Why Employers Should Write Rejection Emails to Job Applicants

June 28, 2019 Written by Oralie Chapman

With extremely low unemployment rates in Hawaii, it’s more important than ever to treat job candidates and employees with respect. Treating people well helps to retain great employees and create a reputation for being the kind of place people want to work.

Many people share poor hiring experiences on online review sites and one of the most common complaints is not hearing back after an interview. It’s common for employers not to send rejection emails or letters to job applicants when they aren’t chosen for the job but it’s a way to earn a bad reputation as a place that doesn’t value people and hurt your overall employer branding and recruiting efforts. Letting someone know that they didn’t get the job means that you are continuing to build a relationship instead of ending one. The applicant may not have been chosen for this position but they could be a valuable person to add to your talent pool for other jobs at the company. It’s natural for job applicants to get their hopes up after a job interview and they appreciate hearing back one way or another. The bottom line is that letting a job applicant know that they didn’t get the job is easy and it’s the right thing to do.


Tips for rejection emails


  • Send an email proportionate to the stage the candidate was in the hiring process.
  • Don’t send the email until your preferred candidates have agreed to move forward in the process/your first choice has accepted the position. One way to confirm that candidates will accept the position is to discuss salary/hourly wage.
  • Always leave the door open for future employment and let them know you will be adding them to your talent pool.
  • Don’t engage in lengthy back and forth conversations after sending the initial letter.


Top 3 types of rejection emails


There are several free online templates for rejection emails that can help recruiters simplify the process. Depending on the stage the applicant was in the hiring process, it makes sense to send out a short, expanding or personalized rejection letter.


The short rejection letter


A short rejection letter is good for applicants who were not called in for an interview. The letter addresses the candidate by name, thanks them for applying for the particular job at the company, let’s them know that the business will be moving forward with other candidates and wishes them luck in their job search. You may also wish to include a note encouraging them to apply for other jobs at the company or let them know about the huge number of applicants you had for the job.


This letter is easy to create as an auto-fill template in your Applicant Tracking System (ATS).


The expanded rejection letter


If you’ve had a phone or video interview with a job candidate, it’s nice to expand the basic rejection letter to thank them for taking the time to share their background and qualifications with your business.


The personalized rejection letter


If a job applicant has come in for a formal, in-person interview they deserve an explanation about why they won’t be getting the job in addition to the details included in the expanded rejection letter. Mention some of their strengths. Don’t criticize their interview skills but do let them know that you decided to hire a candidate with a stronger background in computer coding or other relevant skill. This will give them an opportunity to strengthen those skills before applying for other similar positions. Be very careful to avoid listing personal reasons for rejection, which could open the door to an employment discrimination lawsuit.


Partnering with Makai HR


After you hire the right employee, it’s time to get them onboarded. We’ve got you covered through HR outsourcing! When you partner with Makai HR you can get on with the business you are trying to grow while we take care of your employee needs from 401(k) plans to payroll, taxes, health insurance/benefits, and worker’s compensation. You also gain peace of mind that you are in compliance with all of Hawaii’s employer laws (if you’ve ever looked you know that the list is very long). When choosing a PEO to partner with, there are many things to consider including cost, services and technology solutions.


With the cost of doing business in Hawaii at record highs, we know how important it is to keep labor costs in line with revenue. Our plans are priced competitively and include value-added services like time-in/time-out systems. Our three tiers of PEO service plans are tailored to the size of your business and specific needs. We offer a 100% paperless solution which means that your employees can manage their needs through a computer, tablet or phone. We can truly improve your employees work benefits while freeing you up to run your business.


What are you waiting for? Companies who partner with a PEO benefit from 7-9% faster growth, 10-14% lower employee turnover; and they are 50% less likely to go out of business. Contact us today to get started!