Skip to main content

"Darren Dewrance went above and beyond my expectations in sourcing me my perfect role. I was kept in regular communication with Darren and he worked extremely hard on securing my dream job."

Russell Sealy, Candidate

How To Write A Job Rejection Letter

Unfortunately, not everyone you interview during recruitment will be right for your business. For whatever reason, there will always be cases where the applicant just isn't right. Time is valuable in business, but there is a range of reasons why you should respond to candidates with a simple rejection letter. Here's our guide to rejecting applicants and a sample letter for you to use for your candidates.

Why is it worth writing a rejection letter?

Rejected applicants should still have a good opinion of your business:

Even if a candidate doesn't meet your requirements, it's important to treat them with respect to avoid them spreading negative comments about your company. In a similar vein of thought to customer service interactions, a bad experience is far more likely to be shared than a good one.

It can save you time:

Candidates who have invested time in a job vacancy will often reach out to employers who they have not heard back from. A simple interview rejection letter can save valuable time by letting candidates know where they stand.

Candidates may still be of use in the future:

Often when an applicant isn't suitable for a current position, they could be ideal for another role presently or in the future. This is particularly important in specialist fields, as these industries are small worlds where you will likely interact with the same person again.

Rejection letters are easy to write:

A simple response can be written and posted within minutes, and candidates are usually satisfied with one simple, constructive piece of feedback that they can take into the future. Here is a sample interview rejection letter written by Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment:

View the full job rejection letter sample in your browser here.

Things to consider:

All applicants want from a rejection letter is a piece of constructive criticism that will help them in job applications for the future. When interviewing a candidate or reading through an application, it can be good practice to already think of that one piece of constructive criticism you can give if you have decided they are unsuitable for the position.

There will be occasions where you want to put more time and effort into writing a rejection letter, and this is to be expected. Examples of these times can be:

  • An applicant where you have a personal relationship already – Often it can be worth going into a bit more detail why they are not suitable for a position with candidates who you deal with regularly. In these cases, a phone call can often be more appropriate.
  • Lengthy recruitment processes – For a vacancy with a series of rounds, e.g. first, second and third interviews, it is usually worth writing a more personal rejection letter. If a candidate has passed a series of rounds it will probably be someone you could consider in the future!
  • Someone who has obviously invested a lot of effort – Candidates who have travelled a long distance or have had to invest a lot of time into an application should deserve a more detailed rejection letter than someone who has failed on the first round due to a psychometric test. This is common sense but goes back to the idea that you want to give people who could talk about your business a good experience, even if they have been rejected.

Letter, email, or phone call?

In this day and age, the majority of rejection letters are sent through email. After all, over 90% of job applications are sent through a website or email anyway! 

However, usually, in particularly formal cases, there can be occasions where a letter can be sent through post to an applicant's address. This can happen when an application has to be sent through a letter in the first place.
A phone call is most suitable for a candidate who has invested a lot of effort into a recruitment process. The same best practices apply to rejection phone calls, where it's important to have at least one piece of constructive criticism in mind and to thank the applicant for the time they have spent getting to know your business. Make sure to end the call positively and field any questions they might have about where they went wrong.

What's the best timing for sending a rejection letter?

A common misconception with sending rejection letters is that you need to wait a given period after the application or interview to treat the candidate with respect. Employers often think that if they send a rejection too quickly, candidates will feel down that they haven't had sufficient consideration. 

However, in most cases, you will know relatively quickly whether a candidate is a good fit or not for the position. During these times, you will have an immediate reason why they don't fit the job, e.g., failing a required skills test, not having a relevant qualification, or having too little or even too much experience. As long as you pass this reason over to the candidate, there's no reason why you can't send the rejection letter even the day after an interview or application. 
There will be cases where you need to discuss with your colleagues or deliberate over a candidate, and this process can be as long as it needs to be. For particularly long decision-making periods, it can be a good idea to send a simple response to candidates to thank them for their time and to ensure them you will get back to them after you have made a decision.

Rejecting an internal candidate

For many vacancies, the position will be advertised both internally and externally for applications. Rejecting a candidate who is already part of your business can be a special case, as it's important to treat them with as much respect as possible to make sure they are still happy in their current position. Often it can be worth following up a letter with a quick one-to-one meeting to ensure them they are still valued in your organisation. Tell them why they were unsuitable for the vacancy and how you will help them with their personal development in the future.

Rejecting a candidate based on 'cultural fit'

'Cultural fit' in recruitment can be a controversial area, as it often comes across as an employer just picking an excuse out of the bag if they can't put their finger on why someone isn't right. Despite this, recruiting someone who is going to fit into your organisation and get on with people is a crucial element of the job and shouldn't be underestimated. When rejecting a candidate based on a personal element, it's important to be careful in how you say or write it, as you can open yourself up to discrimination claims if you're not careful. 
When scrutinising candidates based on cultural fit, our best advice is to refer back to your organisation's values and think carefully about how you say why they wouldn't fit. Often there will be other reasons for rejection, and it might just be easier to state something other than 'cultural fit'.
Finally, if you are recruiting and you feel you are struggling to find the right fit for a vacancy, get in touch with Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment.
Published: 29th December 2021
Rob Scott, Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment, Author Photo

About the author

Rob Scott

Rob is the Managing Director of Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment, a national recruitment agency specialising in sourcing sales and marketing staff for businesses across a broad range of commercial sectors. Before setting up Aaron Wallis, Rob spent ten years at a specialist Sales and Marketing recruitment division of a £0.5BN recruitment group, leaving in 2007 as Marketing & Sales Director to establish Aaron Wallis.
With over 24 years of experience in sales recruitment, Rob is a History graduate with an MBA (Merit) and a PgCert in Management Practice.  In 2007, 2009 and 2013 Rob conducted the most extensive surveys of sales professionals in the UK and is a trusted authority in the sales industry. From guiding employers through the recruitment process to helping candidates find their dream job, Rob's advice has been quoted in leading publications such as Business Insider and The Independent, as well as OnRec, which host The Online Recruitment Awards every year.

Please call us to discuss your vacancy

Milton Keynes



Our employers say...

In an industry where people over promise and under deliver, Rob and his teams have consistently provided a high-quality service. It is great to deal with someone that has an excellent understanding of UK industry, and a passion for sales.

Sales Manager, TR Fasteners

We were impressed not only by the quality of candidates you found for us but also the level of information, preparation and qualification you put into the process. You continually kept us informed of each person’s feelings about the process, which is very important but often overlooked. I am looking forward to working with your company again in the future.

Commercial Director, Incentive Facilities Management

I found Aaron Wallis to be very professional and efficient, taking time to understand the role and the type of candidate we were looking for. The candidates they put forward met our criteria and were of a high standard. The service they provided was exemplary and I would have no hesitation in recommending them, and will certainly consider using them again in the future.

HR Assistant, Fischer Connectors Ltd

Since joining DSGi, Rob has been a supplier of permanent staff and has performed to an extremely high standard, successfully filling 98% of roles he has worked on. If anyone is looking for a good sales and marketing based consultancy with an informal yet professional approach, I would recommend Rob.

Senior Recruitment Consultant, DSG International

Giles Phillips is a rare find in the minefield of sales recruitment; an honest and thoughtful recruiter who considers the needs of both the client AND the candidate to create perfect role matches. I look forward to working with him again in the future.

Marketing Director, City of London Police

We appointed Aaron Wallis in February and the successful candidate, out of the six which Aaron Wallis introduced, was able to join Alphametrics before the end of April. The whole process took less than three months. I would recommend Aaron Wallis' services to others without hesitation.

Chief Financial Officer, Alphametrics

I have always found Rob to be very knowledgeable about our industry sector, and it is refreshing to see after all of these years that Rob continues to quickly and accurately understand my requirements.

HR and General Manager, THK

I have used Aaron Wallis to fill a number of our Sales Development Manager roles and I have found them to provide a very professional service. I will use their services again in future recruitment campaigns.

HR Business Partner, Greene King

Rob’s knowledge of the recruitment industry and his thoughts and how to make it better for his clients have always been eye opening. I would recommend Rob to anybody who is looking for a professional, knowledgeable and flexible recruitment specialist.

CEO, Friday Ad Online Services

Understood the type of person we were looking for and good follow ups - not too frequent.

Managing Director, bigHead Bonding Fasteners Ltd

Aaron Wallis has continuously provided us with suitable candidates that have been proactively sourced. Having used countless recruitment companies, Aaron Wallis are the only company that I can count on to deliver.

Managing Director, JARK Healthcare Recruitment

Rob is a true recruitment professional that goes the extra mile that I have never experienced from any other recruitment agency before. If you need sales people call Rob or someone in his team, as they really are experts in sales recruitment.

Sales Director, Inside Business

I just wanted to thank you for your help with our recruitment process which went very smoothly and has – we hope – found us just the person for the job!

Managing Director, Citrefine International Ltd

I really liked the YouTube presentations which made the service seem both simple and accessible. The company came to see me, and my management team, at short notice to present their service and I liked the support and advice that I received about maximising the results from the applicant.

Managing Director, Leisuresec plc

Giles is highly professional and was a pleasure to work with. He achieves excellent results through his personable skills and tenacity. I have no hesitation in recommending Giles to anyone who considers employing his services.

Commercial Director, G4S Government & Outsourcing Solutions

Thanks for all your help during the recruitment process. I have been extremely impressed with Aaron Wallis especially when compared to other agencies we have dealt with. I really felt you grasped the type of person we required and found strong candidates.

UK Sales Manager, Nexcom

Our candidates say...

Fantastic service, helped me find my ideal job quickly and smoothly. Would highly recommend them.

C. Caine, Candidate

Less than two weeks after joining Aaron Wallis I was offered my new job. I got a £10,000 rise in my basic salary, car allowance, a laptop and many other perks, which will help to further my career. I definitely would not have found my dream job without the help of Aaron Wallis.

C. Hoy, Candidate

Really excellent experience dealing with Aaron Wallis. Liam Oakes who helped me get a great job was brilliant. Kept me up to date during the process and offered great help and advice, and a thoroughly nice guy. Highly recommended!

J. Hathaway, Candidate

Perfect from start to finish. Simon deserves a shout out. Best recruiter there is. If you need a job, this guy will get you one. He's like the super man of recruiters. Top man, can't recommend him enough.

M. Crisp, Candidate

Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment are a very friendly and professional recruitment organisation who listen to your needs, work with you and act on your behalf which sets them apart from many of their competitors who in my experience are willing to throw anything at you. We discussed my history, my preferences and my wishes - one opportunity was introduced. It was perfect. I start at the end of June.

R. Buckley, Candidate

Good swift process with Aaron Wallis, informative regarding the role and the process was moved at a good pace with healthy interaction. Would recommend them to anyone pursuing a change.

S. Bartlett, Candidate

Excellent experience from first contact to ultimately securing a suitable placement. Giles looked after me in a very professional and friendly manner. He used his expertise and experience to ensure I was put forward for the most suitable positions for my skill set and found me a new role very quickly. I can't recommend Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment highly enough.

M. Green, Candidate

I can honestly say that the time and expertise you gave me was way beyond any other recruitment consultant I dealt with. You are a rarity in your industry.

S. Akers, Candidate

Very good advice and support was given during the course of the interviewing process. Potential job seekers would be well advised to use this company whilst looking for their new career.

R. Speakman, Candidate

Fantastic customer service, communication was brilliant, happy polite people to talk to, made everything a lot easier and smoother. Thank you for all your help getting me back in the work force, Keep up the good work :-)

K. Everitt, Candidate

I have to say coming across and having dealings with Aaron Wallis proved to be very successful. Being highly experienced did not seem to count for much during my job search bit a conversation with Robert Scott gave me a real confidence boost and enabled to get a position at the age of 63. Great service!!!

D. Burgess, Candidate

The Recruitment agent I used, Simon, was extremely helpful and really went the extra mile to ensure all of my questions were answered, and that I felt as comfortable and prepared as possible. Very professional company and would definitely recommend to others. Thank you Aaron Wallis!

A. Callaby, Candidate

Aaron Wallis (and in particular Rob Scott) have been fantastic throughout the recruitment process, and even a few months down the line, still continues to care. Rob clearly cares about each individual and has a wealth of knowledge and expertise, which shows in the work he does. Each candidate is not just a number, and the support received from Aaron Wallis has helped me get a career which I truly enjoy.

M. White, Candidate 

I've had a really good experience working with Giles Phillips at Aaron Wallis. From initial contact to the finer details of securing the job, he has been very professional and a pleasure to work with.

M. Shutt, Candidate

Aaron Wallis helped me secure a position I really wanted. Giles sought to keep me updated with all the details preceding interviews and after with feedback. I would highly recommend Giles and Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment.

L. Taylor, Candidate

The service provided by Aaron Wallis has been just great. I was constantly informed about what was going on with the process interview and the agent has always been supportive and kind to me.

L. Colagrossi, Candidate

A great recruitment company to work with. Excellent experience with Aaron Wallis through the entire recruitment process. The team was really professional and extremely helpful. Darren was a pleasure to work with. He was friendly, supportive and gave me great advice. Thank you very much!

A. Bauchet, Candidate

Aaron Wallis is an outstanding recruitment agency specialising in high calibre sales positions. I was working directly with Darren Dewrance who went above and beyond my expectations in sourcing me my perfect role. I was kept in regular communication with Darren and he worked extremely hard to secure my dream job. Highly recommended and Thanks Darren for all your expertise and hard work.

R. Sealy, Candidate

Aaron Wallis have provided me with an excellent service, Giles went out of his way to help me preparing for my interview and supported me through all the processes. If you need an agency to give you a fully professional and consultative approach to finding you a new career move, the Aaron Wallis can certainly provide this for you.

D. Richards, Candidate

Excellent service, very professional and friendly, would and have, recommended Aaron Wallis.

E. Heley, Candidate