Here’s the deal: rejection emails are your chance to make a lasting and positive impact on the applicants. 

But how do you say ‘no’ gracefully?

With our five tailored job rejection email templates, we’re going to show you how to turn a tough message into an opportunity for growth and connection. 

Get right in!

6 tips for saying no to candidates with grace

infographic on job rejection email templates

Saying no to candidates is never easy, but it’s all part of the job. 

So, how do we do this with grace and keep your company’s reputation shining? 

Here are some friendly tips to make those job rejection moments a bit easier and more constructive:

  1. Be timely: Nobody likes to be left hanging. It’s like waiting for a text back after a great first date. So, let’s not keep our candidates in suspense. A prompt response shows respect for their time and effort.
  2. Add a personal touch: We’ve all been on the receiving end of a cold, generic email. Let’s not be that sender. A touch of personalization – like mentioning something specific from their application – can soften the blow.
  3. Constructive feedback is gold: If you can offer a nugget of constructive feedback to a candidate, always share it! It’s like giving a parting gift that says, “We care about your growth, even if you’re not joining us right now.”
  4. Open doors for the future: Just because it’s a no today doesn’t mean it’s a no forever. Let’s leave the door ajar for future possibilities. Who knows, they might be your star candidate down the line!
  5. Encourage and empathize: A little empathy goes a long way. A word of encouragement can turn a potentially negative experience into a positive one. It’s about making candidates feel valued, even in rejection.
  6. Ask for feedback and referrals: This is a two-way street. Asking for feedback shows that your employer is open to improvement. And why not ask for referrals, too? It’s a great way to expand your talent pool and shows we value the candidate’s network.

Remember, every interaction you have shapes your employer brand. So make each rejection as positive and constructive as possible. 

After all, today’s rejected candidate could be tomorrow’s advocate or, even better, a future team member!

Keeping these tips in mind, let’s move on to five job rejection email templates you can put to use ASAP. 

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5 job rejection email templates for recruiters

Job rejection email template #1: After initial screening

Automated rejection emails are your go-to when candidate volume is high and time is short.

They act as a polite yet firm handshake at the end of an interview for those who don’t quite meet the basic requirements. 

While they might lack deep personalization, their importance lies in maintaining a professional image and respecting the candidate’s time. 

Ready to use these templates? Just hit the ‘copy’ button and it’s all yours!

Sample email template:

Subject: Update on your application for [Job_title] at [Company_name]

Hi [Candidate_name],

We are reaching out personally to thank you for considering [Company_name] for your career. 

After reviewing your application for the [Job_title] role, we realized that it doesn’t align with the specific qualifications we’re looking for at this moment. 

We truly appreciate your effort and encourage you to apply for future roles that match your skills and experience.

Wishing you all the best in your career journey,


Job rejection email template #2: After the interview round

Rejection emails following an initial interview are crucial in providing closure while keeping the door open for future interactions. 

This email template goes beyond a simple ‘no,’ acknowledging the candidate’s effort and leaving them with a positive impression of your company. 

Remember that personalization is key, as mentioning specific aspects of the interview makes the candidate feel valued and respected. 

Sample email template:

Subject: Thank you for interviewing with [Company_name]!

Hi [Candidate_name],

Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to interview with our team about the [Job_title] position at [Company_name].

It was a pleasure to meet and discuss the role with you. We’re grateful for the insights you shared and the enthusiasm you brought to the table. 

After careful consideration, we’ve decided to proceed with another candidate for this position. However, we were impressed by your [specific quality/skill], and we’d love to keep in touch for potential future opportunities that align better with your incredible talents.

All the best for your future endeavors, and let’s stay connected. 


Job rejection email template #3: When personalization is key

For those unique situations where a standard template doesn’t fit, we have an alternative email rejection template. 

This template is tailored for special cases, ensuring the candidate feels their application was thoroughly considered. 

It’s about giving a personalized response that addresses unique aspects of the candidate’s profile or the interview. 

Sample email template:

Subject: Thank you for applying to [Company_name]

Dear [Candidate_name],

Thank you for the time and energy you invested in applying for the [Job_title] role at [Company_name]. 

We’ve had the chance to review many outstanding candidates, and making a decision wasn’t easy. 

While your application was impressive, we are currently looking for a different set of skills that include: 

  • [Mention particular requirement that was missing from the candidate]

We see a lot of potential in your profile and would encourage you to consider applying for other roles or future openings that might be a better fit.

Keep shining!


Check out: 10+ email subject lines recruiters can use to win over candidates

Job rejection email template #4: Feedback oriented

Feedback-oriented rejection emails are more than just a letdown; they’re a tool for growth and development. 

In fact, 94% of candidates want to receive feedback after interviews. If they receive constructive feedback, they’re four times more likely to consider applying in the future. 

This is definitely a chance you want to take advantage of to expand your pool! So here’s an email template to keep that potential candidate warm for future offers. 

Sample email template:

Subject line: Insights from your interview at [Company_name]

Hi [Candidate_name],

Thank you for interviewing for the [Job_title] role at our company. We’re so glad we could meet you and learn about your skills.

While we’re moving forward with another candidate, we were impressed by your [specific positive aspect]. We see areas for growth that could make you an even stronger candidate:

  • [Mention specific area(s) for improvement]: Enhancing this skill could significantly boost your profile.
  • Resources to explore: 
    • [Resource 1]
    • [Resource 2]
    • [Workshop or course]

These could be great starting points.

Your potential is clear, and we encourage you to apply for future roles at [Company_name] that match your evolving skills.

Best wishes,


Job rejection email template #5: Asking for feedback and a referral 

Let’s talk about a little twist in our job rejection emails. 

This one’s a double-duty template – it’s not just about saying ‘thanks, but no thanks.’ We’re also flipping the script by asking for feedback and a referral.

It’s a friendly, engaging way to keep the conversation going and tap into the candidate’s network, all while gathering insights that could help us improve our recruitment process. 

Sample email template:

Subject line: A thank you from [Company_name] and an invitation to help us grow

Hi [Candidate_name],

We want to thank you for considering the [Job_title] position with us at [Company_name]. 

Your application really stood out, and it was a tough decision, but we’ve had to go with another candidate this time around.

That said, we couldn’t help but think of your impressive network. If you know someone as fantastic as you who’s looking for new opportunities, could you pass along our job openings to them? 

We’d really value your recommendation. If you can spare a few minutes, we’d love it if you could share feedback on your hiring experience with us through this survey/questionnaire: [link]

Thanks once again for your time and effort. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that our paths will cross again.

All the best,


And there you have it – rejection done right! 

Use these tips and templates to make those tough conversations easier, and don’t forget to share them with your fellow recruiters. 

Happy recruiting 🙂

Frequently asked questions

1. Is it necessary to respond to candidates’ follow-up questions after a job rejection email?

Absolutely. While it’s not mandatory, responding to follow-up questions shows respect and consideration. 

It’s about maintaining a positive image of your company. A quick, polite response can go a long way in keeping good relations with potential future candidates.

2. What tone should I use in a rejection email?

Keep it professional yet empathetic. You want to be clear about the rejection but also kind. Think of how you’d like to be treated if the roles were reversed. 

A respectful and courteous tone always helps soften the disappointment and leaves a good impression.

3. What is the right time to send a job rejection email?

Sooner rather than later. 

Once the decision is made, it’s best to send out the rejection email promptly. It’s considerate of the candidate’s time and allows them to move on and explore other opportunities without unnecessary waiting.

4. Can providing resources or recommendations in a job rejection email be helpful?

Definitely! Including a few resources or suggestions for professional development is a thoughtful touch. 

It shows you care about their career growth, even though they weren’t the right fit for this particular role. This can be a small gesture that can make a big difference in how candidates view your company.