Write a Weak Recommendation For a Job Candidate • Letter Templates and Guides

How to write this letter:

1Identify the person you are endorsing, and indicate that the candidate asked you to write the recommendation.
2Discuss your relationship with the candidate and indicate how long you have known him or her.
3Give your recommendation in language that is properly limited and modulated to convey reservation without direct condemnation. Discuss positive qualities in minor or irrelevant areas and say little or nothing about the problems in areas of major concern.
4Close with a final assertion of recommendation and offer to provide more information, if you wish. Such a statement is often a way of suggesting that there is more to be said about the person.


This letter is written when you can neither honestly recommend a job candidate nor easily refuse to write a recommendation. Carefully control the wording and tone so that the reader will get the message while the writer is protected from the threat of litigation. If at all possible, it would be better to refuse to write a letter of recommendation.

Example Letter #1


I am writing today in response to your request for a professional recommendation on behalf of (Name of Applicant). Having supervised (First Name of Applicant) for the last few years, I have witnessed his concerted efforts to improve the daily performance of his tasks, and I have observed his desire to meet the demands and expectations of his co-workers and environment. Given the integrity and strength of commitment demonstrated by his past performance, I would like to recommend (Name of Applicant) as a suitable candidate for the position of (Name of Position) at your company.

Example Letter #2


John Doe asked me to write him a letter of recommendation. I have known John for about two years and currently act as his supervisor. He always completes his work on time and seems to get along well with his co-workers. I hope he finds success in his next job. If I can provide you with any further information, please feel free to call me in my office at 555-5555.

Example Letter #3


I support John Doe's application for employment with your company. I am the secretary of the mathematics department at State University, where John was a math major for two years in the late '80s. During the time I knew him, John was a serious student, always pursuing new interests. I would be glad to answer any pertinent questions about John's record in this department. It is always rewarding to see students find work in positions they deserve.

Example Letter #4


Jane Doe has asked that I write you in support of her application for employment with your department. Jane has been a manager in our department for the last two years. During this time the department has experienced no major problems, and Ms. Doe's performance has been perfectly adequate. I have no reason to believe Jane's work in your department would be anything other than satisfactory. If there are any specific questions I can answer about Jane Doe's record here, please contact me in my office, at extension 555.

Example Letter #5


Jane Doe, who was my student last semester in Technical Writing, has asked me to write a recommendation for her application as a writing tutor. Jane earned a B+ in the class largely because of an impressive group project. Jane is very likable, and she prefers to work at her own pace. I am sure Jane would get along well with others in the Writing Center. If I can answer any other questions, please give me a call.