Interview Rejection Email Templates for Different Stages of the Application Process

Interview Rejection Email Templates for Different Stages of the Application Process


Raina Kushary

June 26, 2024

It’s not easy to tell someone they were not selected for the job. But keeping them uninformed is not a good practice. As a recruiter, you are not at all bound to respond to all applicants, and expecting that you have enough bandwidth to call everyone would be unjustified. So the road to redemption is an interview rejection email – which will ensure you express professional courtesy to job seekers and don’t spend much of your time on it.

Recruiters and organizations often skip this step because it has been ignored for so long that it has almost become a norm. When you try putting yourself in a candidate’s place, you will realize how important it is for anyone to know about their recruitment status – whether or not they have been able to clear the interview process.

Ideally, it’s an organization’s duty not to keep candidates or applicants waiting eagerly for your decision. Sending them an email would ensure they know where they stand and prepare for the next opportunity without wasting any time.

81% of candidates said that employers who continuously communicate status updates improve the candidate experience. Not only this, but it also significantly affects your employer’s brand. Organizations that often keep all candidates informed about their recruitment status are perceived positively – hence candidates are more likely to apply for job opportunities in the future with the same employer.

Why is it Vital to Send Out a Rejection Email?

Updating each of your rejected candidates about their recruitment status can be pursued as an extremely positive practice – only if done the right way (more on this later).

Sending out an email to your candidates is also a sign of respect and shows that you value the time and effort they put into applying for a job at your company. Here are the top 3 reasons why you must send interview rejection emails and not leave any candidate uninformed:

  1. It helps in establishing a strong relationship with candidates. It should be noted that some of them can gain experience and apply again in the future   
  1. If you know about some candidates being close to getting hired but missing out due to some reasons, which usually happens, you can stay connected with them for future opportunities.
  1. 72% of candidates share their recruiting experiences online – which can make or break your employer's brand and can define the quality of talent you will be sourcing in the future.

As a recruiter, you should be transparent with candidates – no matter the results of assessments or interviews. Even if you have the slightest confusion regarding a candidate’s selection, make it clear and do not give them false hopes. You can do everything to make them not feel bad, and you should – try encouraging them or inspiring them for the next opportunities.

How to Write a Great Interview Rejection Email? 

A perfect candidate rejection email needs you to take care of the following elements:

  • Thank them for applying: No matter the results, you should always be thankful to candidates for applying to your open positions as a recruiter. They are putting in their time and effort, so be extra polite with candidates rejected in recruitment.
  • Personalize it: Use the candidate’s first name wherever possible, and try to add a few elements from their resume. You can also pick up something that impressed you.
  • Give feedback when possible: The best thing you can do for a positive candidate experience is to provide them with constructive feedback. It also helps in improving your employer brand.
  • Invite them to apply again: Especially in cases where you feel they can be a good fit in the future, do include an invitation to apply again. Generally, you should make all candidates feel that they are always welcome to apply for relevant open roles in the future.  

4 Best Candidate Rejection Email Templates

Let’s now dive straight onto the templates you can directly use for interview rejection emails. We have tried to add personalized elements which would further enhance the open rate and candidate experience. 

You can use these templates directly or curate them as per your requirements. Remember to explicitly explain the reason for their rejection, and do provide constructive feedback for helping them improve. If you didn’t conduct all the interviews (which happens in most cases) – take inputs from your team members and the interview panels. You can also use the database they use to populate each candidate’s evaluation.

From application rejection to interview rejection and everything in between – let’s get started with email templates for all possible use cases.

1. Application Rejection Email Template

Email Subject Line: Your application to {CompanyName}


Hi {FirstName} [insert candidate’s first name],

Thank you for applying to {CompanyName} [insert your company’s name] for the {JobTitle} position.

We are delighted to receive your application and really appreciate your interest in joining our company.

After reviewing a large number of applications that we received for the position of [insert position title] thoroughly, we have to inform you that – unfortunately, your profile is not selected and we won’t be able to invite you to the next phase of our recruitment drive this time.

Your [insert education/skills/qualifications/work experience] are impressive, but they do not meet our needs right now. So we have decided to move forward with other candidates to fill up the gaps for this particular role.

Your commitment and willingness to get things done is amazing. We certainly appreciate your expertise in [insert industry] and interest in our company. 

Once again, thank you for your interest, and the time and energy you invested in the application.

Feel free to keep us in mind in the future and apply for our jobs. We certainly hope you do.

In case you have any queries or need additional information, you can contact me by replying to this email, or reaching out to me at [insert your email address] or phone [insert your phone number].

I along with my team, wish you every personal and professional success in your future.

Best Regards,

[insert your full name]

[insert your job position title]


2. Candidate Rejection Email Template: After Intermediate Interview Round

Email Subject Line: Your application to {CompanyName}

Hi {FirstName},

It was great meeting and chatting with you. We want to thank you so for your interest and the efforts you put into the interview for the position of [insert position title] at our company. But unfortunately, at this time, we have decided not to move forward with you for the next rounds. 

It is a decision that didn’t come up easily. Your skills make you really a strong candidate with a fascinating personality.

While we are not moving forward with you for further rounds, we will definitely keep you in our talent database as a shortlisted profile. We think you could be a good fit for other future openings and will surely reach out in the future if we find an opportunity for you. 

We hope you do not hesitate to apply for our open positions in the future as well.

In case you have any further queries, please feel free to reply to this email, or reach out to me at [insert your email address] or phone [insert your phone number]. I will be more than happy to answer your questions.

I wish you the best for your future endeavors. Thank you again for your time and efforts. 

Best Regards,

[insert your full name]

[insert your job position title]


3. Candidate Rejection Email Template: After Final Interview Round

Email Subject Line: Thank you for applying to {CompanyName}

Hi {FirstName},

We really appreciate your interest for the position of {Job_Title} at {CompanyName} and it was a great experience interacting with you in the interview.

Your skills and achievements were quite impressive. However, after performing an in-depth analysis, we have to inform you that we have chosen to move forward with another candidate for the position this time, as their experience and industry exposure matched our hiring needs more closely.

Our team was certainly moved by your application given your skills and knowledge. While we would not be able to move forward with your candidature, for now, we really think you could be a good fit for other future openings. So we have added your profile to our internal database and will reach out again whenever we find a good match.

We hope you do not hesitate to apply when you find a relevant position at our organization.

Thank you for investing so much of your time and efforts in applying for the position with us. We wish you all the best in your future professional endeavors and your job search.

Best Regards,

[insert your full name]

[insert your job position title]


4. Candidate Rejection Email Template: Including Feedback

Email Subject Line: Your application to {CompanyName}

Hi {FirstName},

First of all, thank you so much for your interest in the {Job_Title} at {CompanyName}. It was a great pleasure interacting with you and we appreciate your time and efforts in taking up an interview with our team.

While your skills and knowledge were really exciting, especially in [insert the skills you were moved by], this time we have chosen to move forward with another candidate bringing in more leadership experience.

Thank you once again for your interest and efforts, and we wish you all the best for your future career endeavors.

Best Regards,

[insert your full name]

[insert your job position title]


Frequently Asked Questions

How do you politely reject an interview candidate?

  • Express gratitude: Thank them for their time and interest in the position.
  • Be clear and concise: Let them know you've decided to move forward with another candidate.
  • Offer optional feedback (optional): If appropriate, you can provide general feedback on their skills or resume, but avoid specifics.  Focus on positive aspects and areas for potential future growth.
  • End on a positive note:  Wish them luck in their job search and let them know you'd keep their resume on file for future opportunities (if applicable).

Should I reject job candidates by phone?

  • Call for finalists:  If a candidate made it to the final stages of the interview process, a phone call is a more personal touch.
  • Email for earlier rounds:  For earlier rounds, an email is perfectly acceptable.  It allows for clear documentation and eliminates the pressure of a live conversation.

How long should an interview rejection letter be?

  • Keep it short and sweet:  One or two paragraphs is sufficient.
  • Focus on the key message:  Thank them, inform them of the decision, and offer a closing sentiment.

Here's an example of a rejection email:

"Dear [Candidate Name],

Thank you for your interest in the [Job Title] position at [Company Name] and for taking the time to interview with us.

We were impressed with your skills and experience in [mention something positive]. However, we have decided to move forward with another candidate whose qualifications more closely align with the specific requirements of the role.

We wish you the best of luck in your job search.


[Your Name]

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