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Writing job application refusal letters: Any good samples to help lower the boom?

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Question: “I need to type job application refusal letters. What is the best way to type these letters?  Is there a good web site with samples?" — S. Foltz


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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Steve June 5, 2009 at 12:41 pm

Thanks very much to everyone for the letter samples. These are very helpful! Cheers and have a great day!

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Admin April 20, 2009 at 5:02 pm

This is the rejection letter we use for our no-hires.

We appreciate you applying for the position of _________ at _________________________.

Unfortunately we interviewed many applicants in the job search process and hired another individual whose qualifications were better suited for our needs.

We wish you the best on your continued job search.

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Rita April 17, 2009 at 1:27 pm

Here are samples of the letters we use.

For someone who interviewed, but was not chosen:

“Thank you for interviewing for the (position) with (agency/company). I am sorry to tell you that you were not the successful candidate for this position.
The number of well-qualified candidates we had to consider made this a difficult decision. I want to thank you for taking the time to participate in the interview process and wish you well in your job search efforts.” This letter would be signed by the “lead” or highest ranking member of the interview panel (we always interview with at least 3 panel members – - civil service rules).

For someone who was not chosen for an invitation to interview:
“Thank you for applying for the (position) with (agency/company). I am sorry to tell you that your application did not meet the minimum qualifications required for this position.
I want to thank you for taking the time to participate in the application process and wish you well in your job search efforts.” This letter would be signed by the manager of the program/department wishing to fill the open position. Anyone who meets the minimum quals has to be interviewed (civil service rules).

As we are a state government agency, we do not have to deal with unsolicited resumes. They are all directed to the agency personnel office in the state capital. They do the initial vetting, then send us all of the applications/resumes they feel we can/should consider. Again, we have civil service rules to accommodate, as well as union rules (top management positions are non-represented, everyone else is union-represented).

I hope this proves helpful. It is very difficult to navigate the legal waters these days, and we follow agency policies very carefully.

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Michelle April 17, 2009 at 12:38 pm

I believe Erika has hit the nail on the head in keeping it short and sweet. Less is better in this case and pretty much nothing else is needed. Either you got the job or you didn’t and too much verbage can lead to misleading statements.

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Diane Plogger April 14, 2009 at 3:29 pm

This isn’t a web site, but a really good book for samples of these types of letters, and many more, is Business Letters for Busy People. It also comes with a CD with all the letters on it. It is through National Press Publications.

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Connie Weddell April 13, 2009 at 1:06 pm

Here are a couple of ideas to work from:

“We regret to say that a careful examination of your resume does not indicate your suitability for the position under consideration…”

“At this time there does not appear to be a position with us that is suited to your admittedly fine qualifications; however, we will keep your resume’ on file.

“Thank you for your resume’. We considered your application very carefully but have decided to offer the position to someone else. We will keep your application on file, however, and will contact you if we have a smiliar opening later. Please accept our best wishes as you seek a challenging and rewarding position.”

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Erika April 13, 2009 at 11:39 am

I agree with gohughes, you need to be very careful these days. After doing some research we determined to keep them short and sweet. We send the following to people who we invertviewed but opted not to hire:

Dear (name),
Thank you for allowing us to interview you in consideration for our (title) position. The position has been filled.
We appreciate your time and interest in our company and wish you much success in your future endeavors.
Sincerely,

And the following to people we do not interview:

Dear (name),
Thank you for submitting your resume in response to our advertisement for (title) . The position has been filled.
We appreciate your interest in our company and wish you much success in your future endeavors.
Sincerely,

The research we performed cautioned against mentioning anythin gabout the person’s qualificaitons or about the person who was offered the postion. It also recommended not stating that you would keep the resume on file as that could be construed as an offer for consideration for future positions, which may not be the case.

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gohughes April 13, 2009 at 11:13 am

Be very, very careful. Research before you do anything. The books previously mentioned are very helpful. I, too, would love to see the samples you have, Rita.

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Kathy April 11, 2009 at 12:52 pm

I’m in govenment as well, and would love to see your sample. Thanks, Rita.

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Anon April 10, 2009 at 4:49 pm

I agree with Lisa! I have both books as well and have used them over and over. I’ve even given them to others as gifts.

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Lisa April 10, 2009 at 2:37 pm

I recommend two books: “How to Say It” and “How to Say It at Work.” They provide sample letters, paragraphs and phrases you can use for nearly every situation you can think of (employment, condolence, contratulations, etc.) I have had this book for about 15 years and use it all the time – it’s great!

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Rita April 10, 2009 at 1:38 pm

I work for a government agency, so our letters need to meet agency requirements. I have one letter for folks who do not meet the minimum requirements, and one for folks who were asked in for an interview, but not chosen. I would be more than happy to share them with you.

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