The worst part of looking for work is hearing “thanks, but no thanks” from potential employers. Whether you’ve gone through several rounds of interviews or just submitted your resume, getting turned down for a role you really like is always tough. However, by responding graciously to a job rejection, you may be able to transform disappointment into opportunity.
Knowing how to respond to a job rejection professionally and politely is unlikely to make the hiring manager reconsider their decision, but it may help you keep your foot in the door with a company you’ve had your eye on. Read on for five tips to help you craft a courteous rejection email response, and keep scrolling to the end for a sample thank you letter after a job rejection.
1. Thank them for their time and for informing you of their decision.
Yes, it’s disappointing that you were not chosen for the open position. It’s also entirely appropriate for you to mention your disappointment while responding graciously to a job rejection email. However, you must be sure to balance that feeling of dissatisfaction with appreciation for the opportunity you were given.
Knowing is better than waiting for a job offer that will never come, so be grateful they took the time to follow up with you. Plus, by thanking the interviewer and/or hiring manager for their time, you’ll leave a good impression and display your professionalism.
2. Express your appreciation for the opportunity to learn about the organization and meet its team members.
Make sure to let your contact know that you enjoyed getting to know a bit more about their company and appreciated the chance to meet peers in your industry. You may also want to reference a specific portion of the conversation you had during your interview to remind the reader of your discussion and reinforce your excitement for the company’s prospects.
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3. Reiterate your enthusiasm and continued interest in working for the company.
The whole purpose of this follow-up email is to make sure you leave a good impression with the interviewer/hiring manager, so don’t be shy about telling them you would still like to work for the organization even though you were passed over for this particular position. As you’ll see in the job rejection email sample included below, a great way to do this is to let them know you’ll be following their progress on a certain project or product and rooting for the company’s success.
4. Ask that they keep you in mind for future opportunities.
It may seem like overkill, but you should close your note by letting the reader know you’d be interested in future opportunities and inviting them to reach out if you might be a good fit. Many organizations have talent pipelines where they keep track of promising candidates for further consideration. Once you’re in their pipeline, you may be interviewing with them again in a few months.
5. Connect on LinkedIn.
Depending on how your interview went, you may have already reached out to the recruiter or hiring manager on LinkedIn. If you haven’t, go ahead and send them an invitation to connect on social media. The worst thing that can happen is they ignore your request, but if they agree to connect on LinkedIn you’ll be able to keep the lines of communication open and even gain an advocate within the company.
Sample Thank You Letter After Job Rejection
Thank you for following up and informing me of your decision. Although I’m disappointed to learn I wasn’t selected for the [position title] opening, I truly enjoyed meeting you and the other members of the [company name] team.
I’m excited to see how everything goes with [project or product discussed during the interview], and I’ll be rooting for [company name]’s success.
Thanks again for the opportunity, and if there’s anything I can help with in the future, please keep me in mind.
Knowing how to respond to a job rejection courteously is about more than just exhibiting gratitude and professionalism. Keep in mind that sometimes new hires don’t work out, and if a prospective company suddenly needs to replace a bad hire quickly, you may be their first call. It’s in your best interest to send a thank you letter after a job rejection.
In the meantime, stay active in your job search and find new opportunities on iHire!