How Do You Respond to a Rejection Email after a Great Interview?

John Krautzel
Posted by in Career Advice

When you feel completely confident after an interview, there's nothing worse than having your hopes dashed with a rejection email. The situation may seem hopeless, but before you start feeling sorry for yourself, keep in mind that a rejection email is an opportunity in disguise. Here are a few tips for responding to a rejection and salvaging the situation.

Hold Back Your Negativity

Your first instinct might be to hit Reply and craft a heated response to the rejection email, but lashing out only serves to burn bridges. Responding is always a good idea, but keep your message positive. If the rejection email mentions that the position is filled, congratulate the hiring manager or recruiter on finding the right candidate. Then, thank the interviewer for giving you an opportunity to interview for the job. This type of response ensures you stay in good standing with the employer in case another position opens up or if the hired candidate doesn't work out.

Ask How You Can Improve

Take any rejection as a chance to boost your resume and interview skills. After thanking the manager rand congratulating the interviewer, kindly ask if there is anything you can do to improve for future applications. The interviewer might have spotted a weak spot in your resume, such as the lack of a certain skill or certification. Addressing any issues can help you increase your chances of a better outcome in the future.

Inquire About Other Opportunities

Just because you're not the right fit for a certain position doesn't mean you're not right for the company. It's perfectly acceptable to write a follow-up email asking if your skill set and experience might better suit another position within the organization. The bigger the company, the greater the chances that the organization is hiring for more than one opening. The recruiter may even be aware of openings that haven't been advertised on job sites.

Start Networking

You can finish your email by asking if it would be okay to add the recruiter or hiring manager on LinkedIn. Even if the company isn't hiring, this person may be able to connect you with other companies seeking talent. Be sure to nurture this connection, reaching out once in a while to build a relationship. For example, you might send a message with a useful article, a notice of an upcoming industry event or some other piece of information that may be of interest.

Rejection emails are tough to deal with, but with the right response, you can flip the situation in your favor. Hold back any heated emotions, and keep your tone polite and gracious to impart a positive impression. Do you normally respond to rejection emails after an unsuccessful interview? Share your answer in the comments.


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  • Alma C.
    Alma C.

    It just happened, its true it was very hard to finish reading that e-mail, I wanted that job so much. I just thanked them for interviewing me. I felt

  • brisia lynnete F.
    brisia lynnete F.

    Keep trying and not give up and find another job.

  • Liza Guerra
    Liza Guerra

    I thank them for their time even though I wasn't offered the job.

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