Use this template for rejection letter or email to save time writing letters and emails and or portfolio), but did not qualify for the next phase of the selection process. Writing and sending a clear and positive rejection letter is not only a kind but.
When your business has a large project to undertake, such as construction of a new office space or the rebuilding of your company website from the ground up, a request for proposals, or RFP, can help you locate the best firm to assist you. RFPs ask suppliers to respond to a request for bids in a specific format addressing the project at hand. An RFP should set forth the parameters of the project as well as your expectations for the selected vendor. For vendors, the process of responding to the RFP can be time consuming, which makes sending an RFP decline letter to acknowledge the proposal and formally state, "No, thank you," a good idea.
Some small businesses routinely use the RFP process in an effort to obtain services or goods at the best price possible, thereby trimming costs. If RFPs are a normal part of your workflow, draft a sample letter politely refusing bids, and leave key information – the goods or service requested and contact information for yourself or a person the submitter can contact with any queries – blank.
Dear Mr. Smith,
Firm XYZ has evaluated all proposals submitted following the RFP for [insert items or services here].
After careful consideration, we regret to inform you that Firm ABC's proposal was not selected for award.
Thank you for submitting a precise proposal, and for your interest in working with our business. We hope you will submit future RFPs.
If you have any questions, please contact [insert name] at [insert phone number or email address].
Sometimes, a business your company routinely works with will submit a proposal that doesn't meet your needs. When you craft an RFP rejection letter to a vendor you plan to continue working with in the future or who just missed the mark on the current project, offer a specific reason for the rejection and a more enthusiastic request for continued participation in the future. For responses to invitations to tender a bid solicitation slightly more specific than an RFP, you should also spend more time specifying why a bid failed. Start with a tender decline letter sample, and tweak it based on your industry.
Dear Mr. Smith,
Firm XYZ has evaluated all proposals submitted following the RFP for the development of a new e-commerce website for our business.
Competition for the project was strong, and we ultimately decided to use the services of another firm. For this project, we felt we required the services of a business more experienced in integrating customer feedback, such as product reviews and live chat with a sales representative, with the buying experience.
We appreciate the work your company has completed for us in the past and look forward to reviewing future proposals from your firm.
Please contact Jane Smith, purchasing officer, at (123) 456-7890 with any questions.
Thank you again for your participation.
For a tender decline, you may choose to more specifically discuss potential technical issues with the website construction or the specific area where you felt the vendor lacked expertise, such as product review integration on an individual product's page.
When a new company completely misses the mark with a proposal, don't feel like it's necessary to soften the blow by encouraging continued communication regarding the project or participation in future RFPs. Be polite, and only address the current project. Tweak your standard template to make it work for these vendors.
Dear Mr. Smith,
Firm XYZ has evaluated all proposals submitted following the RFP for [insert items or services here].
After careful consideration, we regret to inform you that Firm ABC's proposal was not chosen.
Thank you for submitting a proposal.
Ashley Adams-Mott has 12 years of small business management experience and has covered personal finance, career and small business topics since 2009. She is a full-time government and public safety reporter and holds a BSBA in accounting from Columbia College. Her work has appeared online with USA Today, The Nest, The Motley Fool, and Yahoo! Finance.
Jul 16, See rejection letter sample responses used at Lever. implies that the company couldn't really be bothered if the candidate re-applies or not.
When it comes to successfully filling job orders, connecting with candidates is key. You might have dozens or even hundreds of applicants vying for the open job, but your client will only choose one to hire.
It’s important to let candidates know when they don’t get the job. Many hiring managers tell unsuccessful candidates they are no longer considered via email. How do you write a job rejection email?
A rejection email lets candidates know that they are no longer considered for an open position. The job rejection email is usually short and to the point. Sending a job rejection email that is too specific can take up your time and open the door to lawsuits over unlawful discrimination.
You can use a generic rejection letter template for each candidate. A short, vague rejection email can save you time as well as protect your recruiting business and your client. It’s a good idea to have a lawyer review your job rejection letter template before you start sending it out.
Some companies choose to forego a job rejection letter, which can leave candidates confused about whether they are still in the running or not. Other companies only send a rejection email after interviews.
As a recruiter, each applicant has the potential to be a candidate in future client orders. You don’t want to sour relations by not keeping candidates updated on their job status. Improve candidate relationship management with your candidate pool by sending a candidate rejection email.
Job rejection emails should be short and generic, but there are a few points you might want to cover. Here are some important parts of a job application rejection letter:
Your email subject line should be clear so candidates know you are reaching out to them to talk about their application. The subject line could say something like Job Application to ABC Company.
In the email, you need to address the candidate by name. Don’t just say Dear Applicant. Use the candidate’s name to begin the letter.
You must thank the candidate for their consideration in your client’s company and the open position. Do this in the body of the email. Don’t linger on this topic, however. Move on to the part the candidate is waiting for — whether or not they got the job.
Tell the candidate your client will be moving forward with a different candidate. Or, you can say that the position has been filled. Make sure you get straight to the point. Do not give details about the successful candidate(s). Don’t explain specifics on why the candidate did not advance over email. If the candidate asks you why they did not get the job, you can choose whether you want to provide feedback. Again, be careful what you say, as they can accuse you and your client of unlawful discrimination.
If your client thought the candidate would be a good fit in the company but not the position they applied for, tell them. You can ask the candidate to apply for a future opening with the company. Do not ask candidates to apply in the future if you and your client don’t mean it.
Wish the candidate the best in their job search. End the job rejection email on a positive note.
At the end of the email, sign your name.
Above all else, your rejection email should be respectful of the candidates. Though it should be generic, your rejection email shouldn’t be cold.
You might choose to have different job rejection letter templates for various stages in the hiring process. Here is a candidate rejection letter sample you could use at any point in the hiring process:
Keep candidate information in your recruiting software. When you receive future job orders, you can contact qualified individuals in your candidate pool.
Make sure you provide the best candidate experience, even when you have to tell applicants they didn’t get the job. Maintain good relationships with all candidates by keeping in touch and letting them know about upcoming opportunities.
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posted by castlebravo to Human Relations (26 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I am tasked with helping to coordinate a remodeling project for my business. We are required by our headquarters to get three competitive bids for each major category (furniture, contractor, etc.) We’ve made our selections and my manager told me to start calling everyone tomorrow and tell them they had/had not been selected.
OK, sure, but…what do I say? I have never done this before. I’m also not good at conflict or being assertive, especially over the phone. I know some of these people will want to know “why didn’t you pick us?” and “who are you going with? Why did you pick them?”
The thing is, for a few of these we don’t have a solid reason why we selected one over another. The prices were similar and it honestly just came down to who we liked better on a personal level. I don’t have an easy answer like “well, their price was more in line with our budget," but to flat out tell them "we just got along with the other guys better," seems too harsh and also trivial.
I am worried I’m going to be pressured into a competitive sales pitch with someone trying to poke holes in my excuses and talk me out of the decision. I have a tendency to Be Polite At All Costs and that may be a problem here.
If you need to write this type of business letter, it can be helpful to start with a sample document rather than beginning from a blank page. Vendor Not Selected.
I have a friend who appraises antiques — assigning a dollar value to the old Chinese vase your grandmother used for storing pencils, telling you how much those silver knickknacks from Aunt Fern are worth. He says the hardest part of his job, the part he dreads the most, is telling people that their treasure is worthless.
I can empathize. I feel like I do that too, every time I tell a prospective HBR author that their ideas, research, or writing just isn’t good enough to make the cut.
Rejection letters aren’t easy for any of us. Whether you’re telling a job candidate that he didn’t make the next round, an entrepreneur that you’re not going to fund her project, or a vendor that you no longer need his services, these are emails most of us dread crafting. Because it’s unpleasant, too many of us put it off or don’t do it at all, essentially letting our silence do the talking. That’s a missed opportunity (and rude). Though painful, rejection has benefits: research by Linus Dahlander at ESMT and Henning Piezunka at INSEAD has found, for example, that when organizations take the time to explicitly reject (rather than just passively ignore) crowdsourced ideas, it both increases the quality of the ideas they’re being offered and increases the engagement of the crowd.
If there’s one thing that I’ve learned in a decade at Harvard Business Review — during which I’ve rejected literally thousands of ideas, pitches, and drafts — it’s that a quick no is better than a long maybe.
Writing good rejections does take a bit of time — especially at first. But one of the benefits of learning to write a good, clear rejection letter is that it forces you to think clearly about what it is that you want from other people, and what it is that your organization really needs. For example, I can categorize most of my rejections for HBR into one of five categories: too broad (and thus not very useful to readers); too repetitive with stuff we’ve already published; too jargony; too self-promotional; not supported by enough evidence or expertise. Knowing this, we were able to distill a set of guidelines for prospective authors that encouraged them to avoid these common pitfalls.
That said, rejection letters need not be long, and the reason you give for the rejection need not be super-detailed. If you don’t have much of a relationship with the person — you never met them, maybe just traded some emails — the entire letter might be just a few lines. I looked back at some rejection letters I sent, and realized that I usually follow a pretty simple format:
Thanks for your patience while I reviewed this proposal. I’m afraid I’m going to have to pass. We’ve published a lot on cybersecurity lately, and unfortunately the proposed piece overlaps a bit too much with other articles we’ve published. I hope you find a good home for it in another publication.
All the best,
If I were giving bad news to someone I’d interviewed for a job, I might tweak it a bit, but the basic format would stay the same:
Thanks for making the time to talk with me last week. While I enjoyed our conversation, I think we need someone with more hands-on project management experience for this role. I hope you find the right job for you in the near future.
If you can’t think of any hope to offer at the end, then don’t. “Do not say anything that will give the recipient the impression that the door is still open,” Joceyln Glei advises in her new email writing guide, Unsubscribe, “Such clarity and finality can feel cruel, but adding additional language to ‘soften the blow’ only serves to create false hope. Say your piece and sign off.” False hope is crueler than no hope. False hope just encourages the other person to waste more of their time, and yours.
If the idea of ending with an unsoftened rejection makes you unbearably squeamish, you can close with an extra thank you. Consider this example of a rejection letter to a vendor:
Thanks for your detailed proposal. Taking a look at the materials, it seems like your firm’s key strengths don’t quite overlap with what we need for this project. Thanks again for taking the time to put this proposal together for us.
But what if the pitch (or person) was really close to being a good fit, and you might want to work with them in the future? Or you have more of a relationship with them? In those cases, the above messages are probably too cold and too vague. When rejecting people I want to encourage, I keep the format much the same, but am generally much more detailed in my reason for rejecting and more explicit in encouraging the person to try again. (In the study I mentioned above, Dahlander and Piezunka found that providing an explanation about why an idea was being rejected bolstered the beneficial effects of rejection — eg, motivation and idea quality.)
I also often end with a question, to try to signal that I’m genuinely interested — not just making an empty, softening-the-blow promise. For example:
Thanks for your patience while I reviewed this proposal. I’m afraid I’m going to have to pass. We’ve published a lot on cybersecurity lately, and unfortunately the proposed piece overlaps a bit too much with other articles we’ve published. For example, take a look at the article we published on August 6 by Professor Joe Schmo, and the August 16 article by the CEO of Acme Corp. Although we won’t be able to publish this particular piece, I really enjoyed your writing style and the way you supported your argument with extensive research; would you be interested in pitching us some other articles in the future?
All the best,
For the job interviewee, it might look like this:
Thanks for making the time to talk with me last week. I’m sorry to say that your candidacy did not make it to the next round; we’ve had a very competitive pool for this position. At this point, our organization really needs someone with more project management experience. However, I really enjoyed our conversation and think you could be a good fit here in the right role. Please do keep in touch — and is it OK with you if I let you know about roles that open up that might be a better fit?
All the best,
Now for the vendor:
We were lucky to get some strong proposals in on this and we deeply appreciate all the info from your side — and for your patience. After a lot of careful thought, we have decided to go with another firm for this project. While we certainly have no doubt about the superior quality of your team or that you could deliver on this skillfully we decided to use this project to expand our bench of development partners and, since this is part experiment for us, this was a good opportunity to do that.
We’d really like to continue talking with you about future projects we have coming up this year. I definitely look forward to collaborating in the future.
Thanks again for your help and your time,
The more specific you are about the way you reject something (or someone), the more information you give them. A smart rejectee will use this information to come back with a stronger pitch the next time. I’ve actually had a few people thank me for rejection letters I wrote to them, because it gave them the kind of concrete, specific feedback they needed in order to make a better pitch in the future. It’s a good reminder that people do value receiving criticism, even though most of us dread giving it.
It’s especially tough to pass along a rejection decision that you disagree with. Maybe you fought hard for a job candidate everyone else was unimpressed by, or championed the cause of a vendor that the executive committee thought was too expensive. I know I’ve argued for articles that other editors thought weren’t ready for prime time. It’s not a good feeling.
When this happens, it’s tempting to hide behind passive voice or other people — eg, “It has been decided that we won’t be pursuing this” or “The bigwigs have decided to go in a different direction.” Resist that temptation. It’s not any easier to get rejected in that fashion, and writing that way undercuts your authority as a decisionmaker.
If you’re the one issuing a rejection, own the rejection. It’s fair to say something like, “After a lot of discussion and back-and-forth, we’ve decided X” or “It was a really hard decision, but we’ve ultimately decided Y.” But say “we,” not “they.”
A rejection letter in which you’re hiding behind someone else’s skirt inhibits your ability to give useful feedback. It also makes your organization look fractious or contentious, which undermines other people’s desire to work with you in the future.
The other kind of rejection that’s really tough to deliver is the one where you’ve both put in a lot of time and effort to make the thing work — but it’s still not working. Now, despite the sunk costs, it is time to cut your losses and move on. In some cases, a phone call is the best way to deliver this kind of news — use your judgment. But if you decide to write an email, it’s OK to keep it brief. Usually, at this point, you and your counterpart will have spent so much time talking about the problems with the project or the piece that your counterpart will already know the reason behind the rejection; you just need to recap it briefly. Here’s an example:
Hi [Their name],
Thanks for taking another stab at this. I really appreciate all the time and effort you’ve put in. Unfortunately, despite both of our best efforts, I think [problem X still applies] and we’re still not hitting the mark. At this point, I’d say let’s set this one aside and move ahead.
The other thing I try to do when delivering this kind of tough news is position myself on the same side as the person I’m rejecting: We have made a good faith effort; and despite that effort, we have fallen short. This isn’t just window-dressing; if you’re rejecting something after a lot of involvement, then some part of the failure is yours, too. (And maybe a sign that you should have sent a quicker rejection sooner in the process, when it would have been less painful for both of you.)
Delivering bad news is tough, and in different companies or cultures these examples may sound either overly harsh or too nice. You’ll need to find your own language depending on the context and the culture. That said, remember: don’t soften the blow just for the sake of blow-softening. False kindness just gives people false hope. And there’s nothing kind about that.
Feb 4, It's challenging to craft a professional, polite letter that distributes bad and we regret that we were not able to select your proposal at this time.