So, you had a job interview and thought it went great. You sent the appropriate thank you email. The interviewer’s response sounded promising—they spoke to you like you practically had the job.
Then … you receive the rejection email.
At least, that’s what happened to me after my first “I really want this” job interview, and boy was I disappointed.
That rejection email could arrive for many reasons: there was another applicant, you weren’t qualified, they decided to go in a different direction, etc. Unfortunately, the only thing that matters is that you didn’t get the job. So, now what?
Well, you can turn this negative into a positive by writing a post-rejection email. While you technically don’t need to do this, it could help you in your future job search, as well as give you some valuable feedback. Here’s how to write it.
First, take some time before you respond. A rejection can get your emotions high, and you don’t want to say things you will regret. Sometimes, companies keep in contact with each other, so it is best to avoid anyone’s bad side. Give yourself anywhere from a few hours to a day—enough for you to calm down—before you write your email.
As with all letters and emails, begin with a proper greeting. This doesn’t mean it has to be formal, like saying “Dear”; go with whatever feels appropriate to you, based on your previous emails. And remember, always address your interviewer with a prefix before their surname, unless they stated otherwise.
In the body of the email, express your thanks. This can be for many reasons: their time, the interview, the opportunity to learn about the company, etc. Whatever you appreciated them doing, be sure to thank your interviewer.
Then, thank them for the rejection. Yes, this hurts, but they did consider you for the job and take the time to email you their decision. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t express disappointment. If anything, please do. Just be sure to do it in a tasteful way.
Now, things get interesting. This is your opportunity to ask your interviewer for a favor or two. This might turn off some, but if you do it right, things might work out for you. Start with something like, “I may not be in the position to ask any favors, but …” and then ask.
If your interviewer hadn’t already said it, ask them to keep your résumé on file or let you know if any other opportunities pop up. Hey, it’s an opportunity to network and it shows your interest in the company and occupation, which could be a plus in your interviewer’s eyes.
Also, ask for some feedback. Maybe what you could have done better in the interview or if your résumé needed some fixing—heck, ask for both! Any feedback is a great way to improve your future job search chances.
If you feel uncomfortable with this, just add somewhere in there that there is no need for your interviewer to respond. That way, they don’t feel pressured and you don’t feel awkward asking for these small requests.
You can just end with a “Sincerely” and your full name; however, I truly wanted to wish them well, so I did. I told my interviewer best of luck with their decision and that I hope it worked out for them.
Here is a quick example of my email:
Hello Mr. Doe,
I wanted to thank you for giving me the opportunity to meet with you and for telling me more about (insert company). I also appreciate that you have let me know that you decided to go forward on a different path. I am disappointed to hear I don’t fit as of now, but I understand that (company) is going through a change.
Also, thank you very much for keeping my résumé on file because your company seems like one that I would really like to work with since you want to create a community with words, which is very important to me. Please do consider me for future opportunities within your company.
I may not be in the position to ask for favors, but if you know of any other opportunities similar to this job, I would appreciate if you would let me know or pass along my résumé. I also wanted to ask if you could spare some time for feedback on what I could have done better in the interview or done on my résumé. Please don’t feel obligated to answer, but it would be a big help in my future job search and I would really appreciate anything you have to say.
Best of luck with the direction that you are working with for (company). I hope that it works well for you.
Do you have any suggestions to improve this post-rejection email? Let us know in the comments!