Responding to a job rejection

Updated: September 22, 2012.

The way you respond to a job rejection is important and has, on several occasions, paved the way for a job seeker to find a job. You may receive the information through a phone call, an email, or a letter. You might even find out the news from someone else, even the person who may have landed the job. Regardless of how you find out, it’s time to take action.

Why should you respond? Although a current opportunity may not be availabe to you, handling the rejection well could lay the foundation for future consideration. Hiring professionals know that this kind of news is difficult. If you handle it in a respectful manner, it gives a clear and positive message about the depth of your character.

Here are a few tips:
Rejection by phone call:

  • Respond with something like, “Thank you for letting me know. If another position surfaces I would like to be considered. I wish you the best for the future of (company name)”
  • Analyze the situation.
  • Identify lessons learned
  • Follow-up with a hand-written thank you note. Thank them for their interest in you. Send them your best wishes for their sucess. Give your email address and phone number.

Rejection by email or letter:

  • Respond with a short note, compliment the company and their process.
  • Ask to be considered for other positions.
  • Send them your best wishes for their future success.
  • Follow-up with a hand-written thank you note. Thank them for their interest in you. Send them your best wishes for their sucess. Give your email address and phone number.

Should you ask for feedback?
At Forward Motion, we advise caution about this. Since you didn’t get the job, if you ask what went wrong, then the rejecting company may feel like they have to give a reason. There may be legal ramifications as well. If you do ask for feedback, remember that you may have managed yourself well, and another candidate was simply a better fit. If you receive a negative review, think it through carefully and do not allow the information to cause negative thinking. Also remember, it is one person’s opinion. Learn what you can and move on.

Assessing your situation:
Take a step back and look at the larger picture:
If you’ve been invited to interview for a position, it means that you have worked your way up the ladder through the online filters, and possibly through several sets of interviews with different people who have different needs. For example, a Human Resource Professional will focus on whether you work well with others, and how well you might adapt to the company culture. However, a hiring manager may focus more on your skills, your experience, and determine how well you can do the job, how quickly you can “ramp up” and become productive. Regardless, you can assess how far you are getting in the hiring process.

Interviewing incorporates several sets of skills. It takes time to learn and understand the components that lead to success and it’s difficult because no two interviews are alike. Consequently, a candidate may understand the components of a successful interview, but putting them into action, in the moment, takes practice. Thinking through your interview, identifying any points that may have caught you off guard, and practicing those elements, will add to your skills and prepare you for the next round.Need an interview? Consider a Forward Motion Differentiation Workshop.

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