. That will help nurture your relationship with the candidates. Wish them good luck for the future.

3 Candidate Rejection Email Templates for you


Good news! You need not spend time writing a fresh email for your rejected candidates each time. We’ve done the heavy-lifting and created three templates that you can just Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V. 


Pro tip: You can personalize your email to provide feedback to your candidates and add specifics about why you rejected them, especially if they went through an interview process. You should send a concise, brief message to individuals who have been rejected through your resume screening procedure. Depending on your company's culture, you could also choose between a formal and casual tone.

Template #1: To candidates rejected post-screening

Subject: Status of your application to <YOUR COMPANY NAME>



Thank you for applying to <JOB POSITION> at <YOUR COMPANY NAME>. We appreciate your interest and the time you invested in applying for the position. We regret to inform you that you did not make it to the next round.


We’re rapidly growing and will be recruiting for similar positions soon. I strongly urge you to keep an eye on our <CAREERS PAGE>  and social channels (hyperlink your social media accounts here) for updates. We wish you all the best for your future endeavors.





Template #2 – To candidates rejected post-interview

Subject: Your application to <YOUR COMPANY NAME>



Thank you for considering our company and taking the time to attend the interview. We truly appreciate your effort.


Unfortunately, we would not be able to take this forward. We had a diverse pool of exceptional candidates just like you and found someone who closely matched our requirements. We were excited to meet you and found your profile quite impressive. We urge you to keep a tab on our <CAREERS PAGE> and apply to our future job openings.


From our end, we assure you that we will get back to you when we spot the closest suitable role for you.





Template #3: To candidates rejected in the final round

Subject: Your application to <COMPANY NAME>



We appreciate you taking the time and going through our hiring process till now.


Unfortunately, we have made the difficult decision of not taking your candidature to the next step. Given the role’s criticality, we have decided to continue our search for someone with more <insert what you wanted to see in the candidate but did not>


Our team loved your <highlight the candidate’s strengths you found to be promising>. You stood out of the crowd with some incredible ideas and insights, and an impressive demeanor. We hope to be able to collaborate with you in the near future.


Wishing you all success!




P.S. <CANDIDATE NAME>, please visit our <CAREERS PAGE> and our <SOCIAL HANDLES> for updates on new positions at <COMPANY NAME>. We would like to see you join us in the near future.

Find more email templates here: 15 bookmark-worthy recruiting email templates for you.


We totally understand how jam-packed a recruiter's calendar is and how some of you end up eating your lunch at your work desk. You might spend a lot of time going through hundreds of resumes to simply screen applicants who meet your minimum requirements. But don't forget to send that one last email to your rejected candidates. In fact, you can screen candidates quicker when recruitment automation is in place, but there is no replacement for the human element in your rejection email that can silently build a brand for your company where you least expect it.