How To Reject A Job Candidate

By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 16, 2017
How To Reject A Job Candidate

Working in human resources section requires great responsibility. Choosing the ideal candidate for a job is a very difficult task and rejecting job candidates is not easy. All candidates are people and shutting the door on a candidate's prospects can be a major emotional blow, especially if the person in question is qualified to fill the position we want to cover. In the following OneHowTo article we will explain how to reject a job candidate.

Steps to follow:

How to refuse? During the interview some candidates will already be left out of the selection process and this will be the right time to break the bad news to them. However, there will be applicants that cause a good impression and do well in the interview but will be ultimately ruled out in favour of a final candidate that is better prepared. In such cases, we can transmit their rejection by letter, by email or by telephone; but always cordially and thanking them for their interest in the company and opening the prospect to future selection processes.

How To Reject A Job Candidate - Step 1

In any case, we must be direct. The chances are that the candidate will expect a positive response so we must be clear and direct, first explaining why and then the reasons that led to the rejection. We are not solely responsible for the application rejection, so we can use formulas such as 'the company thinks...', which removes our direct responsibility.


The reasons for the application refusal should also be made clear: inexperience, lack of skills, inadequate training, another candidate that was better prepared... In this sense it is very important not to make negative comments that could further hurt the rejected candidate. We can invite them to improve that aspect that does not meet the requirements and therefore improve their chances of employment in future selection processes. Feedback is very important for both candidates and the company.

How To Reject A Job Candidate - Step 3

If the rejection takes place after the candidate has passed initial stages of the selection process the blow can be harder. In that case it will be crucial that you explain the reasons why he or she passed the first test of the selection process, highlighting the qualities that drew your attention. This will help you restore their confidence and the talk will be more positive.


You should let the candidate know he or she hasn't passed the hiring process as soon as you do. It is disrespectful to make them wait for something you already know is not going to succeed.

If you're writing a letter or email, be sure to personalise it writing the name of the applicant. Not writing the name and using a general greeting like Dear Sir/Madam will show you couldn't care more about that person.


Finally, you must show that you are open to any proposal put forward and answer all his or her questions. You must let the candidate ask questions regarding what he or she considers most important and always respond to these doubts professionally, but with respect and honesty. If the candidate receives a good answer to all the questions it will be more likely he or she applies for the job again in the future

If you want to read similar articles to How To Reject A Job Candidate, we recommend you visit our Employment category.

  • Do not let time pass: if you have already covered the vacancy inform the other applicants.
  • Many applicants to refuse? Use the same letter or email. However, bear in mind that you have to personalise it for every single applicant writing their name on the greetings.
  • Inform the candidate you will keep their resume and save it six to nine months.
  • Wish the candidates luck for the future and keep future opportunities open to them.

Write a comment about How To Reject A Job Candidate

What did you think of this article?

How To Reject A Job Candidate
1 of 3
How To Reject A Job Candidate

Back to top