How to Reject a Job Applicant

Turning down a job applicant is not that hard. By following the right procedure, you can get this job done without hurting the feelings of the applicant. Although many people do not like to confront or deliver bad news, sometimes you have to perform this task as part of your job responsibilities. While numerous applicants apply to a single job posting, you can hire only one of them and turn down the rest. The hiring manager is usually responsible for sending the rejection letter or notifying the applicant about the decision in a timely manner.


  • 1

    Firstly, consider waiting for the right applicant to accept the offer. Sometimes, the first choice candidate accepts a job offer from another company and therefore it is recommended to wait for him to accept your offer before notifying the unsuccessful candidates. This practice will also help you avoid the awkward circumstances of getting in touch with an applicant that was previously rejected.

  • 2

    It is vital to make assess the pros and cons of rejecting an application both by email or phone. Although there is no one answer to why an application was turned down, the choice will depend on your personal experience and company’s culture and values. Some hiring managers prefer to send the rejection letter in an email or by post to avoid a potential lawsuit while others contact the applicants personally to deliver the news.

  • 3

    Do not forget to plan your wording carefully. Make sure you do not offend the applicant in any way. If possible, write down the words you will say to the applicant about why his application was rejected.

  • 4

    Always thank the candidate for participating in the recruitment process. Notify him that a more suitable candidate was selected based on his extensive experience and expertise. Be honest and encourage him to apply to your company in the future.

  • 5

    Before closing the rejection letter, make sure you provide the application with information about the next step such as “your CV will be retained on record for the next one year and the company will contact if your profile matches any vacancy”.

  • 6

    If possible, do not be too detailed. If you want to provide feedback for a specific reason then stick to generalities depending on candidate’s academic and professional qualification.

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