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How to respond to a rejection letter

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How to respond to a rejection letter
September 09, 2018 Anniversary Wishes 4 comments

This Job Candidate's Response to a Rejection Letter Was So Brilliant, It Got Him Two rejection letters received back-to-back, identical except for the “Dear.

(Last Updated On: February 23, 2019)

Nobody likes rejection but it’s important to know how to respond to a rejection email. Of course, it’s important to be polite and gracious… but if you do it right, your response can make a huge difference in your future employment success!

Here are five things to remember as you’re drafting your next response.

How to Respond to a Rejection Email in 5 Steps

1. Be grateful for the opportunity.

Express gratitude for your opportunity to interview. Use statements like “I really appreciate that you took the time to interview me,” or “I’m grateful that I was considered for this position.”

Always be kind, courteous and professional in your responses. Just because you didn’t get the job today doesn’t mean you’ll never want to work at that company again. Don’t ruin your future chances at the company by being rude or angry in your response.

2. Stand out from the crowd with specific details.

Use this opportunity to create a great, lasting impression with the interviewer. Mentioning specific details from the interview reinforces that you were paying attention and that this opportunity was important to you. This may help you connect with future opportunities at the company.

I like to use specific details from the interview in the emails. For example, “I really appreciate the opportunity to learn more about (the company’s current project)” or “I really enjoyed learning about (insert something the interviewer discussed).” If a joke was made, you can say something like, “I enjoyed retelling your joke about (subject) to my children when I returned home that evening.” Only use one or two detail statements, though, or the letter will sound forced and overwhelming.

If you can’t think about anything to use from the interview, pull from other sources like the company website. You can use statements like “I am “I really respect the work you do, especially pertaining to (project / area)” or “I am impressed with the company’s (product / initiative / development).”

3. Restate your interest in working at the company.

State your disappointment and continued interest in working there. This should be a brief statement. Be careful to avoid any passive-aggressive language in this section. For example, “I’m very disappointed that I did not get the position, but I hope to interview for another position at Company in the future” or “Although I’m disappointed that I was not selected for this position, I would love to be considered for any similar positions in the future.”

4. Ask for honest feedback about your performance.

When you’re looking for work, constructive criticism from a hiring manager can be very helpful. It can be very difficult to hear negative responses about yourself, but honest feedback can help you do better next time. It can dramatically improve your chance of being hired after your next interview… but it’s the hardest part to master when it comes to learning how to respond to a rejection email.

Keep your request concise. Simply ask, “I would appreciate any feedback you may be willing to offer about my application and performance. Is there anything I can improve?” or “As I continue my job search, it would be helpful to know if there is anything I can improve. Did you notice anything that needed improvement on my application or during my interview?”

You won’t always get an answer to these questions. However, any answers you do receive can help you in your quest to find a new job. Do not ask this question if you aren’t able to accept the answer graciously.

5. Send a LinkedIn request a few days later.

LinkedIn is a professional social network. If you don’t already, sign up and create an account. Remember, it’s a professional network designed for employers so the account must be professional.

Send a connection request to the hiring manager that you’ve been corresponding with. Add a short personalized message to your request. For example:

Hey __(name)__!

I really enjoyed meeting you during my interview for __(position)__ at __(Company)__. I was really interested in learning about __(project)__ and I’d like to follow your progress. Can we connect here on LinkedIn?

Wishing you the best,
__(your name)__

3 “How to Respond to a Rejection Email” Templates

If you’re still worrying about how to respond to a rejection email, you’re welcome to copy and paste these responses. Make sure you change the details before you send it!

1. The Generic Response

Dear ___(interviewer name)___,

Thank you for letting me know about your decision regarding the __(name of position)__ position.

Thank you for considerinI appreciate that you took the time to interview me for this position. I enjoyed learning more about __(Company)__’s unique __(culture, products, services, approach, mission statement, etc.)__! I especially enjoyed learning more about __(specific example)__.

Although I am disappointed that I will not be working with you at this time, I hope that you will keep me in mind for any similar positions that become available. Is there anything that you noticed about my application or interview performance that I could improve? I appreciate any feedback that you are willing to offer.


__(your name)__
__(your contact info)__

2. The Dream Job

Dear ___(interviewer name)___,

Thank you for letting me know about your decision regarding the __(name of position)__ position.

I appreciate that you took the time to interview me for this position. As you know, I have always wanted to work in this field and industry, especially at __(Company)__. I hope that you will consider me for any other relevant positions that become available!

Is there anything that I could improve in my application or interview performance? I really want to work in this industry. Any information you can provide would be very helpful as I continue my job search.


__(your name)__
__(your contact info)__

3. The Graceful Exit

Dear ___(interviewer name)___,

Thank you for letting me know about your decision.

I’ll admit that I’m disappointed I won’t be able to become part of the team at this time. I really enjoyed meeting you and learning more about the work that __(Company)__ is doing.

I’ll keep following __(Company)__ as the team __(works toward goal)__. I’m especially interested to see the progress on __(project or new development discussed in interview)__.

Thank you again for this opportunity, __(name)__. I hope that we’ll meet again someday in the future.

Wishing you the best,

__(your name)__
__(your contact info)__

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How you choose to respond to a rejection email could alter your career Luckily, there's a way to make a rejection letter work in your favor.

How to Write the Perfect Job Rejection Email Response (Examples)

how to respond to a rejection letter

There are few things more frustrating than having your job application rejected by a potential employer. And it’s especially frustrating when you’ve made it to the interview stage of the process and felt that the interview was a success. Sadly, however, most of us experience this frustration at different points in life. It’s a natural part of the job-seeking process, since all but one of the candidates for any given job end up being rejected.

Of course, knowing that doesn’t make it any easier to read that rejection email when it arrives. At that point, the question is how you should respond. Many experts agree that it’s important to send a message thanking the company for the opportunity. We agree and have some tips that will help you to write the perfect job rejection email response.



Why You Should Always Send a Job Rejection Email Response

You might be wondering why you even need to send a job rejection email response. After all, the last thing you probably want to do is sit around thinking about a missed job opportunity. You would probably rather move right to the next potential job than spend any time dealing with a company that just rejected you. There are, however, some very sound reasons for writing a great job rejection email response:

  • Future opportunities. If the company gave you an interview, chances are that they know you are qualified. You may just not have been the best fit at this time. That doesn’t mean that you’re not a great fit for their team; it just means that one of the other applicants was viewed as a better option. That may not be true with a future set of candidates, so why not leave the door open to future consideration for the next open position?
  • It’s the professional thing to do. Your image matters, and employers do talk to one another. That’s why it is so vital that you pay attention to the little things – like thanking someone who considered you for a job. The right job rejection email response can demonstrate your commitment to professionalism and leave a lasting positive impression.
  • You can also write a response to a rejection letter, asking for feedback about your candidacy. That feedback not only demonstrates your commitment to getting better but can provide invaluable information to help you in your job search.
  • It only costs you a little time. There are many benefits to responding graciously to a job rejection, and no costs other than time.

How to Reply to a Job Rejection Email: Sample

We have included a job rejection email sample that you can modify for your own use.

Hello (Decision-maker’s Name],

Thank you for taking the time to inform me of your hiring decision.

I am, of course, disappointed that I wasn’t selected to be a part of your great team. I had looked forward to helping [Company Name] continue its excellent work in the [Industry Type] industry. With that said, however, it was a true honor to meet you, and I deeply appreciate the opportunity to interview for the [Job Title] position at the firm.

I anxiously look forward to continuing to follow your team’s efforts and continued success. There is no doubt that [Company Name] will continue to be an industry leader well into the future! Please keep me in mind for any future job openings that you may have, as I would love to have an opportunity to contribute to that success.

Thank you once again. I wish nothing but the best for you and everyone at [Company Name} and look forward to seeing you again at some point in the future.

Best Wishes,

[Your Name]

Final Thoughts on Your Job Rejection Email Response

Remember that you can still apply to other positions at the company even if you received a rejection email. Here is a good tip from Tomas Ondrejka, Co-founder of Kickresume:

If you haven’t given up on the company yet and hope to work there in the future, try to connect with your interviewer on LinkedIn. This can be doubly effective if you actively use LinkedIn and post regularly. It’s an easy way to stay on the company’s radar and increase your chances of getting hired in the future.

While it is important to know how to write the perfect job rejection email response, it is even more valuable to know how to avoid rejection in the first place. Many rejections are the result poorly-written resumes. Some are so bad that they cannot even pass through the ATS process. And when that happens, you’re likely to receive an immediate automated job rejection notice. So, if you haven’t been getting the interviews you need to land a great job, it’s probably time to refocus on your resume.

For more information about preventing those immediate job rejection emails, check out our great post: Automatic Rejection for Your Job Application? Here’s Why.

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How to Respond to a Rejection Email (Without Losing Your Cool)

how to respond to a rejection letter

It might be your dream job, or it might be just one of several you're pursuing. Either way, it is discouraging to find out you were not selected for a position you wanted. Give yourself a little time to absorb the disappointment and then turn the rejection into an opportunity for growth. How you respond to rejection, whether in your professional or personal life, reflects on your character, so remain professional, courteous and upbeat to avoid burning your bridges with the company or the individual. Use your response to keep doors open to future opportunities, expand your professional network and improve your interviewing skills.

About the Author

As a national security analyst for the U.S. government, Molly Thompson wrote extensively for classified USG publications. Thompson established and runs a strategic analysis company, is a professional genealogist and participates in numerous community organizations.Thompson holds degrees from Wellesley and Georgetown in psychology, political science and international relations.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images

Read the letter carefully, then put it aside for a day. Do not respond immediately since your emotions might be in turmoil.


Send a note or email to the person you dealt with at the company during your job search process. This might be a human resources officer or the person who interviewed you. Thank her for her time and attention and for considering you for the opportunity. Be polite, positive and professional in both tone and language.


Write that you are still very interested in the company and would appreciate being considered for future opportunities for which you are qualified. Let her know you also would appreciate her sharing your information with other firms that might be hiring for similar positions.


Close your note by stating you are interested in learning what you might do to make yourself a stronger candidate for future job opportunities. Indicate that you will call in the near future to discuss this.


Follow up your note with a phone call to request her feedback on what you did well during your interview and what she perceives as areas needing improvement, whether on your resume, your interview performance or your qualifications. Thank her again for her time and her willingness to provide advice.

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.

How to Respond to an Employment Rejection Letter

how to respond to a rejection letter

Finding out that you didn’t get a job can be difficult. When you get a job rejection email, it’s tempting to simply delete it from your inbox and move on. However, sending a thoughtful response to this rejection is a better choice for your career in the long run.

In this guide, we will discuss the important steps for crafting a job rejection email response. Use these tips to write a professional email that can build and maintain connections with employers.

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Why you should respond

When responding to a job rejection email, it helps to think of your interview or application as a networking opportunity. Creating professional connections is a great way to advance your career. By following up after a rejection email, you can build a positive relationship with the employer.

While other applicants likely also received the same rejection email, most will not send a response. By sending a reply to any rejection emails you receive, you’ll stand out among the pool of applicants who weren’t selected.

A polite, gracious response reflects well on you both professionally and personally. Plus, it could be beneficial to you in the following situations:

  • The applicant who was hired changes their mind and decides not to take the position.
  • The applicant starts the new position but realizes it’s not a good fit and leaves after a short time.
  • The employer has another opening for a similar or related position for which you would be a good fit.

In any of these situations, it’s much easier to choose from recently interviewed applicants than to start over to fill the position. After all, it takes a considerable amount of resources to post a job, review resumes, schedule interviews and discuss the candidates. Instead, many hiring managers first consider applicants from a recent candidate pool. If you’ve sent a thoughtful response to your rejection notification, it could help you to stand out when the employer is searching for new candidates.


How to respond to a job rejection letter

As you write your response to a job rejection email, consider including the following elements:

1. Thank your interviewers

You can show appreciation for several things when you write a reply to an interview rejection letter. Try to touch on each of the following points in your response:

  • Thank the hiring manager for letting you know their decision.
  • Express your gratitude for their time and consideration. You can directly mention contact you’ve had with them, like a phone or in-person interview.
  • Tell them you appreciate the opportunity to learn about the company. You can also mention that you enjoyed the chance to meet certain people who work there.

Keep this portion of your response to one or two sentences. Showing your gratitude is a great way to start the email, so consider mentioning some or all of these things early on in your response.


2. Express your disappointment

Next, make sure the interviewer knows that you’re disappointed to hear that you weren’t chosen for the job. Expressing your disappointment can help demonstrate your genuine interest in the position and company. Keep this brief to maintain a positive tone in your email.


3. Show continued interest

Make sure the hiring manager knows you’re still interested in working for their company. The hiring manager might assume you’ve secured a position elsewhere or that you’re not open to hearing about other positions that may become available. Reiterating your interest helps the hiring manager to confirm that you’d still like to be considered for future opportunities.


4. Ask for feedback

One optional addition to your job rejection response is a request for feedback about why you weren’t selected for the position. Keep in mind that this type of reply is more acceptable for applicants who are still early on in their careers, such as student interns or recent college graduates. If you’re experienced in your industry or if the job rejection email already included details about why you weren’t selected, you can leave this part out of your response.

If you decide to inquire about the hiring manager’s feedback, be sure to ask respectfully. This request shouldn’t come across as a demand or an implication that you’re questioning their decision. If you’re wondering how to ask for feedback after job rejections, a polite appeal is the way to go. Also, you should keep in mind that they might have simply selected someone else for a reason that had nothing to do with your qualifications or personality, such as timing.


Example job rejection email response

Below is an example of an email response to a job rejection notification. Be sure to include specific details so that your reply does not seem like a generic letter:

“Dear [Hiring Manager Name],

Thank you for getting back to me about your hiring decision. While I’m disappointed to hear that I was not selected for the [Job Title] position, I greatly appreciate the opportunity to interview for the job and meet some of the members of your team. I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about your organization and would love to be considered for any future job openings that may become available.

If you have a moment to spare, I would be interested to hear any feedback you have regarding my application and interview. I’m sure any details you can provide would be helpful to my job search.

Thank you again for your time and consideration, [Hiring Manager Name]. I hope our paths cross again, and I wish you and the rest of the team at [Company] all the best moving forward.

[Full Name]”

Use the tips and examples in this guide to write a job rejection response to support professional connections in your future. Sending a polite and professional email is sure to reflect well on you professionally and may potentially lead to other opportunities at the company.

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Should you respond to a job rejection letter or email? If you have the urge to do so, here are some tips to to determine if you're making the best decision.

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