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The company that I work at has few full time employees but a large number of part-timers, mostly all who work elsewhere full-time.

I have a very good friend that has worked part time in my department for a number of years, in addition to various full time jobs elsewhere in other business sectors. This person applied for a full time position to be my assistant when it became available but is not going to be offered the position.

It is my job to tender the rejection and try to keep her on as part-time.

We have both been in this business over 30 years and started at the same company "back in the day". People with the specialized experience we utilize all tend to know each other and know where the skeletons are hidden... I am at a loss on all points - keeping her as a friend, telling her she did not get the job and convincing her to keep working here anyway.

Any suggestions would be welcome.

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    What is your goal? You want help in thinking a way of telling her this? Why do you feel bearing such news will harm your friendship? – DarkCygnus Jun 27 '18 at 20:58
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Giving these sort of news is never something fun to do, but this doesn't have to affect your friendship and relationship with this person (you are just the messenger after all).

You know this person well, so it is unlikely she will be angry at you for relaying to her some decision that wasn't yours to make. I suggest you two meet and share the news as politely and tactfully as possible; no need to complicate or elaborate it much.

This was a professional decision (again, one that you didn't make), so there is no need for her to take it personally, and even less against you.

After giving the news, you can proceed to encourage her to stay, help her think of new options, or show your support in any way you consider proper to the situation and the nature of your relationship.

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