How to Respond To a Job Rejection Email

What is supposed to be your reaction when you find out that you got rejected for your “dream” job?

Or any job for that matter? 

Most people’s natural reaction is to simply click delete and move on feeling bitter and inadequate. 

Getting turned down can be painful, especially if you have invested the effort to go through several rounds of interviews or you felt like you are the right person for the job. 

Whatever the answer is, you should always strive to leave a good impression. That’s why sending a thoughtful and an email of appreciation being grateful for the opportunity is better than just ignoring it and moving on. 

Related Read: How to Write a Professional Resignation Letter [Format + Samples]

Why You Must Respond? 

Building a successful career is a lot about knowing people and making the right connections. Basically, networking. 

Even though you might not see that a job rejection is an opportunity to network, it actually is.

Just because they didn’t chose you as the right person for the job, it doesn’t mean they don’t value your qualities. It doesn’t even mean they don’t think you are right for the job. 

It might simply be the fact that someone else is a tiny bit more qualified for the job and they could only hire one person. 

Considering the fact that most people won’t bother to write a job rejection email, you will be in an advanced position if you do so. 

And this could potentially benefit you if it happens that the applicant they chose changes their mind.

Or he/she starts the new position but soon realizes they are not a good fit and decides to quit. 

Or scenario that happens most often – another position opens up at the same company, and the employer remembers that you left a good impression and decides to contact you. 

You should always try to put yourself in the shoes of an employer.

Would you prefer to go over another round of interviews with all new applicants?

Or would you rather hire the person that you know is qualified because you already interviewed them? 

Don’t be Too Hard On Yourself 

This is the thing to remember.

Never be hard on yourself for not getting a job or think that everything was a waste of time.

Any time invested into doing something good or thoughtful will have some sort of a positive effect on your life, even if it doesn’t seem like that right now. 

A job rejection is not a failure. There’s a good chance that their choice wasn’t about you.

How to Respond to a Job Rejection Letter? 

When you start writing your job rejection letter, you should consider some of the following things: 

Be Honest

If you feel disappointed that you didn’t get the job, make sure you let the employer know how you feel.

This doesn’t mean you should play the ‘blame game’, and tell them they made a mistake.

No one likes hearing that. 

Just express your genuine disappointment that you didn’t get to fill the position at their company.

Try to keep the positive tone of your entire job rejection email. 

Express Gratitude

Make sure you let them know that an opportunity to apply and have a chance to learn about their company has meaning to you.

Thank them for their time, and thank the hiring manager for going out of their way to let you know their decision. 

Expressing gratitude is a good way to start an email, but keep it short. You do not want to sound dishonest. 

Ask for Feedback

Can they let you know why you were not the right person for the job?

Keep in mind that this part of the email is not necessary; many of the job rejection letters already contain some of the information on why you are not selected.

This piece of advice is specifically applicable to student graduates or interns.

A lot of employers are not willing to give a chance to someone who’s new as they may seem unreliable. 

If you send a job rejection letter and word it well, it shows that you have the maturity to deal with rejection, that you are professional and that you are willing to work on improving yourself. 

This, may in fact, change some employer’s minds. 

Show Interest

If you manage to keep your emotions in check, and realize that the decision to not hire you isn’t personal, you will be in a much better position.

If you ask for feedback and additionally even let them know that even though you were rejected, you still have an interest in working for them. 

It also confirms to the employer that you have not secured a position elsewhere and that you are open to hearing about future open positions at their company. 

Things to Include in Your Response

Responding to a rejection letter, though disheartening, should be done properly. Include the following in your response:

Respect: You don’t want your letter to sound entitled or unprofessional. No matter how disappointed you are, you should keep a respectful tone in your response letter. 

Gratefulness: Although this contradicts your overall reaction to the rejection, you should still show your gratitude in their effort to evaluate your application credentials. You should still show your gratitude for their time when making your response, as mentioned earlier. 

Appropriate format: Ensure that you make the letter using the correct business email format that shows professionalism. Although sending your response is a little less stressful than the interview process, it should still be created with the suitable formatting. 

Contact information: You may not be given the role you’re looking for, but there’s a chance that the employer you contacted may contact you in the future for another opportunity.

Thus, it’s best to leave your contact information in your response to the rejection.

If they have a vacant position in the future, it will be easier for them to contact you.

Who knows? You could be asked to send in your resume for a different role wherein you’re more qualified.

You can then craft a resume that will highlight your skills with resume examples you find online and from other sources. 

What Not To Say When You Don’t Get a Job

A job rejection reply is not the place to show negativity, play the ‘blame’ game or insult anyone. It will just show how immature you are, and that they have actually made the right call by not hiring you. 

The effects of that would be a lot bigger for your self-confidence than for anything else.

Once your emotions cool off and you realize that besides not getting a job, you also sent an aggravating email, you will feel terrible. 

If your plan is not to send a professional and positive email, then better not to send it at all. 

Job Rejection Email Sample

Here’s a sample of a job rejection letter that you can send when you have been turned down for a job position. It implements all of the advice we have above.

Subject Line: JOB TITLE – Your Name

Dear [Hiring Manager Name], 

Thank you for letting me know about your decision. I would like to express my disappointment that I am not selected for the [title] position. It was a pleasure meeting with you and finding details about your company. I appreciate the time you took to speak with me and getting an opportunity to be apart of your organization. 

Even though my experience wasn’t quite what you are looking for, I am still very interested to be a part of your company. If you have any feedback to provide on how I could improve my skill set to better match your company culture, let me know. 

I would appreciate your further consideration in case of any job openings at your company that would be a good fit for my skill set. 

Again, thank you so much for your time and consideration. 

Best Regards