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Home > Emails > How to Craft Polite Candidate Rejection Emails

How to Craft Polite Candidate Rejection Emails

Jessica Shee
Written by
Jessica SheeProfessional Tech Writer
Updated on:Jan 03, 2024

Sending rejection emails to candidates is no easy task, is it?

But should you stay silent to spare them the disappointment? Is silence truly the best approach? Don't candidates deserve closure and clarity?

Perhaps it's your perception of rejection emails that is holding you back. Depending on your perspective, they are not precisely all doom and gloom. A well-crafted candidate rejection email can ignite resilience and inspire candidates to reach greater success.

But you must master the art of writing candidate rejection emails, or your message, even if written with good intent, could make the applicant feel discouraged.

This article is your guide to mastering the art of writing rejection emails. It's an art that blends empathy, compassion, foresight, and constructive criticism. Our templates are there for you if you feel a little lazy about writing a fresh one.

Try Our AI Email Writer for Appropriate Rejection Emails

Prior to examining our templates, we recommend using our AI email writer to easily draft polite and professional candidate rejection emails.

What are candidate rejection emails?

A job rejection email is a message written to inform applicants who won’t be proceeding to the next round of interviews or be hired.

Once a job position is filled, it is important to let other applicants know. The format of a candidate rejection email isn’t cast in stone. However, certain elements must be present. These are shown in the following templates.

Templates to help you write candidate rejection emails better

Here is a list of some job rejection email templates you can customize easily.

Short job rejection email template

The email should be short, simple, and concise if you have never met the applicant or have exchanged only a few emails. However, your email shouldn’t appear brash. Introduce some courteousness, politeness, and empathy in your writing. This template already helps with that. The email begins with thanking them for applying and letting them know they didn’t make the next round of applications. Finally, encourage them to continue searching.

Dear [Applicant's Name],
Thank you for applying for the [Job Position] at [Company Name]. We appreciate the time and effort you put into your application.
After carefully reviewing your qualifications and considering all the candidates, we regret to inform you that you have not been selected for the next round of the application process. However, we encourage you to continue your job search and explore other opportunities.
We thank you for your interest in our company and wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors. Should any suitable positions arise in the future, we will keep your application on file for reference.
Once again, thank you for your time and consideration.
Best regards,
[Your Name]

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Read also: How to Decline an Interview via Email (5 samples & templates)

Detailed rejection email template

But what if the applicant was nearly perfect for the job, and you envision working with them in the future? The rejection email should not be overly formal or vague. While it is advised that rejection emails have a similar tone, the reasons for the rejection should be explained. The applicant should also be encouraged to reapply. A smart candidate who has been rejected will utilize the feedback to improve their pitch the next time they apply. This email is lengthier than the previous one, and it is done to help the employee know that they have a good profile and only couldn’t make the cut because there were so many qualified candidates to choose from.

Dear [Applicant's Name],

Thank you for taking the time to apply for [Job Position] with [Company Name]. It was evident from your application that you have a strong background and skillset that could benefit our team.

After careful consideration, we have unfortunately decided not to move forward with your application at this time. While you were a strong candidate, we had a difficult decision to make due to the high number of qualified applicants.

We encourage you to continue pursuing opportunities with our company in the future. We believe that with some further experience and skill development, you could become an outstanding addition to our team.

We appreciate your interest in [Company Name] and wish you the best in your job search. Thank you for considering us as a potential employer.

Best regards,
[Your Name]

Read also: How to politely decline an invitation via email (5 samples & templates)

Decision disagreement rejection email template

Have you ever been a part of a hiring committee? Have you ever stuck your neck out for an applicant while the rest of the committee just passed on them? It hurts, definitely! But you have to own the decision. So do not get tempted to transfer responsibility for the decision with liners like “It has been decided that we will not be pursuing this” or “The bigwigs have decided to go in a different direction.” Rejection in this manner is no less painful, and the writing seemingly undermines your decision-making.

You should own the rejection. It’s better to say things like, “After much deliberation and back and forth, we’ve decided X,” or “It was a really difficult decision, but we eventually decided Y,” but be sure to use “we” rather than “they.”

Dear [Recipient's Name],
I regret to inform you that we have made a decision not to move forward with your application for [position/role] at [Company Name]. The hiring committee carefully considered all candidates and their qualifications, but ultimately concluded that another candidate was a better fit for the role.
Please understand that this decision was not taken lightly, and we appreciate the time and effort you invested in the application process. We recognize your talent and expertise, but in this particular instance, we are unable to offer you the position.
We truly value your interest in our organization, and we encourage you to continue pursuing opportunities with us in the future. Thank you for your understanding, and we wish you all the best in your career endeavors.
Best regards,
[Your Name]

Read also: How to request something emails (5 samples & templates)

Negotiation failure rejection email template

Many employers struggle to call it quits having invested significant time and energy to make the relationship with prospective employee work. Does this sound like you? Regardless of how much time you’ve spent trying to convince them to come on board, it may be time to move on. Decide if a phone call or email is the best way to relate your decision to the candidate. However, if you must send an email, keep it short. Both of you have most likely discussed the issues at hand at length before now. So keep it concise and simple.

Dear [Recipient's Name],

I regret to inform you that we will not be able to proceed with your employment at this time. Despite our best efforts, it has become apparent that we are unable to reach mutually agreeable terms.

I want to express my gratitude for your time and consideration throughout this process. Your skills and qualifications were impressive, and it was a difficult decision to make.

Thank you again for your understanding. We wish you the best in your future endeavors.

Best regards,
[Your Name]

Proposal submission rejection email template

Want to reject a proposal application? Here’s how to go about it. Begin with thanking the applicant for their contribution. Let them understand you can tell how much work and effort has been put into the application. Then finish it up with letting them know that although their ideas are award-winning and well presented, another was selected because it matched the organization’s end goals better. Before your closing remarks, let them know you are open to partnerships in the future.

Dear [Applicant's Name],

Thank you for submitting your proposal to [Organization Name]. We appreciate the effort and dedication you have put into your application.

Your ideas are truly commendable and presented in an award-winning manner. However, after careful consideration, we have selected another proposal that aligns better with our organization's end goals.

We value your work and would like to express our interest in potential partnerships in the future. Your expertise and creativity are highly regarded.

Thank you once again for your contribution and we wish you the best in your future endeavors.

Best regards,
[Your Name]

Scholarship decline email template

A scholarship application rejection email is written to inform the applicant that they have not been selected for funding. The email instantly recognizes and appreciates the candidate’s application and hard work. Then goes on to explain that although the candidate met all the scholarship requirements, the grant went to someone better qualified on paper. The applicant is thanked for their time and encouraged to search out other funding sources and future scholarship offers. This rejection email template aims to convey the news politely, explain why the decision was made, and urge the recipient to pursue their ambitions in the future.

Dear [Recipient's Name],

Thank you for your application for the [Scholarship Name]. We appreciate the time and effort you put into your application.

After careful consideration, we regret to inform you that your application for the scholarship has not been successful this time. While you met all the scholarship requirements, we received a significant number of highly qualified applicants, and the selection committee ultimately chose another candidate who better matched our criteria.

We encourage you to continue pursuing your educational goals and to explore other funding sources and scholarship opportunities. We believe in your potential and wish you the best in your future endeavors.

Thank you again for your interest in the [Scholarship Name]. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any further questions or need support in your academic journey.

Best regards,
[Your Name]

Mentorship/internship application rejection email template

Year in, year out, you get hundreds of applications, but there are only so many you can higher, isn’t it? Inform the unselected interns about your decision. Your email should show you how much you appreciate them applying. However, as with others earlier discussed, you must let them know that the application process was very competitive and others have been hired instead. Then wish them good luck in seeking similar opportunities in the future. This email template confirms your decision to go with other candidates and your willingness to cooperate with them in the future in some capacity.

Dear [Recipient's Name],

Thank you for applying to our mentorship/internship program. We appreciate the time and effort you put into your application.

I regret to inform you that, after careful consideration, we have selected other candidates for the available positions. The application process was highly competitive, and we had to make difficult decisions.

However, we want to express our belief in your potential and encourage you to keep pursuing similar opportunities. Your enthusiasm and qualifications made it a tough decision for us, and we sincerely wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.

Although you were not selected for the current program, we would be happy to consider your application for future opportunities. We admire your passion and would be glad to cooperate with you in some capacity down the line.

Thank you again for your interest in our program. If you have any questions or need further feedback, please don't hesitate to reach out.

Best regards,
[Your Name]

University/college admission rejection email template

This sample email template may be used to gently refuse an applicant’s admission request to a college or institution. The email starts with thanking the student for their interest in the institution. It should also highlight how competitive the admission process is. Finally, you should wish them well in their future aspirations and recommend looking into other learning possibilities.

Dear [Recipient's Name],

Thank you for your interest in [College/Institution Name]. We appreciate the time and effort you put into your application. However, I regret to inform you that we are unable to offer you admission at this time.

The admission process at [College/Institution Name] is highly competitive, and we receive a large number of exceptional applications. Unfortunately, we have limited spots available, and we had to make difficult decisions.

Please know that this decision does not reflect your abilities or potential. We encourage you to explore other educational opportunities that align with your goals and aspirations. There are many excellent institutions that may be a perfect fit for you.

We wish you great success in your future endeavors and trust that you will excel wherever you choose to continue your academic journey.

Best regards,
[Your Name]

How to Write a Rejection Email to Candidates

Do not get tempted to just write about anything to a failed applicant. Keep in mind that the quality and professionalism in your writing, good or otherwise, speaks on your behalf and can influence the general perception of your brand. Therefore, we recommend putting enough thought into your writing.

Outright rejections are never a good idea. An applicant might not be the best fit for a role you are filling in now but might be skilled enough for another in the future. Why discourage them from future collaborations with sassy emails? Your email should contain constructive feedback and show your willingness to cooperate with them in the future.

Here’s how to write an email from scratch should you need one outside what our rejection email template covers:

First part

In the first paragraph of your email, you should thank the candidate for their time and interest in the position. You might break the news gently by including a compliment such as “while your qualifications are quite impressive.....” in the first part of the job rejection email.

Second part (Optional)

Then comes the body of the email. What you write depends on how far the applicant has come through the selection process and your previous interactions with them.

If, for example, you decide not to pursue a candidate further after the first round of interviews, you may skip this step and continue directly to the third. If, on the other hand, the applicant makes it to the final round, you should offer a greater reason for your decision to reject them.

If you want to wow them, let them know what stood out about their application. For instance, including a line like “our team was particularly impressed with your writing skills” helps them understand writing is the least of their worries. Then provide honest feedback highlighting specific development areas and recommendations for improvement.

In critiquing their application, mention where they came short. A line like “At the moment, we are looking for candidates who have a deeper understanding of web development...” would do just fine.

If the applicant impressed you and you believe they may be a good match for your organization, inform them you will add them to your contact database and consider them again.

Third part

Finally, you should extend the applicant your best wishes in their job quest moving forward.


Although candidate rejection emails are meant to be professional, you can make your brand stand out by writing with a little human touch. Make some room to appreciate the candidate’s efforts by carefully crafting an email that expresses gratitude while being simple. You can use our templates to guarantee that this happens. Also, there are several AI-powered email drafting tools, such as HIX.AI, that you may use if you want a candidate rejection email that is more tailored to your specific needs.

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