7 Tips on How to Respond to a Rejection Email (with examples)

job rejection email

How to Respond to a Rejection Email

Nobody likes getting rejected, so if you’re reading this, you might be a little upset right now. Maybe you needed the job you were rejected for, or it would have been that big break into the field you love. Take a few moments, breathe, and understand that it happens. 

Now, it’s time for you to respond to that rejection email. Yes, while not the most fun thing to do, it must still be done. Not only does it show you are mature and professional, but it also leaves room for the employer to give it a second thought, as well as give you valuable feedback on what you can do next time. 

So, once you’ve had the chance to get that bummed feeling out of your system, follow this guide on responding to a rejection email with grace and professionalism.

It doesn’t feel good when a potential employer, someone you’re attracted to, or anyone else in this world rejects you. 

Unless you are the most emotionally mature person on the planet, your first response is to want to fight back a little bit or take it personally. However, that doesn’t do you any good, especially during a job hunt. 

Yes, it’s tempting to snap back with a sarcastic remark or ignore it entirely, but if you take the time to respond graciously to job rejections, you might open up other opportunities down the line. 

As the old saying goes, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. So, it’s in your best interest to maintain your composure, be grateful for the opportunity you were given, and ultimately keep the communication pathway open without any hard feelings.

7 tips On How To Reply To A Rejection Email

Of course, telling you to respond graciously doesn’t help if you don’t know how to do it properly. Here are seven tips to help you respond accordingly, along with some examples you can use to craft your rejection response. 

1. Thank them for their time

Even if you didn’t land the job, you were still given an opportunity. A lot more goes into that than you might think. 

First, the hiring manager had to sift through hundreds, or even thousands, of applications. They chose you as part of a very small few to invite in for an interview.

Then, they spend time away from everyday work tasks to give you a shot at working with them. Again, that opportunity probably only went to a dozen out of thousands of applicants. Time is expensive in business.

On top of that, they were nice enough to follow up and tell you about being rejected. If you’ve applied for jobs in the past, you know most employers don’t do that (even though they should). You can often sit around for weeks hoping for a phone call or an update. 

It’s tempting to see it as a total loss, but you should open your response by showing gratitude both for their time and for showing you courtesy by letting you know their decision.

2. Show appreciation

It’s one thing to show gratitude for the opportunity and the time they spent with you, but showing appreciation for the overall experience is another. 

Immediately after thanking them for informing you about the rejection and spending time with you, you should let them know how great it was to visit the company, get to know the team, and see how they operate.

3. Reiterate your enthusiasm and interest

The main purpose of a follow-up email/call is to make sure you leave a good impression on the person hiring for the company. 

Mentioning how great you think the company is and your continued interest can only help with future opportunities. Being straightforward with this step is important. If they know you are still interested in options, you might be first in line next time a similar role opens up.

4. Make Yourself Available

Let the employer know you are always available to chat and discuss additional opportunities. Again, don’t leave the conversation before expressing your interest. Businesses lose employees all the time for various reasons, and the hiring process is often complicated. 

The hiring manager might not have brought you on because you weren’t a fit for the available position, but you might be a better fit for a different role in the future.

5. Use LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great tool for keeping connected with colleagues, companies, and other workers within your industry. If you haven’t already, look up the recruiter or hiring team on LinkedIn for the company you are applying for. Send them a connection request and see what happens.

There are two major advantages to this connection request. First, you make a connection within the company. That individual you connect with might reach out if future opportunities open up. 

On top of that, you gain a way to impress the organization further. That contact will see the content you post and how you evolve, potentially sparking interest despite not seeing what they wanted in the interview for this initial job.

6. Take notes 

There are countless reasons why a company might pass on a candidate, but regardless of the reasoning, you should always take a mental note of why it happened. After getting turned away for a few jobs (we hope this doesn’t happen but will for most), you might start to see a trend in the reasoning.

Maybe you lack a specific skill, or you aren’t asserting a sense of confidence required for the job. Whatever it may be, writing it down and revisiting those rejections is a great way to learn and grow. 

7. Ask that they keep you in mind, then Keep Searching

If you nail all the other tips when responding to a job rejection, this will likely already have come across. Still, you should close your email or letter by letting the hiring manager know you are interested in future opportunities.

Simple is your best strategy here. “If anything fitting my skillset becomes available, I would love to hear more about it.”

If a company is hiring, that means they are likely growing. With growth comes the need to continue to engage. Once you’re in the organization’s pipeline, you could be up for a similar role down the line. In the meantime, keep searching – that next opportunity could be around the corner.

keep job searching meme

Job Rejection Email Example #1

Hello (Hiring Manager’s Name),

I appreciate the opportunity to interview with (Company Name) and for taking the time to inform me of your decision. While I am disappointed to hear that you’ve decided to take another route, I am grateful for the opportunity to meet you and develop a better understanding of how (Company Name) works. 

If you don’t mind me asking, was there a specific reason you went with another candidate or anything I could have done better during our conversation? 

If any other similar opportunities come up, I would love to be considered for them. 

Have a great rest of the day!
(Your Name)

Job Rejection Email Example #2

Dear (interviewer)

I have received your email, and I want to thank you for your time interviewing me for the (position). I am disappointed that I didn’t get the job, but I want you to know that I enjoyed the experience. I particularly enjoyed (describe something you enjoyed). 

While I won’t be serving in the (position), I am interested in working for (company name), and I hope you will consider me for more suitable jobs. 

Finally, if anything stood out in our interview that could help my performance in the future, I am interested in hearing your feedback. 

Thank you for taking the time to consider me and follow up with your final decision. 
Sincerely, (your name)

“Today, it takes anywhere from 100 to 200 applications for the average job-seeker to receive a single job offer. Making things even harder is that, on average, every corporate job opening in the U.S. receives approximately 250 applications.”

— Zippia

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How can I ask for future job opportunities?

You can ask about future job opportunities by telling the interviewer that this is one of your dream companies and that you are interested in other employment opportunities if they come up. 

How can I ask for feedback after rejection? 

The best way to ask for feedback after a job rejection email is to be straightforward with your follow-up request. If you want to know what you can improve on, ask it. Be direct but remain polite and positive. 

How can I turn a rejection into a job offer?

If you’ve been rejected for a potential role, there’s no one specific way of turning that rejection into a job offer. However, your follow-up response to that email could potentially set you up for future opportunities. 

How long does it take to get a rejection letter after an interview?

Most rejection letters or emails come within a couple of weeks of the interview. There are a variety of factors in play, like the number of applicants, company size, and level of the role they are hiring for. 

You might get a response in as little as a few days, but other times it could take weeks or even months. Remain patient, but if you haven’t heard back after a week, reach out to the hiring manager or recruiter for a quick update.

Wrapping Up | Job Rejection Response 

Responding graciously to job rejections isn’t easy, but it demonstrates emotional maturity and allows you to walk away from a missed opportunity with your dignity intact. To recap our seven tips to help with your response:

  • Thank them for their time
  • Show gratitude
  • Remain enthusiastic
  • Make yourself available
  • Use LinkedIn
  • Take notes
  • Ask to keep you in mind 

Take the high road and craft a simple yet effective rejection response. Those doors you are keeping open with the organization might garner future opportunities down the line.

We hope this helped and wish you the best of luck in your job search!

Title: How to Respond to a Job Rejection Email

Category: Job Search

Tags: how to respond to a rejection email, job rejection email response, job rejection email, hiring manager, job search, interview process, job rejection letter, job rejection response

Author: Reid is a contributor for theJub. He’s an employment and marketing enthusiast who studied business before taking on various recruiting, management, and marketing roles. More from the author. | Author Profile

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