Dear Search Committee,
The academic jobs wiki has let me know you've moved from phone interviews to campus invites. Unless you really drop the ball, it looks like I'm out of the running (or was never there to begin with). I'm cool with that. Now it's only a matter of months before your rejection letter arrives in my mailbox or inbox. And hey, I do appreciate it, better than not hearing anything at all. But look, there is an art to saying no to someone. Since I'm a decent fellow, I'll even help you out. You can just copy and paste my suggestion below into your format of choice:
Thank you for your interest in [Job Title Goes Here]. Unfortunately, the position has been filled. Best of luck with your future endeavors.
I'm an adult, and I've been rejected plenty of times, especially in this market, so that's all you need to write. Unless you do number 5 below, I'm not going to reply back with some salty language or accusing questions. But here are some further tips for writing the rejection letter, based on my previous experiences.
1. Not sending or telling me anything is a real dick move. You don't even need to send letters anymore, just an email. There is no excuse for not sending anything and just assuming I'll figure it out. I took the time to apply, you can take the time to send me one shitty email.
2. The above email is just for the suckers that didn't get an interview. The folks you actually interviewed deserve a better let down. But, since I'm not one of them, I'll let you figure that out.
3. You don't need to tell me that you received over 100 applications. I didn't get an interview, so I was the 4th best or the 99th. Either way, it doesn't matter, does it? No matter what you write, it won't make me feel better about things.
4. I don't want to hear anything about your new hire. I don't care how good a fit they are, or how amazingly qualified they are, or anything else about them really. That's just cruel.
5. Finally, after not interviewing me and then sending a rejection letter (thanks for that!), please don't contact me a month later to see if I'd be interested in adjuncting at your institution instead. Because I'm a professional, and still have a sliver of self-esteem after all of this, I didn't send you the reply I really wanted to.
Feel free to share your own rejection letter advice (or horrible ways you've been rejected) in the comments.