Rejection Letter Sample and Advice
When You Can’t Accept Them All: Turning Down Candidates
A great internship posting, often leads to a large number of intern applicants. In fact, it is not unusual for employers to get hundreds of applicants for a single role! Since you can't accept them all it is important to have a a clear and respectful response ready for the students you say no to.
If you have a rolling position you may want to respond to candidates in an ongoing basis. On the other hand, if you have a set deadline for your role, it might be easier to send one email to all the candidates who didn't make the cut at once. If you are moving forward with the latter, be sure to BCC all the candidates on your email, as not doing so can lead to a real nightmare, and be highly damaging to your brand.
At InternMatch we found the rejection process to be an opportunity to help the students we say no to. We try to let them know how many students applied (so they can get a feel for the competition level), what the best students did to succeed, and where they could improve. We wrote a blog post about how we reject intern applicants after getting some incredibly thankful and positive responses from one of our rejection letters. That being said we know this kind of detail isn't for everyone. The vast majority of companies we speak to prefer a simple and uniform rejection letter that is clear and professional. Here is a sample below that you can use:
Sample Rejection LetterTo: _____________@___________
Re: 2010 Summer Internship Program at LearnSomething
July 5, 2010
Dear Mr. ________,
My name is _________ and I am the Internship Supervisor at ___________. I want to thank you for your sending us your application for our summer internship program. We appreciate the time you took to apply and we were excited to receive your materials and hear more about your professional interests.
We have finalized our selection process and reviewed your application. However, we have chosen another candidate for the summer position. The internship program received an overwhelming number of applications in a very competitive year. It was a difficult decision considering your experiences.
Thank you for considering an internship at our organization. I encourage you to reapply to next year’s program or check our website for other opportunities.
Best wishes in your career pursuits.
Additional Points to Remember:
Turning down candidates is part of the hiring process and keeping it professional will help you stomach this step as well as keep a candidate’s respect. Before we address suggestions on how to turn down a candidate, let’s discuss 3 reasons why it’s important to let them know in the first place:
Tips to Help Respond: While some organizations will formerly snail mail candidates, email is both faster and commonly accepted by students. Notwithstanding your organization’s policy on the chosen method to respond to candidates, your organization might want to read the following suggestions to help you write this letter:
You can include an additional sentence, if relevant, about the competition that year, the number of applicants, or about the difficulty of the decision. This gives the candidate some insight into the process. But stay away from phrases you don’t mean or from going into a long discussion into the hiring process. Remember, keep it concise.
Cover image: Olivier Charavel via Creative Commons
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