Sample Letters to Reject a Job Applicant After a Second Interview

Typewriter and Job Applicant Rejection Letter
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Do you need a sample job rejection letter? These sample job rejection letters are for candidates who interviewed with your organization twice. It is painful to send a job rejection letter to a candidate whom you found qualified enough to tap for a second interview. But, it happens.

Job Rejection Letters Make Business Sense

Use these sample job rejection letters to professionally and politely, with care and concern, tell your second interview candidates that they did not get the job.

Your reputation with job candidates, which is built one candidate at a time, is critical to your ongoing ability to attract the best and most skilled employees to your firm. Candidates make decisions about your company based on their treatment by your interview team.

Consequently, and especially after a candidate has invested the time and energy in applying for the job and making two visits to your firm, you owe him or her a job rejection letter. You need to officially notify your candidate about your decision to hire a different candidate. These sample job rejection letters will guide you as you write your own.

Start With a Follow-Up Phone Call

A candidate who has interviewed at your firm on two occasions deserves more than a rejection letter. She deserves special treatment. In the instance of a candidate whom you are rejecting after a second interview, please pick up the phone. You owe a candidate, who has progressed this far in your hiring process, a phone call.

Be prepared for the candidate to ask you for feedback about his or her candidacy when you call. The candidate feels as if he knows you and will seek your input when you call to formally notify him that you have selected a different candidate for the job.

Unfortunately, at this stage in your hiring process, the only feedback that you are likely able to provide is that you decided to hire another candidate. I used to tell candidates that we hired a person who is more qualified and a better fit for our job. No more.

The Legal Implications of Giving Too Much Feedback

An attorney warned us not to use this approach to informing the job candidate of his fate. If a rejected candidate sued the employer for discrimination, this simple statement opened the employer up to the possibility that the lawyers could request a copy of the application materials of every candidate who was considered.

Part of a resulting trial might be the consideration of whether the other applicants were more qualified. Consequently, I don't recommend that employers give a reason for the rejection anymore.

If the rejected candidate asks you for feedback, consider pointing out several of the strengths your hiring team noted during the interview process.

After making the phone call, follow up with a version of these, or similar, job rejection letters.

Sample Job Rejection Letter

This is a job rejection letter example. Download the job rejection letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.

Screenshot of a job rejection letter sample
The Balance

This sample rejection letter is brief, to-the-point, and assumes that what you wanted to convey to your candidate occurred during your follow-up phone call.

Sample Job Rejection Letter (Text Version)

March 1, 20XX

Ms. Arwen Matthews
1345 Middle Street
Sullivans Island, SC 29482

Dear Arwen,

I wanted to follow-up after our phone call with official notification that Marshall's has selected another candidate for the position of sales manager. 

As I said during our call, your experience and credentials made the selection committee's job challenging. I would also like to re-emphasize the fact that the team would like to see you apply for additional openings that fit your credentials in the future.

We enjoyed getting to know you and want to wish you great success in both your job search and in your next professional position.

Again, thank you for taking the time to interview.


Kathleen Janssen
Human Resources Manager
On Behalf of Mark Mason and the Interview Team

It is a second sample job rejection letter for a candidate who was considered through the second interview stage by your firm and was not selected for the position.

Second Sample Job Rejection Letter

August 1, 2019

Almira Nieto
8765 Copeman Blvd.
Charleston, SC 29413

Dear Almira,

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit our company on two occasions to interview for our open customer service position. The interview team was impressed with your credentials and experience.

The purpose of this letter is to thank you and also to let you know for the record that we have selected another candidate for the job. As we discussed during our phone call last week, the decision was difficult given the many strengths we felt you would bring to the position.

Even though another candidate was chosen for this job, we'd like to encourage you to consider applying for jobs that fit your credentials and experience with us in the future. Smith-Kline is frequently seeking new employees to fill open jobs. Your continued interest in our company is appreciated.

You have many skills and capabilities that your next employer will appreciate should you decide to continue your job search. We wish you well in your job search and the next phase of your professional career.

We appreciate your interest in our company. Again, best wishes in your next endeavors.


Margaret Sampson
HR Director on Behalf of the Interview Team

Here is a sample job rejection letter for a candidate who was considered through the second interview stage by your firm.

Third Sample Rejection Letter


John Tompkins
94307 Applewood Drive
Small Town, Virginia 24577

Dear John:

The Johnson Company interview team wants to thank you for taking the time to participate in our hiring process through the second interview stage. This letter is to let you know that we have selected another candidate.

You were an exceptional candidate for our job, and we hope that you apply for openings at Johnson Company for which you qualify in the future. While you were not selected for the current opening, the interview team did not make this decision lightly. Your future applications will receive a thorough review.

Again, thank you for taking the time to come to Johnson Company to meet our interview team. We enjoyed meeting you, and our discussions indicated that you have much to offer your next employer.

We wish you both personal and professional success in your job search and in the future. We appreciate your interest in our organization.


Real Person's Name and Signature
Example: HR Director for the Employee Selection Team

The Bottom Line

The job rejection letter is your last opportunity to build a relationship with your job candidates. Especially after getting to know a candidate through the second interview stage, you will want the candidate to think favorably of your company. You thought favorably of them even if they were not selected for your job.

They have likely met five-ten of your employees, managers, and in a team selection process, they may have met even more employees. The candidate is taking a permanent perception of your company with them—help make it a good impression.

Protect the Candidate's Feelings and the Company's Reputation

You will have accomplished this goal if you have communicated with the candidate at every decision point in your hiring process. Candidates appreciate feeling as if you cared about them and that their efforts to apply for your open position were appreciated. Even when a candidate fails to get the job, open communication is a win.

Your reputation as an employer is affected by this candidate and by the opinions of the people who are affected by this candidate's treatment. Don't ever believe that this is unimportant for your reputation as a potential employer.

Send a formal job rejection letter to a candidate after he or she is not selected for the job following a second interview.

Please note that the information provided, while authoritative, is not guaranteed for accuracy and legality. The site is read by a worldwide audience, and employment laws and regulations vary from state to state and country to country. Please seek legal assistance, or assistance from State, Federal, or International governmental resources, to make certain your legal interpretation and decisions are correct for your location. This information is for guidance, ideas, and assistance.

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