21 email templates to optimize your candidate journey

Get 21 email templates that can easily help you optimize your candidate journey and experience.

Candidate Journey
 — 
16
 Min read
 — 
May 5, 2021

We’ll let you in on a little secret: if you want to give a great candidate experience, communication matters. 

You’ll have noticed in our articles that we emphasize the importance of communicating with candidates. We do it because applicants want to receive confirmations, updates, or any communication that will provide information about the recruitment process. 

In this guide, we will give you templates you can use for 3 situations: 

  • confirming reception of an application 
  • rejecting an application after the initial interview 
  • rejecting a candidate after an interview 

The structure of this guide is simple. We will present the scenarios, explain what an email should include, and give you 3 templates you can start using now, one for each tone. There are 21 templates in total.

  1. Adjust the tone of voice in your templates
  2. Confirming reception of an application
    a) Template 1: Include a chart to illustrate the process
    b) Template 2: embed a video
    c)Template 3: link to an online candidate portal
  3. Rejecting a candidate after the CV review
    a) Rejection: you want the candidate to re-apply in the future
    b) Rejection: you don’t want the candidate to re-apply in the future
  4. Invitation to an interview
  5. Rejection after an interview

1. Adjust the tone of voice in your templates. 

We will give you templates with 3 tones for each situation. You can choose the style you prefer based on your company’s culture, the type of job advertised, the level of the job, etc. We expand each tone a little below: 

Casual tone
Neutral tone
Corporate tone



2. Confirming reception of an application 

First, let’s look at an inadequate email

Inadeguate email

Why is this email inadequate? Where do we start?! Candidates spend an average of 4 hours on each application. They deserve more than this weak 2-sentence message. Here is why this message does not provide a great candidate experience: 

  • it gives no timeline for future updates or stages 
  • it provides no information or transparency on the process 
  • it lacks a personal connection, making the message seem automated
  • it sets no expectations for selection criteria
  • it shows that the company does not care about what the candidate may have to say 
  • no element sets this company apart from other companies 

Now, let’s review appropriate email templates that give the client a clear picture by checking most or all of these elements: 

  • provide a recruiter name and contact information 
  • add a personal touch that doesn’t feel robotic 
  • tell the candidate how the application will be evaluated 
  • share a precise timeline 
  • give a gift or token of appreciation for applying 
  • request feedback, which shows engagement 


Template 1: include a chart to illustrate the process 

Casual tone 👕


Casual tone


Neutral tone 😐


Neutral tone


Corporate tone 👔


Corporate tone

Template 2: embed a video

Casual tone 👕


Casual tone


Neutral tone 😐

Neutral tone


Corporate tone 👔

Corporate tone



Template 3: link to an online candidate portal

Confirmation doesn’t always have to be long, like in the previous examples. It can also be short and straight to the point and include a candidate portal with more information. 

When using a short communication, it’s essential to provide the updates promised. Otherwise, it will be like the initial bad example we covered.

In this template, we thank the candidate, provide the recruiter’s name and contact information, give clear information on how the application will be evaluated, and end with an extraordinary element: a candidate lobby and a gift. Short and sweet!

Casual tone 👕

Casual tone


Neutral tone 😐

Neutral tone


Corporate tone 👔

Corporate tone



3. Rejecting after the VC review

Again, let’s start by looking at an inadequate email:

Inadequate email

This email is inadequate for several reasons. 

Like we mentioned before, candidates spend an average of 4 hours submitting their applications. 

We established that they should get a clear confirmation email that acknowledges their application and provides information on future steps.

Unfortunately, not all applicants can move on to the next phase, and the majority of them will get a negative response. Their effort and interest are worth more than a 3-sentence rejection. 

The least a company could do is explain their decision. We will also add that candidates are more likely to accept an unfavorable decision if the initial email was complete.

So the example above closes the door without any warning or explanation. An appropriate rejection email should do a few or all of the following:

  • have a human tone
  • explain the decision
  • be transparent
  • give clear expectations
  • seek to maintain a connection or ask for feedback
  • provide an extraordinary element like a small gift to thank applicants

Here are 2 templates you can use. 

The first is for when you liked the candidate’s profile and would welcome another application in the future. 

The second is suitable when the candidate doesn’t have the appropriate background yet and should gain more experience before considering reapplying for your company.


Rejection: you want the candidate to re-apply in the future

Casual tone 👕

Casual tone


Neutral tone 😐

Neutral tone


Corporate tone 👔

Corporate tone


Rejection: you don’t want the candidate to re-apply in the future

Casual tone 👕

Casual tone


Neutral tone 😐

Neutral tone


Corporate tone 👔

Corporate tone


4. Invitation to an interview

When you’ve reviewed your applications and you have good news to share, make sure to share all the information you can with the candidates invited to the interview. 

You should give the candidates every chance to succeed. You want to see them at their very best. Make sure you do most or all of these:

  • write in a human tone
  • comment on their application
  • tell them where and when the interview will take place
  • give clear expectations of what you look for
  • share basic information on what will be discussed in the interview
  • confirm who will attend
  • tell them you are looking forward to meeting them


Casual tone 👕

Casual tone


Neutral tone 😐

Neutral tone


Corporate tone 👔

Corporate tone


5. Rejection after an interview

Telling a candidate they were unsuccessful after an interview is unfortunate. They likely felt good about their chances considering they got to meet the recruiters in person and possibly even visit the company premises. In this situation, sending an email is not enough.

You should first give candidates a call to explain your decision verbally. Then, send an email to confirm it. In your email, keeping a human tone is especially important to show empathy. Don’t forget to invite them to reapply in the future and ask for feedback. They have gone through a few steps, so they might have relevant information to share.


Casual tone 👕

Casual tone


Neutral tone 😐

Neutral tone


Corporate tone 👔

Corporate tone

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