You just finished interviewing some great candidates for your latest job opening. You wish you could hire every one of them or send them all through to the next step in the hiring process, but you know you have to eliminate the less qualified candidates from the bunch.

While nobody likes to be the bearer of bad news, somebody’s got to do it. As the HR manager or recruiter for this position, the task is likely to fall directly on you. But how do you let them down gently and in a way that continues to build a positive impression of your company?

Before you send a generic let down letter to a job applicant, or forget to send one altogether, consider how your letter can serve as a way to build a meaningful relationship with the applicant, even if he or she isn’t the right fit for your company at the time. Here are few things to keep in mind as you draft your next let down email:

  • Make it personal. A personalized email is always more engaging than a standard email that kicks off with “Dear Applicant.” If possible, include the candidate’s name and address the position that was applied for.
  • Keep it short and sweet. There’s no need to drag out the bad news. Get to the point sooner than later within your rejection email.
  • Be gracious. Candidates likely worked hard to apply for your opening and prepare for the interview. Professionally thank them for their efforts and willingness to share information about their skills and qualifications.
  • Offer ways to keep up with future openings. Remind candidates about all the outlets they can use to keep in touch, whether through social media, LinkedIn, your company blog or a talent community.
  • Respond in a reasonable amount of time.Don’t leave candidates wondering with anticipation about their status in the hiring process. Timely communication is key to fostering a positive applicant experience.

Keeping in touch with candidates throughout the entire application process helps you build a meaningful relationship with candidates. But, as you can imagine, communicating with every single applicant is nearly impossible! Applicant tracking software allows you to engage applicants with timely, automatic communication. Applicants get updates about where they stand in the hiring process, and you build positive rapport with great candidates.

To learn more about creating a positive candidate experience with a standout hiring process, check out our blog post, “How Do I Create a Positive Applicant Experience?”