Changing Your Rejection Email is the First Step In a Better Candidate Experience


You've all heard how important it is to make a good first impression. But what about the last impression?

A poorly worded rejection email, or worse --- none at all, can damage your company reputation and set those candidates on a revenge path straight to your Glassdoor page. 

A rejection email is a necessary part of the hiring process but it needs to be done right. Well written ones can help you build relationships with candidates that you may hire in the future. 

At a recent candidate workshop held by The Talent Board I asked Sjoerd Gehring the VP of Talent for Johnson & Johnson what the average company can do to improve their candidate experience. His answer: improve your rejection email! He said in fact they have 8 different templates based on how far the candidate went in the process.

It is the simplest thing you can do to make the candidate feel more comfortable, even if you can't hire them.

So with that said, here are some tips to do just that for those that did not receive an interview.

Thank Them

Always thank the candidate for their time. People are busy, tell them you appreciate taking time out to apply to your organization.

Be Timely

The best time to send a rejection email is 24-48 hours after they apply. Never rejection them right after applying as it will seem you gave them no consideration.

Be Positive

Remain positive in your wording and give them encouragement. It won't hurt to tell them to try again at a later date. However, try and avoid the "Good luck with..." type of statement as it it overly used by most employers.

For those candidates that make it to an interview you should be offering more feedback in that correspondence. They have invested time and energy that your company should recognize.

Tell Them Why

If a person has gone through one or more interviews, some sort of personal context on how they performed is in order. Tell them it was a "tough decision" and suggest areas where they make have fallen short. At this stage the person is looking for honest feedback, give it to them.

Offer Help

Include actionable tips for the candidate so that they can improve their interviewing skills in future interviews. If you think they might be a good fit for future roles tell them so and send a LinkedIn request to stay in touch.


Disappointed is something candidates will always feel when they get rejected but they should not feel devalued. For instance if the candidate was among the top 3-5 people for the job a phone call might be a better way to deliver the news. Particularly if they have invested a great deal of time with you.

In the end it is up employers to be brief, positive and not too vague turning down applicants. The best part is that it will cost you nothing to make these changes. 

Don't let negative reviews affect your organization. Use Rejobify!

Don't let negative reviews affect your organization. Use Rejobify!