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Introduction to this document

Rejection of candidate before interview letter

Our rejection of candidate before interview letter provides three alternative grounds for rejection of an application for employment. It’s important to be entirely objective in and be able to justify your assessment, to keep a record of the reasons for rejection and to avoid any unlawful discrimination.

The sifting process

After fairly assessing the job applications received for a vacant post, and taking care to avoid any unlawful discrimination in the assessment process, you should then divide them into three categories:

  1. Unsuitable, i.e. to be rejected - this is where our Rejection of Candidate before Interview Letter comes in.
  2. Possible, i.e. to be invited to interview.
  3. Marginal, i.e. to be held in reserve, for example, for in case it turns out there is nobody suitable in the ‘possible’ category, or if one or more candidates in that category cancel their interview.

Grounds for rejection

Our letter gives three alternative grounds for rejection of a candidate’s job application:

  1. You’ve given careful consideration to their application and have decided not to ask them to attend interview.
  2. The application was a late one which was received after the closing date and so you were unable to consider it for that reason.
  3. You had stated that you would close the process once a pre-defined number of applications had been received, the application was received outside of this limit and so you were unable to consider it for that reason.

As regards 1 above, you don’t have to give detailed written reasons why you have rejected a candidate as unsuitable, so it’s preferable for the letter not to say anything more than our current wording and most candidates will accept that. You should still keep a written record of the reasons for rejection though, even if you don’t supply those to the candidate. You may need these if a candidate later tries to allege they were unlawfully discriminated against contrary to the Equality Act 2010. However, it’s not unknown for some candidates to phone or e-mail to ask for feedback as to why they were rejected, saying that it’s so they can improve themselves for further applications. Our letter tries to deter this from happening by expressly stating that it’s not your policy to provide feedback to unsuccessful candidates. If you do give feedback, be objective, stick to the facts and don’t give out any personal details relating to other candidates who applied. It is acceptable though to explain, in an anonymised format, why other candidates were more suitable e.g. they had more relevant skills, experience or qualifications.