The art of writing a rejection letter is something every business leader should master. Although some rely on a standard document or generic template, this can be offensive to some. Instead, try to craft a letter that is straightforward, concise and informative. Apart from getting your point across without being to blunt or harsh, this also shows you’ve read their resume and truly taken their skills into consideration before making your decision.
Be as Upfront as Possible
Although it might be difficult to accomplish, try to state the rejection within the first sentence or two. There’s simply no sense in leaving them hanging on every word while waiting for pending rejection.
You can follow this up by providing a specific reason for the rejection. This can be something simple, such as a lack of available projects, or it can involve a detailed explanation. In either case, it gives the candidate something to work on with future applications and interviews.
Thank Them for Their Time
Remember: Their time is just as valuable as yours. The fact that a qualified applicant took the time to read your ad and responded appropriately must be worth something, right?
This shows professional courtesy on your behalf. It may be a formality more than anything else, but it’s still a valuable gesture in nearly every profession.
Let Them Know if There is Potential for the Future
If you think their skills might be useful down the road, let them know. Not only does this preserve their interest when the opportunity finally does come, but it can make the whole process of writing and delivering a rejection letter easier for everyone involved.
It’s also a good idea to give them a timeframe. Asking a candidate to re-apply in several months or a year is a rather common practice that often results in future employment, but make sure you’re honest. If there is no future potential, simply state as much and move on.
Mastering the Art
Although it may sound harsh, the act of writing a rejection letter gets easier over the course of time. Feel free to browse the internet for examples and templates you can borrow from, but make sure to personalize it for each rejected applicant. This is the best method to take when trying to remain professional and avoid hurting the candidate’s feelings at the same time.
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