How to notify unsuccessful candidates

Handling with care

Notifying unsuccessful candidates with professionalism and empathy is crucial for maintaining your company's reputation and leaving a positive impression on all applicants. Handling this sensitive part of the recruitment process with care not only reflects well on your organisation but also fosters goodwill among potential future applicants. This respectful approach can enhance your employer brand, ensuring that even those who were not selected will speak positively about their experience.

Here’s a guide on how to do it effectively:


Timely communication is crucial not only for the sake of the candidates but also for maintaining the reputation of your company. Candidates invest time and effort into their applications, and delaying the notification of their application status can lead to unnecessary anxiety and frustration. Furthermore, a prompt response demonstrates your company's professionalism and respect for candidates' time, regardless of the outcome of their application. It also allows candidates to move forward with their job search without undue delay, contributing to a positive experience overall.


Tailoring your communication to each candidate demonstrates that you value them as individuals and recognise their unique contributions. Addressing candidates by name and mentioning the specific position they applied for shows that you have taken the time to review their application thoroughly. Additionally, acknowledging their efforts in applying conveys appreciation for their interest in your company. Personalisation fosters a sense of connection between the candidate and your organisation, even if they are ultimately not selected, leaving a lasting positive impression.

Professional tone

Maintaining a professional and empathetic tone throughout your communication is essential for preserving the candidate experience. Using polite and considerate language shows respect for the candidate's feelings and reinforces your company's commitment to professionalism. Avoiding negative language or criticism, even when delivering disappointing news, helps to mitigate any potential harm to the candidate's self-esteem and preserves their perception of your company in a positive light.

Structured communication

A well-structured communication ensures clarity and transparency in the delivery of the decision. Beginning with an expression of gratitude for the candidate's interest in the position demonstrates appreciation for their application. A direct statement regarding the outcome, whether positive or negative, eliminates ambiguity and provides closure for the candidate. Offering constructive feedback or reasons for the decision, if appropriate, can help candidates understand areas for improvement and contribute to their professional growth. Inviting candidates to consider future opportunities with your company maintains a positive relationship and encourages continued engagement. Finally, closing with well wishes for their success in their job search demonstrates empathy and goodwill towards the candidate.


Following up with candidates, particularly those who were strong contenders, shows that your interest in them extends beyond the current application process. Connecting with them on professional networks like LinkedIn provides an opportunity to stay connected and informed about their career progress. Keeping them in mind for future roles not only maintains a positive relationship but also potentially saves time and resources in future recruitment efforts. This proactive approach to candidate engagement contributes to a positive employer brand and fosters a network of potential talent for your organisation's future needs.

By following these steps, you ensure that candidates leave with a positive impression of your company, even if they didn’t get the job. This positive experience, despite the outcome, can lead to candidates speaking highly of your company to their network and potentially even reapplying in the future. Moreover, it demonstrates your company's commitment to professionalism, fairness, and respect for all applicants, which can significantly enhance your employer brand.

These efforts not only impact the immediate recruitment process but also contribute to building a strong reputation in the long term. Consistently treating candidates with empathy and respect can create a pool of goodwill that may translate into increased interest from top talent in the future.

How to notify unsuccessful candidates

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