How to write a candidate rejection email (and why do it)

As a specialist engineering and IT recruitment company, Ernest Gordon works with thousands of highly talented candidates. Their number one complaint?

Companies with IT recruitment processes that end in silence. So, here is what every HR specialist should know about how to write a candidate rejection email.

More importantly, it’s accompanied by a discussion of why it’s vital to your company’s reputation and future success that you put in the effort to send these small but vital communications:

Why write candidate rejection emails?

1) Keep your brand image strong

You embody your company values and spread knowledge of your brand in many ways. One of these is turning people who have worked for you into ambassadors for your business by treating them honestly and well.

People who “almost” worked for you are just as important though. Having them speak well of your IT recruitment process among fellow professionals and on employer review websites like Glassdoor is a great way to spread knowledge of the positive workplace you have to offer.

2) Maintain ties with potential future employees

Just because a certain candidate didn’t have quite what you were looking for this time (or there was just a slightly stronger candidate on this occasion), there’s no reason they might not be what you need next time an IT job vacancy becomes available.

Making sure that unsuccessful candidate continues to think well of you and knows you thought well of them is important if you may wish to hire them in the future.

You can encourage them by telling them how far they got through your recruitment process. You might suggest they stay in touch or monitor your social media channels to see if other positions come available.

3) Cut ties cleanly

There are also times when you may have liked the candidate on a personal level but want to make clear that you aren’t likely to consider them for other roles in the future.

A well-crafted candidate rejection letter is the place to do this. From a selfish point of view, this may save you the time of having to reject them again when they apply for another unsuitable position.

On a more outgoing note, you can take the opportunity to wish them luck while not messing them around by leaving them holding out hope for a position that will never come.

How to write a candidate rejection email

When you write a candidate rejection letter, you are sending a message about the kind of business you operate in more ways than one. Ideally, you want to leave even rejected candidates with a positive view of your company.

There are some key ingredients if you want to do this:

Say thank you – thank them for their time and effort in applying (remember the last time you applied for a job and how thankless the process can seem without the right help).

Don’t waste their time – you don’t need to go into unnecessary detail. You can be positive, pleasant, and polite without writing lengthy prose.

Start as you mean to go on – don’t keep them on tenterhooks. Break the bad news early on in your email so they don’t start thinking they’ve got the job.

Personalise and feed back – providing at least some detail as to why they weren’t successful is key to delivering a positive recruitment experience even for unsuccessful candidates. You might also offer something you did like about them.

Tell them as soon as you’ve decided – people hate to be kept waiting almost as much as they hate rejection. Try to make it a habit to send candidate rejection emails as soon as you have decided not to hire them.

A simple but vital part of IT recruitment

There is a lot to lose and nothing to gain by failing to send a timely and polite rejection email to candidates who haven’t met your mark this time.

Using a specialist IT recruiter, of course, is an easy way to hone down your potential field of recruits so you have fewer highly skilled and relevant candidates for your IT job vacancies and fewer that you need to reject.

Why not reach out to us to talk about your recruiting needs?

Every week, Ernest Gordon’s market-leading AI recruitment technology and extensive talent pool finds just the right recruits for organisations of every size via an open and honest process.

Tell us about your requirements today. We’ll get started on the search for your ideal candidate.