Feedback is a crucial component of a recruitment process. It’s your responsibility as a hiring manager to tell the candidate whether or not they got a job. There’s no excuse for ignoring the person who has spent time applying for a position in your company.

We have already overviewed the reasons why (and to which extent) providing a (negative) answer is important in our previous post. Now we’ll go on with how to reject a candidate in such a way that they will be happy about it.


There are several ways to inform the candidate of a negative decision:Save

  • to send them a rejection email
  • to give them a call
  • to tell them in person during or immediately after the interview

An email is the most harmless way to reject a candidate. And, believe it or not, ready-made rejection email templates are way better than silence. That said, making it personal is always better.

Giving candidates a call is an even more personal approach. By contacting them via phone, you are showing them that you recognise and appreciate their efforts and aren’t afraid of wasting your time on them.

If you know it already during the interview that it won’t work out between the company and the candidate, it’s better to tell the candidate so right on the spot. Here is why:

  • This will save your time
  • This will save the candidate’s time
  • This will prevent the candidate from having false hopes and expectations
  • This will give you some points on honesty
  • This will allow the candidate focus on their further job search and future career


When you are rejecting a candidate, do it so that they will gain something from it and in the long run even be happy about it. It’s important to focus on advantages and growth aspects, even if you start obviously with the bad news.

To help you visualise this, here’s a U-curve pattern your rejection message should take.

  1. Start with the strengths of the candidate before getting to the part where they lacked qualifications.
  2. Be sure to focus not on the weak points, but the areas of improvement.
  3. By the end of the conversation, they should be left with a positive impression of you and your company.
  4. Don’t forget to thank them for their time and wish good luck with their job search.

Once again, always give your candidates feedback on whether or not they got the job. Don’t keep them waiting and don’t ghost on them: there’s no excuse for doing that. Learn to reject timely and gracefully — via email, on the phone or in person.

Keep also in mind that, when you’re breaking the news to a candidate, you’re not taking something away from them (i.e. a prospect of a new job). You are also giving them something: a honest and constructive feedback, a tip on which skills they should build up, a confirmation of their strengths, a positive career mindset. And, believe it, they are thankful for it.

A Look At How To Reject A Candidate Or Applicant