Rejection is a bitter word. It’s an unhappy feeling. You feel that the world is crashing down on you. It evokes hurt, disappointment, and embarrassment. So, how do you tell “no” to somebody without sounding insensitive?

People seeking jobs get rejected oftentimes and being the bearer of the bad news is not an easy task. Candidates spend considerable efforts preparing their resumes and preparing for job interviews and they deserve more than a “thanks, but no thanks” response on their application.

Here are 5 tips on how to tactfully turn down an applicant.

1. Don’t leave them hanging

The decision whether a candidate is accepted or not in the job that he applied for is a waiting game. It’s understandable that filling a position is a process but making a candidate wait for too long leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Making him wait for too long deprives him the chance to move on and look for new opportunities elsewhere.

2. Inform unqualified applicants at once

Some candidates may be quickly ruled out after the first interview. There is no need to beat around the bush in situations like this. A prompt but professional letter of rejection is advisable to send the candidate.

3. Offer a valid reason

There are many reasons why candidates get rejected. Lack of sufficient experience in the role is one of the most effective reasons to tell a candidate that he’s not getting the job. This is way better and more honest than offering some lame justifications for the decision.

4. Suggest an alternative

 Offering advice or alternatives to turned down candidates lessens the sting from the rejection. Offering them suggestions like taking more assessments and trainings or try asking them to apply for roles that are more suitable for them, will make the blow lighter and will make them feel that there is still hope for them.

5. Focus on the future

 Write a genuine and empathetic letter for rejected candidates by thanking them for their time, wishing them the best in finding their next job, and acknowledging their past accomplishments. Kindness always works.

Meanwhile, for candidates that fit the job requirements and are likely to get the job, a well-structured personal letter is advisable to send to make them feel welcome in the company.

We all get turned down in one way or another. The impact is never pleasant. We experience negative feelings that are hard to turn away from and take time to dissipate. While we feel bad about it, it is equally hard for those who reject us to convey the message without causing hurt.

“A clear rejection is always better than a fake promise.”

– Unknown –

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