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the art of rejection

The Art of Rejection

Apr 22nd, 2019 • WP Admin

Rejecting a candidate is not my favorite thing to do but it is the RIGHT thing to do. No one likes providing disappointing news – especially when you’ve built a relationship with a candidate – and now you need to tell them they are no longer in consideration for the position.

Not hearing back from the recruiter or hiring manager is one of the top complaints from job seekers. The candidate invested time to research your company, more than likely took time off from their current job, put on their interview clothes and attempted to dazzle your interview team. They get excited about the job opportunity and look forward to next steps. Job seekers should know they are no longer in contention so they can have closure and move on with their search.

More than half of 95,000 respondents reported not receiving any feedback! Besides being rude, not sending a “ding letter” negatively impacts your employer brand and hiring efforts. It is imperative to get this right.

Recruiters may fear exposing the organization to an employment discrimination claim by providing too much information. So, whether you send a short rejection or a personalized note, keep it simple. Thank the candidate for their time and provide feedback that allows a bit of detail (if possible) without criticizing. Focus on qualifications as they relate to the role, not the candidate personally.

Tips for sending the rejection notice:

  • Keep it simple – the purpose is to inform the candidate they are not moving forward.
  • Share the positive – rejection is tough enough; share any positive nuggets you received.
  • Keep the door open – if you mean it, let them know you want to consider them in the future.
  • Avoid banter – your rejection removed the candidate from consideration. Allow them to respond but don’t continue to banter via email.


The impact of the proverbial Ding Letter is extensive. This communication is not only appreciated by the job seeker (even though they didn’t get the job), it reflects positively on your organization and your long-term hiring efforts as job seekers continue to do their due diligence before they engage in your brand/job opportunity. The stats  speak for themselves.