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Email Template: How to Follow Up with Candidates You Don’t Hire

Recruiting Tips
Wednesday, Mar 14, 2018
Email Template: How to Follow Up with Candidates You Don’t Hire

Key Points:

  • Candidate relationship management also applies to rejected applicants.
  • Application status notifications and interview feedback can give candidates a positive impression of your brand, even if they’re rejected.
  • Rejection emails don’t have to mean goodbye; instead, the application conversation for “silver medalist” candidates can be continued.

 

For every successful candidate you hire to fill a position, at least a few candidates won’t make the cut. It’s a good idea to follow up with them to let them know they’re no longer being considered for the position. Otherwise, these candidates may feel like they’re left in limbo and over time may develop a poor opinion of your organization.  

Responding to unsuccessful job applicants via email, whether it’s a rejection to a resume submission or a follow-up after an interview, is a significant part of the candidate relationship management process. It serves several purposes for you and your organization.

  • It improves your brand image.  Quickly and professionally following up with an unsuccessful candidate can help leave a positive impression of your employer brand. Coincidentally, 59% of employers are making more investments in their brand compared to previous years.
  • It boosts your talent pipeline. Sometimes, a candidate isn’t a great fit for the position they applied to but could benefit your company in another role. By staying engaged with candidates you know are interested in your company, you can increase your talent pipeline and fill positions quickly.
  • It enhances the candidate experience. 58% of candidates with a previous negative impression of an organization indicated they would not apply again in the future. Professional, personalized rejection letters help give unsuccessful candidates a better experience and may help your company’s future growth plans.

So, what does a positive rejection letter to an unsuccessful candidate look like? Below, we dive into the importance of rejection letters at each stage, as well as a few tips and customizable recruitment email templates to help you provide a better candidate experience, protect your brand image, and grow your talent pipeline.

Why applicant rejection emails are so important

While any kind of rejection letter carries an air of negativity, sending one to an applicant is a decent gesture. It lets them know not to get their hopes up for the role and to keep going with their job search. Otherwise, they may continue to hold out hope for an interview that will never come – hope that may eventually turn to resentment towards your brand.

However, you have a chance to earn goodwill towards your organization when you let candidates know that you’ll keep them in mind for other roles that may be a better fit for them. In fact, 80% of job seekers say they wouldn’t consider future relevant job openings at a company that didn’t follow up about their application – yet they would be 3.5 times more likely to re-apply to a company if they were notified of their rejection.

Beyond that, sending a rejection letter that reads like it was written by a real person, rather than just a form letter, can help soften the blow and let the candidate know you value the time they spent researching and applying to your organization.

Application Rejection Email Template:

Hello [Candidate Name],

Thank you for expressing interest in [Company] and the [Job Title] position for which you applied. While we were impressed with your qualifications, unfortunately we’ve decided to move forward with other applicants whose skills and experience better meet our needs at this time.

We sincerely appreciate your interest in [Company] and hope that you’ll stay in touch. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if we have another open role that interests you.

To stay up to date on current job openings and ensure you’re included in our search for future great candidates, we encourage you to join our talent community and connect with us here: <Link to Talent 

Pipeline Nurture Page>.

Best wishes,

<Sender Name>

Here are some tips for writing a rejection email following a resume submission or application:

  • Do not send the email out immediately after you’ve decided to reject the candidate. You should let enough time pass for the candidate to know you thoroughly reviewed their application.
  • Let the candidate know that they should feel free to apply for other positions they may find at your company.
  • Give the candidate a choice to opt into your candidate relationship management program to receive notifications about new, relevant job openings.

Interview rejection emails need a delicate touch

A rejection after an interview requires a delicate touch. Remember, the candidate took time to meet with you and spent time researching your organization. A connection was developed at some level, so a personalized rejection letter is a must when you decide to move on from a candidate.

All the same reasons for sending an application rejection email also apply here, but an interview rejection can also serve a few additional purposes. First, it allows you to give the candidate feedback on their interview; this is a critical component of the interview process that many candidates crave. They’re most likely applying for many jobs at the same time and want as much feedback as they can get to make themselves desirable candidates. At the same time, you can continue your relationship with “silver medalist” candidates – those candidates that were very strong but were either missing a couple of key requirements or would be better suited to a different position. Instead of a “goodbye,” the rejection letter becomes a tool to keep the conversation going.

Interview Rejection Email Template:

Hello [Candidate Name],

Thank you for taking the time to speak to me regarding our [Job Title] position. While I was impressed with your qualifications and experience, especially [information you learned in the interview], we’ve unfortunately decided to move forward with other applicants whose skills and experience better meet our needs at this time.

We sincerely appreciate your interest in [Company] and hope that you’ll stay in touch. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if we have another open role that interests you.

To stay up to date on current job openings and ensure you’re included in our search for future great candidates, we encourage you to join our talent community and connect with us here: <Link to Talent Pipeline Nurture Page>.

Regards,

[Sender Name]

Some tips for writing a rejection email following a phone screen or in-person interview:

  • Make sure you customize the email and, if possible, mention something positive about the candidate that you learned from the interview.
  • Don’t use a tone that is too stiff – the email should feel personal and not like a form letter.
  • Again, provide an opportunity for the candidate to opt into a candidate relationship management program to receive communications about job openings and networking events.

iCIMS Nurture allows recruiters to regularly communicate through email campaigns with prospective candidates and silver-medalist candidates who weren’t right for a specific role. Recruiters can then use reporting technology to track how those candidates apply to jobs or register for networking events. iCIMS also tracks important email metrics like open- and click-through rates to help improve the impact of future recruitment campaigns.

For more information about candidate relationship software and how to promote a positive brand image, please check out The Big Impact of Authentic Candidate Communication.

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