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How to tell someone they did not get the job

Updated April 17, 2017

No one wants to hear that she didn't get the job. As a human resources manager or small business owner, it's up to you to tell the candidate. There are more people searching for jobs in this economy, which means there will be more chances of turning people down. There are two standard ways to let a job candidate down. You can give them the bad news in either a phone call or a letter. Just make sure to break the news in a professional, sincere and positive manner.

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  1. Thank the job candidate for his interest in the company. Let him know that you appreciate the time he took to apply and interview with your company.

  2. State that the candidate does have strong skills, experience or qualifications. Explain how she might be a good fit in your company.

  3. Explain why you're not able to make a job offer. Use phrases such as, "We're seeking a candidate who has more experience." Don't use any negative feedback. It's hard enough for the candidate to hear the news about the job offer.

  4. Respond to the candidate's questions or inquiries. Be prompt when answering questions, and respond on a professional level. They'll be likely to reapply with your company if they receive all the necessary information.

  5. Inform the candidate about other current or future openings. Let her know that she can apply again if you are interested in the candidate.

  6. Wish the candidate well with his future endeavours. It shows that you have respect for the candidate.

  7. Tip

    Get to the point. Give the applicant the news as soon as you have an acceptance from your top candidate. You don't want to leave the other applicants hanging. Keep applications on file for at least six months. If you have to turn down many candidates, it's best to use the same rejection letter for each one.


    Follow company policies on communicating with applicants. Don't be discriminatory when it comes to interviewing or hiring candidates. Follow your state and federal laws regarding employment.

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About the Author

Based in Massachusetts, Chanel Adams has been writing since 2009. Her work has been published by the "Lowell Sun," MadeMan.com, Coed Media and other print and online publications. She has knowledge in fashion, careers, health, education, computers and electronics. Adams has an Associate of Science in administrative medical assisting from San Joaquin Valley College.

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