How to Respond to a Rejection Email (+Templates)

(Last Updated On: February 23, 2019)

Nobody likes rejection but it’s important to know how to respond to a rejection email. Of course, it’s important to be polite and gracious… but if you do it right, your response can make a huge difference in your future employment success!

Here are five things to remember as you’re drafting your next response.

How to Respond to a Rejection Email in 5 Steps

1. Be grateful for the opportunity.

Express gratitude for your opportunity to interview. Use statements like “I really appreciate that you took the time to interview me,” or “I’m grateful that I was considered for this position.”

Always be kind, courteous and professional in your responses. Just because you didn’t get the job today doesn’t mean you’ll never want to work at that company again. Don’t ruin your future chances at the company by being rude or angry in your response.

2. Stand out from the crowd with specific details.

Use this opportunity to create a great, lasting impression with the interviewer. Mentioning specific details from the interview reinforces that you were paying attention and that this opportunity was important to you. This may help you connect with future opportunities at the company.

I like to use specific details from the interview in the emails. For example, “I really appreciate the opportunity to learn more about (the company’s current project)” or “I really enjoyed learning about (insert something the interviewer discussed).” If a joke was made, you can say something like, “I enjoyed retelling your joke about (subject) to my children when I returned home that evening.” Only use one or two detail statements, though, or the letter will sound forced and overwhelming.

If you can’t think about anything to use from the interview, pull from other sources like the company website. You can use statements like “I am “I really respect the work you do, especially pertaining to (project / area)” or “I am impressed with the company’s (product / initiative / development).”

3. Restate your interest in working at the company.

State your disappointment and continued interest in working there. This should be a brief statement. Be careful to avoid any passive-aggressive language in this section. For example, “I’m very disappointed that I did not get the position, but I hope to interview for another position at Company in the future” or “Although I’m disappointed that I was not selected for this position, I would love to be considered for any similar positions in the future.”

4. Ask for honest feedback about your performance.

When you’re looking for work, constructive criticism from a hiring manager can be very helpful. It can be very difficult to hear negative responses about yourself, but honest feedback can help you do better next time. It can dramatically improve your chance of being hired after your next interview… but it’s the hardest part to master when it comes to learning how to respond to a rejection email.

Keep your request concise. Simply ask, “I would appreciate any feedback you may be willing to offer about my application and performance. Is there anything I can improve?” or “As I continue my job search, it would be helpful to know if there is anything I can improve. Did you notice anything that needed improvement on my application or during my interview?”

You won’t always get an answer to these questions. However, any answers you do receive can help you in your quest to find a new job. Do not ask this question if you aren’t able to accept the answer graciously.

5. Send a LinkedIn request a few days later.

LinkedIn is a professional social network. If you don’t already, sign up and create an account. Remember, it’s a professional network designed for employers so the account must be professional.

Send a connection request to the hiring manager that you’ve been corresponding with. Add a short personalized message to your request. For example:

Hey __(name)__!

I really enjoyed meeting you during my interview for __(position)__ at __(Company)__. I was really interested in learning about __(project)__ and I’d like to follow your progress. Can we connect here on LinkedIn?

Wishing you the best,
__(your name)__

3 “How to Respond to a Rejection Email” Templates

If you’re still worrying about how to respond to a rejection email, you’re welcome to copy and paste these responses. Make sure you change the details before you send it!

1. The Generic Response

Dear ___(interviewer name)___,

Thank you for letting me know about your decision regarding the __(name of position)__ position.

Thank you for considerinI appreciate that you took the time to interview me for this position. I enjoyed learning more about __(Company)__’s unique __(culture, products, services, approach, mission statement, etc.)__! I especially enjoyed learning more about __(specific example)__.

Although I am disappointed that I will not be working with you at this time, I hope that you will keep me in mind for any similar positions that become available. Is there anything that you noticed about my application or interview performance that I could improve? I appreciate any feedback that you are willing to offer.

Sincerely,

__(your name)__
__(your contact info)__

2. The Dream Job

Dear ___(interviewer name)___,

Thank you for letting me know about your decision regarding the __(name of position)__ position.

I appreciate that you took the time to interview me for this position. As you know, I have always wanted to work in this field and industry, especially at __(Company)__. I hope that you will consider me for any other relevant positions that become available!

Is there anything that I could improve in my application or interview performance? I really want to work in this industry. Any information you can provide would be very helpful as I continue my job search.

Sincerely,

__(your name)__
__(your contact info)__

3. The Graceful Exit

Dear ___(interviewer name)___,

Thank you for letting me know about your decision.

I’ll admit that I’m disappointed I won’t be able to become part of the team at this time. I really enjoyed meeting you and learning more about the work that __(Company)__ is doing.

I’ll keep following __(Company)__ as the team __(works toward goal)__. I’m especially interested to see the progress on __(project or new development discussed in interview)__.

Thank you again for this opportunity, __(name)__. I hope that we’ll meet again someday in the future.

Wishing you the best,

__(your name)__
__(your contact info)__

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