Communication Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Written Communication 1:4 (October 1984), pp. 387–406.

doi: 10.1177/0741088384001004001


Copyright © 1984 Sage Publications, Inc. Used by permission.


This study attempted to describe the structural and content characteristics of actual employment rejection letters (following job screening interviews). Their impact on applicants’ feelings about themselves (self-concept and self-satisfaction) and about letters (perceptions of letter clarity, “personalness” and appreciative tone) are assessed. Results provide a profile of the “typical” rejection letter and indicate that while few of the letter characteristics affected applicants’ feelings about themselves, a number of these attributes were related to applicants’ perceptions of the letters.