How to reply to a rejection email

Job rejections can sting, especially when there’s no clear reason. But that makes it even more important to know how to respond to a rejection email. With emails flying in left and right, it can be tempting to read a rejection email, chuck it in the bin, and move on with life. However, replying can take the edge off the rejection. In this article, we’ll explain why sending a job rejection email response is important and how to craft your own. Finally, we’ll provide two sample answers to use as inspiration. Knowing how to respond to a rejection email will make it much easier to deal with them!

Why it’s important to send a job rejection email response

Responding to rejection isn’t a requirement. In fact, most hiring managers would not expect you to reply to their rejection email. However, there are a few reasons why it’s still important to do. And should you reply to a rejection email, do it with grace and without any unnecessary negativity. So without further ado, here are 3 main reasons why it’s beneficial to know how to respond to a rejection email:

Common courtesy

Have you ever apologised for not being able to make it to a meet-up with someone and not receiving a response afterwards? It doesn’t feel too great. Now imagine them responding with something like: ‘Don’t worry about it! There’s always a next time. Good luck, and I’ll see you when I see you’. All of a sudden, you don’t feel so bad about not being able to make it, and you feel that they value your priorities. Responding graciously to a job rejection is common courtesy, and should be done habitually.

Networking opportunity

Another reason why it’s important to know how to respond to a rejection email is that it gives you the opportunity to network. The more people you have in your network, the more sources of information you have to call on when you need them most. Hiring managers are also your ticket to new job opportunities, so it’s important to have them on speed dial. Better yet, you can use your network to help others find jobs, so the benefits are not only felt by you. A network acts as the moving walkway of your career, getting you to where you need to be with less effort.

Staying in queue

If you don’t respond to a rejection email, it’s likely that your hiring manager isn’t going to remember you when new opportunities pop up. It’s often much easier for hiring managers to dig up a CV of a recently interviewed applicant than to start from scratch. Because it’s so common for applicants not to respond to rejection emails, you’ll stand out among the pool of candidates when you do. So instead of leaving the queue altogether, you’re essentially ‘reserving’ your spot for when new opportunities pop up. This is a reason why a response to job rejection emails is important.

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How to respond to a rejection email

If you’re in the dark about how to respond to a job rejection email, we’ll shed some light with some tips to help you on your way. And although each situation is different, you’ll want to make sure to cover these basic topics to impress your employer. Of course, you can take creative liberty, but you’ll want to keep it as short and sweet as possible.

1. Show appreciation

In your job rejection email response, be sure to thank the person for taking the time to consider you. Hiring managers have a lot of candidates to sift through, which is no easy task. The truth is that there are a lot of hiring managers who don’t even take the time to reply to applications, which is all the more reason to respond when they do. Do this within the first couple of sentences to set the tone for the rest of the response.

2. Share your feelings

You don’t have to go into elaborate details about your feelings; hiring managers aren’t therapists. However, part of knowing how to respond to a rejection email includes showing that you care about the position. Without showing some form of disappointment, hiring managers may assume you’re not emotionally invested. Don’t fake it of course; if you genuinely wanted the position, this should come naturally. Keep this part to one or two sentences to avoid too much negativity.

3. Keep the line open

Just because an employer rejects you doesn’t mean you were a bad candidate. It may be that the hiring manager had a difficult choice to make, and would have hired you in any other scenario. If you genuinely want to work for the company, it’s worth stating that you’re open to future positions when replying to a rejection email, even if it’s not for the same role. If you’re still looking for job opportunities by the time a hiring manager contacts you, you’ve got a second crack at landing a job.

4. Ask for input

Whether this tip is helpful for you depends on where you are on the career ladder. If you’re just starting out, this may be your golden chance to ask for constructive criticism about your application. It’s not something every hiring manager has time to do, but knowing the reasons behind your rejection can be invaluable for your next application. Formulate this part of your job rejection email response with care; you don’t want to force a reply out of the hiring manager. Simply state the reason why it would be helpful to receive feedback (e.g. you don’t have much experience yet), and that any input would be greatly appreciated.

How to respond to a job rejection email (examples)

With tips on how to respond to a rejection email out of the way, it’s now your turn to apply what you’ve learned. But before you do, we’re going to give you two example responses to help you get started. Note that it’s often a good idea to ask for feedback after an interview. Although you won’t always get a detailed response, it’s something you should ask for at the end of every email. That way, you can use the feedback to improve your application, and increase your chances of getting hired. These job rejection email responses should be personalised to your situation.

Job rejection email response - example 1

Dear [Hiring Manager Name],

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my application for the [Position] at [Company]. While it wasn’t the news I had hoped to hear, I’m still glad that I was part of the selection. It would be great if you could keep me in mind for any future opportunities that may become available.

Since I’m at the start of my career, I would very much welcome any feedback you may have about my application or interview; if you have a moment to spare, of course! This would really help me with my continued job search.

Again, I really appreciate your response. Should you wish to contact me in the future, you can reach me at [Phone Number] or [Email].

Best regards,

[Your Name]

Job rejection email response - example 2

Dear [Hiring Manager Name],

Thank you for getting back to me about my application for the position as [Position] at your company.

Although it’s disappointing to hear that I didn’t make it through the selection process, I respect your decision. I hope you are willing to keep my resume on file for future openings, as I’m still very interested in working for your company in whatever capacity you have available.

If you have a moment, I’d be happy to receive any feedback on my resume or interview, so that I can make the necessary adjustments in the future.

Thanks again for giving me the opportunity to apply, and I wish you and your team all the best.

Kind regards,

[Your Name]

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Final thoughts on how to respond to a rejection email

Job rejections can be demotivating, which is why it’s so important to learn how to get past them and move forward. Instead of holding a grudge or ignoring your hiring manager’s email, take the edge off by learning how to reply to a rejection email. By using the tips and examples in this article, you’ll be well on your way to crafting your own response. And trust us, it’ll get easier once you’ve done it a few times. Here are the key elements you should include in your rejection email response:

  • Show appreciation for their time
  • Share your feelings to show you care about the position
  • Keep the line open for future opportunities
  • Ask for input or feedback to improve your application

Remember that almost everyone (including your hiring manager!) has dealt with rejection at some point in their career. They’ll appreciate that you understand why they had to decide to reject you. And when the sting of a rejection has finally blown over, it’s time to start applying again. And lucky for you, we’ve got tons of vacancies to choose from. Do you feel like your CV needs an overhaul? Then we recommend making use of our free CV maker to give your resume a fresh new look. All the best with your job search!

FAQs about how to respond to a rejection email

  • How do you respond to a rejection email without an interview beforehand?

  • Your response to a rejection email should be the same whether you did or didn’t have an interview before you received the email. However, make sure to thank the hiring manager for the interview if you had one, and try to highlight something positive about the interview in your job rejection email response.

  • Is there a specific way to structure a job rejection email response?

  • You don’t have to follow a certain format to write your job rejection email response. However, it’s a good idea to keep it as short, simple, and effective as possible. You’re all set as long as you show your appreciation for their efforts to hire you. Anything else that you mention is a bonus and an opportunity for you to sell yourself.

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