I’m Perfect for This Job, so What’s Wrong With Me? Why You Should Provide a Personalized Rejection Letter.

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Perfect on paper, but not quite right. Telling a job candidate that they’re out of the running.

How do you tell a candidate that has interviewed for the job that they are no longer being considered? It takes good communication – tact, finesse, and sincerity – to reject a candidate, yet still give them a constructive explanation for why they weren’t chosen.

Why give a candidate feedback at all?

Think about it. The candidate spent time applying, researching your company, and taking time out of their schedule to interview. They had hope, they had interest, and so did you when you brought them in.

If you don’t communicate the rejection at all, or within a reasonable amount of time, the candidate could be angry and anxious. They may perceive, correctly, that you don’t value them. They will begin to resent your company, perhaps bad-mouth it, and determine never to use your products or services because not only were they rejected but they feel rejected as well.

Okay, I’ll send a rejection, but why make the rejection personal?

“What went wrong?”

Once they receive the rejection, a candidate is going to wonder what happened as they replay the interview in their mind. The truth is: you know, but they don’t. Was another candidate more qualified? A better fit? Did another person have a certification that was the tipping point with everything else being equal?

What is the value of sending a personal rejection letter? Surely a few sentences saying thanks but no thanks, over and out (figuratively and literally) could suffice. But not if you care about the candidate experience and your company brand. By giving useful feedback, the rejection is constructive. The candidate can learn how to be more successful in their job hunt – for example, by improving their skillset or adjusting the wording in their resume – so they have a better idea of what to look for in their next position. You’re not simply doing them a favor; you’re building your company’s reputation as an organization that cares about people. And you do care, right?

Offering constructive feedback is also helpful if you want to build your talent pool. The rejected candidate might not be right for the job they interviewed for, but could be right for another job in your company at a later date. Rather than have the candidate go away upset, have them thinking that applying to your organization was a good idea, and it would still be a great place to work.

Rejection is part of the hiring process, and it pays to do it well.

Some candidate rejection dos and don’ts:


  • Begin with the positive.
  • Be truthful. If you can’t imagine the possibility of the candidate working for you in the future, don’t offer that false hope.
  • Keep your comments related to the job, nothing
  • Give details of examples from the interview.
  • Be polite. Not, “You exaggerated your capabilities,” but “to be completely proficient in this area, you might want to have a better understanding of the XYZ”
  • End the letter by thanking them and wishing them success as they take the next step in their career.


  • Criticize. Make sure the tone is professional.
  • Overtly compare. A candidate knows they were rejected because a different candidate was better in some way. Instead, tell them what they might do to make themselves a stronger candidate.
  • Court litigation. You don’t want to say or write anything that could be construed as discriminatory.

If you are going to give a personal rejection to a candidate, it’s going to take some thought and time.

And we can help. With thousands of placements for hundreds of companies since 1994, the expert recruiters at Mankuta | Gallagher can help you throughout every aspect of the hiring process, so you can find and hire the top talent you’re looking for.