How To Professionally Turn Someone Down For A Job

April 26, 2016

You just conducted your last round of interviews to fill an open position, and finally picked your candidate.


However, your job is not done yet. You must now compile a list of all the individuals you did not end up extending job offers to, and let them know about your decision.

While some managers call every single person, that can be extremely time-consuming.

Instead, a perfectly acceptable way of notification is sending an email.

This email should be friendly, yet to the point, relating your message while attempting not to offend anyone.

Here is a blueprint for drafting an email to turn down a candidate for a job.

Subject Title

The subject of the email is important, so don’t leave it blank.

Also, don’t state the reason for the email in the title, as you want to gently go into that in the body of the email.

An appropriate subject title would be “Marketing Assistant Position at ABC Company.”

Or, if the candidate emailed you previously, you can simply respond back to that email.

The Good

Don’t start off with stating that the candidate did not get the job right away.

A good strategy is to follow a “good-bad-good” news blueprint.

Start with the good – thank the individual for applying to the position, and taking the time to come in for an interview.

If you have the time and can recollect any positive aspects the person had to offer, list them here.

For example, “I was impressed by the caliber of the marketing campaigns you created at your previous company.”

The Bad

After writing a few positive lines, state in a very succinct way that the person was not chosen for the position. Here are some ideas on how to phrase this:

  • “While you had strong qualifications for this position, ultimately it wasn’t the best fit.”
  • “I must inform you that another candidate was chosen for this position.”
  • “I regret to say that we cannot offer you a job at this time.”

The Good 2.0

Right after the bad, cushion the blow by mentioning something positive.

Write that you will keep the person’s resume on file, and will contact them should another opportunity come up.

Or, state that their skills and experience will surely lead to a job offer at a more appropriate company.

If you have many candidates you must reply to, you can create a template, and simply fill in the individual information.

Remember that taking the time to alert a candidate for a job that they did not get it  is not only professional, but the right thing to do.

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