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Should you respond to a rejection letter?

Posted on 2/10/2015 by


After flying through multiple rounds of interviews, daydreaming about how you’re going to decorate your desk, and having that warm feeling of having finally found “your perfect job,” then suddenly the email pops up, “Thank you for applying, but...”

Just before you decide to send that strongly worded email (after a few glasses of red), or dissolve into a puddle of self-pity, take a deep breath and try to read the situation for what it is: You got really close. Final round interviews typically means you’re competing with only one or two other people. The hiring manager likely remains very impressed with your skills, but for some reason—which may or may not even be related to you—gave the role to someone else.

So should you respond? YES- Don’t throw away all the effort you’ve put into this company by moving on without responding. This might not be exactly the opportunity you were envisioning, but it’s an opportunity nonetheless. Make the most of it by sending a thoughtful thank you note. Here’s how;

1- Start with a Thank you

Thank the hiring manager or recruiter for the chance to learn more about the company and meeting the team and for the overall experience of interviewing for the role. Did anything from the day stand out to you in particular as a positive memory? Write about that. Just a sentence or two will do.

2-  Ask for feedback

In general, it seems interviewers are typically pretty hesitant to do this, but it does not hurt to ask, especially if you made it to the final stage. If they don’t respond, there’s no harm done, and you get bonus points for being the type of person who seeks feedback. If you do get feedback, you’ll have something to work on for your next interview. Win-win.

Finally always keep the door open, reiterate your interest in the type of work you interviewed for, and ask that the team keep in you in mind for future or similar opportunities. You never know what this simple request could lead to.Treat this note as a way to open more doors, rather than just the closing of one.

Here are a few of my favorite examples of how NOT to reply to a rejection letter;

The In-denial


The storyteller