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Hiring a new employee is both an exciting and a stressful time. Exciting because you could potentially find someone who makes your team—and your business—better. Stressful because you may have to go through a ton of interviews to find that ideal person. The ones who aren’t a good fit should be notified that they didn’t get the job. So how can a busy manager contact everyone who needs notifying and still have time for the million other responsibilities on his or her plate? That’s where the rejection letter (and the rejection letter template) comes in.
Before you run for the hills screaming “I hate writing,” let the experts at Sling show you how to make the process simple. Along the way, we’ll answer such questions as:
We’ll introduce you to the standard parts of this kind of correspondence, and we’ll even supply a rejection letter template that can make your management life much easier. So without further ado, let’s start with the reasons a rejection letter is crucial for your business.
It’s all too common these days for a job seeker to send out 25, 50, even upwards of 100 résumés—or fill out that many applications—without hearing a word in return. It can be incredibly frustrating and can even go so far as to create “bad blood” between the job seeker and your company.
On the other hand, letting the applicant know that he or she hasn’t been chosen establishes goodwill between the two of you. A rejection letter, at the very least, tells the job seeker that the information was received so that other options can be explored.
When you’re the only business out of several that responds with a rejection letter, it creates a good reputation over time that employees are drawn to and want to be a part of.
Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter when in the hiring process you decide not to pursue a certain job candidate, sending a rejection letter is the right thing to do, regardless.
You may know immediately from an application that someone isn’t a good fit. Send a rejection letter. You may decide not to hire an applicant after conducting an interview. Send a rejection letter. You may even decide after two or three interviews. Send a rejection letter.
Remember, you’re creating goodwill and building a solid business reputation by doing so. That’s worth the few minutes it takes to send some letters.
Now that we’ve discussed the importance of the rejection letter, let’s examine the content and structure in more detail.
The language you use in a rejection letter should always be professional and focused on the task at hand. That means no sarcasm, no jokes—nothing that might be taken the wrong way by the reader.
Here’s an example (from the template below) to help you understand exactly what type of language to use in your rejection letter.
We interviewed a number of candidates for the barista position at XYZ Restaurant, and we have determined that another candidate is the most qualified for the opening.
This example sentence is factual, professional, and focused on communicating only the relevant information. Use it as a model for everything you write in your rejection letters.
The rejection letter is, by nature, very basic and brief, so you don’t need to include a lot of extra detail. In fact, there are really only two things you must include:
It’s also a good idea to include some thank-yous (as explained in “The Parts Of A Rejection Letter” section below) to further the rapport being established through your rejection letter.
A rejection letter is not the place to provide detailed reasons why an applicant didn’t get the desired job or interview.
For example, there’s no reason to mention that the individual didn’t dress the part or was lacking communication skills. Keep all personal information out of your rejection letter so you don’t inadvertently insult the applicant and do more harm than good.
Now that we’ve established some general guidelines for language and content, let’s look at the basic sections of a standard rejection letter.
Every rejection letter is composed of at least two basic parts: the explanation and the salutation. You can also choose to include further details as you deem necessary. Here’s a breakdown of each of the parts.
This is the initial part of the letter after the greeting and contains the reasoning for why the person didn’t get the job or hasn’t been selected to be interviewed. This section should be general while still giving the candidate a good idea as to why he or she wasn’t selected.
Within the explanation section, be sure to include a sentence that clearly states the applicant hasn’t been selected for the position. See the first paragraph in the rejection letter template below for an example of what to say.
In some cases, you may want to encourage an applicant to apply again at a later date or to apply for another position. That’s where the second section comes into play. You can include such statements as:
“Please apply in the future if you see a posting for which you qualify.”
“However, we feel that you might be a good fit for the waiter position in our company. If this is something you are interested in, please feel free to apply again at your earliest convenience.”
Keep in mind that this information doesn’t have to be in a paragraph all by itself. It certainly can be, but it can also be tacked onto the end of the explanation section.
The gratitude and salutation section is where you thank the applicant for the time they spent either applying or interviewing, and wish them well in their job search. The possibilities are almost endless as to what you can write in this section but just remember to keep it professional. Here are some examples.
“Thank you for taking the time to meet with us.”
“We enjoyed meeting and getting to know you.”
“Thank you for your interest in working for us.”
“We hope your job search goes well.”
After thanking the applicant and wishing them well, close your letter with the simple salutation “Regards,” followed by your name, title, and the business name.
Now that we’ve discussed the standard parts of a rejection letter, let’s put it all together in a rejection letter template.
The following rejection letter template can be used as-is or can be tailored to fit the specific needs of your business. If you’re sending the rejection letter in response to receiving applications, change the first few words of the template to read:
We received a number of applications for the head bartender position…
And be sure to change other aspects of the letter so that it addresses the specific issues of your hiring process.
Ms. Regina Phalange
1234 Long Road Lane
Athol, MA 01331
Dear Ms. Phalange,
We interviewed a number of candidates for the head bartender position at XYZ Restaurant, and we have determined that another candidate is the most qualified for the opening. This letter is to inform you that you have not been selected for the position.
Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to come to our restaurant to meet with our interview team. We all enjoyed meeting you.
We wish you success with your job search and your future endeavors. Thank you for your interest in our restaurant.
Manager, XYZ Restaurant
The rejection letter doesn’t have to be long, drawn out, or complicated. Just keep the language professional, provide only necessary information, and get right to the point. That way you can build a good reputation even with those you have to turn down.
For more great management tools and advice, and for help scheduling your employees, visit GetSling.com today.
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This content is for informational purposes and is not intended as legal, tax, HR, or any other professional advice. Please contact an attorney or other professional for specific advice.