The interview process can be just as stressful for a hiring manager as it is for a candidate. You are probably receiving hundreds, if not thousands, of resumes from hopeful applicants and overwhelmed knowing that in order to find the best candidate for the position, you’re going to have to disappoint all the others. As tough as it may be, it is critical that you inform candidates not selected for the position of your decision to pursue other candidates. Most companies execute this by rejection letters or emails to these candidates thanking them for their time and interest and informing them of their decision to go in another direction. Despite what you may think, rejection letters are more for you and your company than for the unselected candidate! Here’s why:

  • Rejection letters give your company a professional image and show candidates that your organization is well managed. Although candidates will be disappointed that they weren’t selected for the position, they will appreciate your reaching out to them and making them aware of your hiring decisions.
  • In addition to showing your company’s professionalism, rejection letters show candidates that your company has genuine respect for people’s time and effort. Letting people know that they weren’t selected for the position will allow them to focus on other avenues of employment. To further show your respect of candidates’ time, rejection letters should be sent no later than two weeks after you’ve made your final hiring decision.
  • Rejection letters will help to protect your company against disgruntled candidates seeking to use loopholes in EEOC laws as grounds for legal action. Sending a rejection letter will make it impossible for former candidates to say that they were treated unfairly or kept in the dark by your company. Another way to protect your company in regards to rejections letters is by sending them to all unselected candidates. This will show that you are treating all candidates fairly and make it hard for a candidate to make a case for preferential treatment.

Keep in mind that candidates will be disappointed and frustrated when they receive the letter, especially if they’ve been looking for a job for a long time. Let them down as easily as possible. Thank them for their time, acknowledge the skills they bring to the table, and invite them to reapply for this position or another position within the company at a future date. Remember, just because this candidate isn’t right for the position you are trying to fill now, they may be perfect for this or another position at a later date; the last thing you want to do is burn bridges.

You may be thinking that your candidate pool is just too big to send rejection letters to so many unselected applicants. After all, who has that kind of time? It’s better to see it this way: think of the time and resources that will be wasted when three hundred applicants call every day for a month to check the status of their application. An easy way to expedite the process is to have a generic rejection letter template and personalize just the name of the candidate.

Letting people down can be tough for a hiring manager, but it is an essential part of the job. Sending rejection letters is an easy way to communicate not only your final hiring decision, but the respect you have for all candidates’ time and consideration.

Written by Katie Fidler

Investing in a Lifetime of Success,

Angela Roberts


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