You thought you had the job all sealed up and then you get an email with some bad news. They decided to pursue other candidates, they went with someone who had better qualifications or the position was filled by someone else. So, what do you send in an email response to people you interviewed with several times?
Yes, they rejected you and that stinks. But that does not mean you should be a bad sport or use this as a chance to be spiteful. Do not send an email with a link to a virus, or give them a piece of your mind. Here is what you should send instead in an email after the job rejection.
Say thank you
You are thanking them for the time and consideration. If they interview you and you had an enjoyable experience, thank them for the chance to get to meet. Leave a positive impression to show that you respond to bad news professionally. You see the good in a situation that is otherwise disappointing.
Ask for feedback
First things first, if they do not reply to your request for feedback do not be disappointed. The reality is we cannot always have nice things because the worst people scared others into thinking being helpful leads to trouble. You asked for feedback, but they may fear you are picking an argument.
But you still should ask. Try asking questions that read harmless such as, “What key qualifications do you think I should work on that would have helped me?”. Try the statement, “If you have any feedback that you think would help me with my job search, it would be greatly appreciated.”
Again, they may not reply and they may not be allowed to tell you why you were not chosen. Ultimately, you should not stop looking or improving because they cannot give you what you want.
Offer to stay in touch
If you had interviewed and enjoyed it, it would be great to follow up after a rejection with an offer to stay in touch. They did reject you now, but you never know if a job may pop up down the road that you would be a great fit for. Ask to be considered for future opportunities.
In your email, you should give the fastest and most efficient way to be reached should they ever wish to reach out to you again. This is where it helps to have a great signature on your email. You can even connect with them on LinkedIn (which is a bit more personal).
It's ok to be upset
You can express that you are disappointed by the rejection, but use it as a lead-in to express gratitude for having had the chance to interview or be considered.
Sample email rejection thread
See the sample email chain below, which includes all tips mentioned above and the reply sent from the hiring manager (company and names withheld).
Hiring manager rejection email
Re: News regarding Your Position
Last week someone who works (with us) and whose position is being eliminated applied for the same position. She (and I) only found out last week that her job was going to disappear. She’s been with us in a sales position for several years, and prior to that she had twenty years experience in (other sales). Under the circumstances we felt we had to offer her the job.
I’m so sorry to have to tell you this. I thought you did a great job on your assignment and in the interview. I liked the step-by-step approach, the clear and thorough presentation, and your belief system. You certainly embody our company spirit.
I know this is difficult, but I do hope you’ll stay connected. We want people like you to be part of our community.
Email response after rejection from job candidate
Dear Hiring Manager,
I sincerely appreciate your kind words and thank you for letting me know. I appreciate the position you are in and think it is great you hired in-house.
This is indeed unfortunate news for me, yes, as I was looking forward to speaking with more of the staff. For now, please thank everyone for me that I had met during the interview process. I enjoyed the process greatly and learned a great deal that will help me in future job searches. If you have any feedback for me, I would love to hear anything you believe can help.
Finally, it would be a pleasure to stay in touch. Please do keep me in mind if anything changes or new positions open up you think I may be a good fit for.
Have a great week,
Response from Hiring Manager
Dear Job candidate,
I absolutely will keep you in mind. I am genuinely sorry about this. It was completely unexpected.
For what it’s worth, I also thought the work you submitted as part of the application process with your tribute to your wife was extremely moving and engaging.
I really do wish you the best of luck.
What exactly happened in that email thread
People stayed kind, appreciative, generous, respectful and supportive of each other. In the process, they connected and continued to stay in touch to this day. Every rejection should be seen as a building opportunity.