How To Politely Reject An Applicant For A Job

Hiring for any position is a demanding task. And after going through the rigamarole of weeding out the right candidate for the interview and then zeroing on the right choice, you have to sometimes inform people that they did not make the cut.


Many managers and hiring professionals do not deign to even inform about the rejection, leaving the candidates in the dark. This is not right, nor professional and will leave a bad impression about the company you are working for. Some conversations are hard, and it can get awkward too sometimes, hence, people tend to procrastinate.

Reject An Applicant For A Job

politely reject applicant for job

Reject An Applicant For A Job


Using an ATS (Application Tracking System) feedback or confirmation doesn’t take long, and it leaves a lasting positive impression on candidates. There are now automated messages, which inform if the application has been rejected in the first stage. 


The problem comes when a candidate reaches the interview stage and things go dark after that with no response.


People go through a lot of effort to apply for a job and make it to the interview stage, hence, the polite thing to do is to keep everyone who has made it to the last stage in the loop and inform as soon as possible once you have made the decision.

Politely Reject An Applicant For A Job


The person waits for a reponse for days and suddenly after a long time comes to know the position has been filled.


So how do you convey the loss to the likely candidate in the most empathetic and polite manner?


Next time you need to tell a candidate they didn’t get the job, here are a few pointers:


Post-interview update

At the interview, let the candidate know when you plan to follow-up with them. Give a time frame—3 days or a week.

Ideally, inform the candidate within one week of the interview, whether they made it to the next phase or not.


Be prompt

Inform candidates as soon as you know they are out of the running. If there are a few, then sending an email will suffice.

If you have interviewed a candidate and then decided against the hire, then the polite thing would be to call and inform. 

If not that, then a formal letter explaining the reason is an etiquette requirement.


Give Feedback

Do not be short and impersonal. After informing, give a valid reason for the rejection. Maybe you found someone who had better credentials and fit the job better. Be honest and upfront. You can even inform the candidate about how the answers did not fit in with your expectations. 

Your feedback will help the person improve for his next interview meeting and leave a good impression about the company too.


 Be Complementary but Get Right to the Point. Tell them that you won’t be moving them forward in the interview process at this time, but if another opportunity with your company surfaces, you’ll keep their application in mind.


If the rejection is due to some discrepancy in the information provided or many inconsistencies in the application, then politely tell them that the information provided did not match your follow-ups.


Finally, keep in touch with your best candidates. This is often overlooked, but it is important to maintain relationships for your future staffing needs.


Keep some form of communication open, send them regular emails or newsletters of the company’s achievements, or add them to your Christmas and holiday greetings list.


It is prudent and will be helpful to both if an opening comes up in the future, which can be mutually pursued.

Anna Verasai
Anna Versai is a Team Writer at The HR Digest; she covers topics related to Recruitment, Workplace Culture, Interview Tips, Employee Benefits, HR News and HR Leadership. She also writes for Technowize, providing her views on the Upcoming Technology, Product Reviews, and the latest apps and softwares.

Similar Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.