How to Reject Candidates With Grace

Emonics LLC
3 min readNov 30, 2020


No matter the context, rejection stings. It means a failure or inadequacy and usually occurs in some respects after having exposed yourself. Rejection prowls around these actions from proclamations of love or submissions of creativity. It seems rather jarring that one of the main sources of rejection in our job applications for life is often dealt with so callously.

There we’ve all been. Whether it’s a one-line HR email telling us that we didn’t get the job, an automated response, or no communication at all these refusals are ten a penny. In particular given the current state of things in 2020, they are demoralizing and quite frankly, inappropriate.

Over three-quarters of a million jobs have been shed from company pay rolls since March, according to The Guardian. 60 million Americans have filed for unemployment, Forbes notes. Joblessness is reaching new highs in the midst of a global pandemic, but what we’re forgetting is that people are behind these numbers. People who witness fresh lows. Individuals who try their best. And people who apply for employment in the hope that they will climb out of a miasma of uncertainty and fear. While rejections are inevitable in this climate, there is a need to change the way companies reject candidates.

Personalize your correspondence

Humanity has to come to the fore. How employers need to become more mindful of the people who are applying for employment behind the postings. The same grace must also be applied to how employers refuse individuals. And from an early stage, the candidate is regarded like a respected professional. Articulate appreciation for their time and tell them that the position is not compatible with them. With suitable haste, respond and leave the door open. When you’re looking for jobs, hope is in such a meagre supply, so don’t shoot salt into the wound.


Offer to provide feedback if the applicant has managed to get through a few rounds or even made it to the interview stage. 94 percent of candidates actively want this according to LinkedIn, and after receiving positive input, they are apparently four times more likely to seek potential opportunities with the company. And here’s the ticket. Find out if they just want input first and make sure it corresponds to the criteria of the work. Genuine advice would be valued and will turn some candidates for silver medals into potential candidates for gold.

Long-term effect

There are also some actionable outcomes from enhancing your rejection communications, apart from being the right and friendly thing to do. The cornerstone for a potential partnership with candidates would be laid by a compassionate response. It lets you create a healthy talent pool for your company, enabling you to reach out with trust if subsequent roles arise. Ignoring or submitting harsh rejections can alienate you too easily. This may have a significant impact on your employer’s name. From bad comments on company review websites to the reluctance of a rejected candidate to suggest referrals to the organization, it is clear that the contact matters.


According to the World Economic Forum, the first step in learning how to recruit better is learning how to reject applicants better. When you put people first, people are more likely to give you wise advice for many walks of life first! To personalize your replies and infuse society with them. You never know who’s in your inbox at the other end. Treat them and always note the person you are trying to express with dignity.



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