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Similar to other business correspondence, an employment rejection letter should be written in a professional tone. The first thing you should do is thank the applicant for his or her time and attention during the interview process. Rejection is usually difficult for people to contend with, so be as kind as you can and avoid criticism. There is generally no benefit to pointing out an applicant's flaws or shortcomings. Be honest, though, and do not give false hope about a future position within the company unless you believe such an opportunity may exist at a later time.
You should send an employment rejection letter as soon as you know that the applicant is no longer a candidate. Delaying the inevitable will only encourage follow-up phone calls from the person, who may be anxious to know the status of his or her fate within your organization. Waiting too long to send the notice may lead to frustration, and then negative emotions may arise or intensify.
Personalizing the content of an employment rejection letter will usually lead to an applicant's respect for the attention and time you take to address him or her by name. Avoid sending form letters. Including a compliment, whether you mention the person's enthusiasm, great attitude, or other quality that you admire, may help take some of the sting out of being denied a job.
It is important to remember not to include unfavorable remarks or criticism, because it may illicit negative feelings about you and your company. Instead, wish the applicant luck with his or her future endeavors. If you would like to state a reason behind your decision not to hire an individual, it is a good idea to generalize, while keeping the tone positive. Complete your letter with a professional closing and sign it at the bottom. The contents of your correspondence should be type-written, but the signature should be hand-written by you — and not a signature stamp or other printed text.
Sending correspondence through traditional mail is often the best way to deliver an employment rejection letter. If you choose to send an email instead, you are more likely to get a response or plea for reconsideration. Due to the instantaneous nature of email and ease of replying, you are also more likely to delay closure for the applicant. Sometimes, sending emails can lead to continued or uncomfortable communication between a hiring manager and a rejected applicant.
@SZapper - I agree. I would rather they put me out of my misery if I didn't get the job than leave me on the edge of my seat for weeks waiting to hear back!
As difficult as it is to be the interviewee, being the interviewer isn't always a picnic. Sometimes people who are qualified on paper are just unpalatable in person. Also, a lot of people are desperate for a job these days which makes turning someone down even more stressful!
However, I would like to stress to job seekers to avoid replying to the rejection letter for employment. Trust me, if you've already been passed over, nothing you can say is going to change that. It just makes you look bad!
Job hunting is extremely stressful. Sending in your resume, going on the interview and then waiting to hear back from the company is enough to send anyone over the edge. The absolute worst are companies that don't tell you anything if they don't want to hire you.
Personally I think sending an applicant a job rejection letter as soon as possible is the kindest thing to do. Yes, being passed over for a job is upsetting. But at least if the letter is sent soon enough it can eliminate some stress for the applicant.
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