Recruiter's corner

Refusing an application: letters, examples and templates

Showing motivation to join a company takes time and energy. If you are a recruiter, answering to people who don't have the qualifications or the profile for a position (permanent or temporary contract, internship...), is the minimum of politeness. Isn't it? ;) 

To inspire you and to know what to include in your letter of refusal, here are 3 examples of letters.

Why formulate a refusal of application? 

Handwritten or digital, the rejection letter is necessary for 2 reasons: 

It is part of the candidate experience 

As soon as a candidate applies for a job with you, he/she has a candidate experience. If it was not a good experience, don't forget that the candidate may dissuade other people from applying for a job with you. Word of mouth is over, goodbye. Throughout the recruitment process, when you wish to stop the process, explaining the reasons for a refusal in a letter shows the respect you have for the applicants and preserves your image as an employer. employer brand. 

It ends the recruitment process

After several days or weeks, marking the end of the recruitment process is important for your candidates as well as for you. For a candidate, the explanation of a refusal allows him/her to understand the points of improvement to continue his/her job search and to put an end to the wait, which can be very unpleasant and energy consuming. And on the company side, the rejection letter helps to ensure that each step of the recruitment process is carried out properly and that the process continues serenely with those who continue the process.

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How do you reject an application at makesense? 

Thank you letter, email, phone call, all means are good and can be adapted according to the progress of a candidate in the recruitment process. At makesense, we generally opt for an e-mail or a phone call.

#1 We respond to ALL our candidates

Whether a candidate has sent us his or her CV or is further along in our recruitment process, we respond to everyone, because proving your motivation to join an organization takes time. Responding to all those who have come to us is also important for our employer brand!

#2 We adapt our responses 

We do not reject a candidate in the same way depending on his or her level of advancement in the recruitment process:

If he/she has just sent his/her application, we write this type of mail: 

Hello --first name--,

I hope you're doing well since we last spoke. 

First of all we would like to thank you for your time and interest in makesense!

Despite the quality of your profile, we have decided to move forward with profiles that are closer to the skills and experience we are looking for in this offer, especially in project management or in coaching project leaders.

Nevertheless, we would like to suggest that you connect to the makesense community through our current events: These are great opportunities to meet and discuss your career aspirations in the social economy and social entrepreneurship.

Also, we invite you to consult our platform of impact jobs, maybe you'll find the right fit!

Good luck in your search and we look forward to meeting you in person at makesense events.

XX for the makesense team.

If he/she has had an initial interview, take the time to explain:

Hello XXX,

Thank you for taking the time to talk with me. Despite an interesting profile, we will unfortunately not follow up on your application


Nevertheless, we would like to suggest you to connect to the makesense community through the current events: These are great opportunities to meet and exchange on your desires for professional development in the social economy and social entrepreneurship.

We wish you every success in your search,

The makesense team.

If he has done the case study

We send him an email with the + and - of his case study (by politeness and respect, knowing that he spent 3 hours to do it)

If he/she has participated in the final interviews

We call him/her to take the time to tell him/her no and explain the reasons.

Our favorite tool: the ATS! 

The ATS (Applicant Tracking System) is a tool for managing applications. When we receive a large quantity of resumes, with the ATS of jobs_that_makesense, we can for example send personalized emails to several people at the same time, in order to answer everyone while saving time. To sort the first resumes, we write for example 2 emails: the acceptance email and the rejection email, which we personalize with variables: first name, job title...

⚠ to mistakes

When a candidate writes you a letter full of mistakes, it stings your eyes? It's the same on the candidate's side ;)

Take action

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To go further 

👉How to select a candidate: methods and criteria?

👉How many interviews to conduct for a position?

👉The recruiter's guide