You have advanced past a few in-person interviews. You felt like you built a good dynamic with the hiring manager, and you were feeling good about your prospects of getting a job.
However, you have just received an email from the hiring manager informing you of some bad news—you have not been accepted for the job and the company has decided to hire another candidate.
Getting turned down—especially when you’ve invested a lot of time pursuing a job—is difficult. The last thing that may be on your mind is to send a response to the hiring manager. However, it is highly encouraged to do so. Thanking the person who interviewed you for their time will prove to be a great investment in the long run.
In this guide, we’re going to discuss how to respond to a job rejection email. We’ll also walk through an example of a rejection email to help you craft a good response.
Why Should I Respond?
The job application process can be quite informal at times, and so it may not seem necessary to send a response to a job rejection email. There are, however, a few advantages of taking a few minutes to craft a follow-up email.
First, job opportunities—even unsuccessful ones—are occasions where you can expand your network. While you may not have been hired, you can still use the job interview process as an opportunity to build your professional network and start building connections with individuals who could be useful to your career further down the line.
In addition, if you send a response to a job rejection email, you’ll be able to make a continued positive impression on the employer and this might just work in your favor. For instance, in the case where the hired applicant declines the position, the hiring manager may bump you up on the list, just on account of your positive attitude.
There is also a chance that you were turned down because you weren’t right for a specific role, not because you weren’t a good prospect. If you send a follow-up to a job rejection email, you can maintain a strong bond with an employer. This may encourage them to reach out if they are hiring for a position that would be a better fit for you.
So, now you understand that responding to a rejection email is not just an act of common courtesy—it could actually have a positive impact on your career.
How to Respond to a Rejection Letter
Job rejection letters do not need to be elaborate. The email you send should simply thank your interviewers for their time, show that you are still interested in the company, and ask for feedback if you are looking to better understand why you did not get the job.
Here are the main elements you should consider including in your job rejection email response:
- A Thank-You Note to the Interviewers
No matter what stage of the interview process you advanced to—whether you were at a final interview, or just finished a second interview—the employer will have invested a lot of time in evaluating you as a candidate.
At the start of your email, you should thank the company for the time they have spent considering you as an applicant, even if you didn’t get the job.
Specifically, you should thank the hiring manager for considering you, and also mention that you were grateful for the opportunity to learn more about the company and its culture.
Your thank-you note only needs to be a few sentences—you don’t want to go overboard and mention too many details!
- Show Your Interest in Future Opportunities
You may not have gotten this job, but that doesn’t mean that your relationship with the company is over.
In your email, you should make sure that you mention how disappointed you are to hear that you were not selected for the job. This will ensure the employer is aware that you were interested in working for the company.
Then, you may want to mention that you are still interested in working for the company, if other positions open up in the future. This will make the interviewer aware of the fact that you are still available for professional engagement, and that you have not been hired elsewhere.
- Ask for Comments and Feedback
“I thought I was a great fit. I did a great job answering that question about my strengths and weaknesses. Why didn’t I get the job?”. This may be a sentiment echoing in your mind right now, after being notified that you were not a good fit for the job.
If you want to know more about why you were not hired, ask the hiring manager in your rejection email.
You should do so respectfully, and be mindful of the fact that the hiring manager is busy and may have many people to interview. If you make a clear and simple ask, you should be able to get some useful feedback on why you weren’t considered to be the best candidate for the job.
Example of a Response to Rejection Email
Now you understand what you need to include in your rejection email. But there is still one step left—actually writing the letter. Here’s a template to help you out:
Thank you for informing me of your hiring decision.
While I must say I am disappointed to hear that I was not selected for the position of [Title], I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to talk with your company and find out more about the great work that you are doing.
I am excited to keep following your work, and I would appreciate it if you could keep me in mind for future positions at your organization. If you have the time, I would also be interested in hearing any feedback you have about my interview. This would be valuable as I continue on my job search.
Again, thank you for your time and for considering me for the position. I wish you and [Company] the best of luck.
In this email, the candidate has covered all the core points to make in a response to job rejection. First, the candidate thanked the interviewer. Second, the candidate asked if they can be kept in mind for future positions. Finally, the candidate has sought feedback—which is optional, but a good way to learn more about why you were not chosen for a job.
The response email you write should be no more than a few sentences long, to maximize the chances of the hiring manager reading your email.
Writing a job rejection email is a good way to maintain a positive relationship with a company even though you may not have been selected to work for their organization.
The follow-up email you send to a company is an opportunity to show that you appreciate them considering you for the job, and, optionally, to seek feedback on why you were not considered to be the best fit for the job.
By following the tips in this article, you should have no trouble writing a response to a job rejection email that makes you appear professional and gracious.