How to Respond When You Didn’t Get the Job

Despite spending hours of practicing your interview responses in front of the mirror, your last attempt to get a job didn’t turn out as you’d expected. The interviewers said that they were impressed about your qualifications and skills but, unfortunately, there were other candidates who appeared to be a better match for the position. Obviously, you didn’t get the job.

Getting a rejection from employers might have you feeling disappointed, upset and, in some rare cases, even angry about the fact you didn’t make it past the job interview. While this is a terrible feeling, there is a way you can make it work to your benefit. Learning how to deal with rejection will help you become more resilient, daring, and confident in your job search.

See Also: How to Follow up After an Interview

Any type of rejection is emotionally painful, but in job hunting, the way you choose to handle it determines your chances of success. What’s interesting about rejection is that it causes social pain that is more vividly felt than physical pain and misbalances the “need to belong”. As Columbia University’s professor of psychology Geraldine Downey explains: “It communicates the sense to somebody that they’re not love or not wanted, or not in some way valued”. This pretty much has to do with the expectations you have and what you anticipate from certain life events – for example, in a job interview.

Whatever the case, you shouldn’t let it get to you. In an attempt to end things well with an employer, even if they never got to be your actual employer, you still need to reply to that rejection letter and thank them for the opportunity they’ve given you.

So, here’s how you should respond to employers after you find out you didn’t get the job:

1. Handling the Feedback

Woman shouting on the phone

Most employers are much concerned about how candidates are going to take the feedback, but they definitely don’t want to spend hours of their time explaining to each applicant why they didn’t get the job. So, you’re probably going to get something like this:

Dear [Candidate],


Thank you for applying for the position of [Name of Position]. We’re sorry to say that we won’t be taking your application further at this point, but we appreciate your time and interest in [Name of Company] and wish you all the best for the future.


Kind Regards,

[Name of Hiring Manager]

When you get this message, your initial response may be anger, but it’s best that you don’t show employers you are upset. Before you ask for any feedback on how you did during the interview, make sure that you thank them for the time they have given you and how much you enjoyed meeting them in person.

2. Leaving the Door Open

Welcoming couple open door

In your email response, you could say something like: “I appreciate your time speaking with me about the position, and I hope that you will keep me in mind if an opportunity comes up and you think I would be a good fit”. You shouldn’t consider this as being or appearing desperate but rather as leaving a window open for any future opportunities. This essentially gives them a second chance to reevaluate your suitability. In fact, employers might even tell you in their email that they will keep your records for upcoming positions.

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3. Asking for Advice

If you want to know why you’ve been rejected, you can ask interviewers for more feedback. After all, you do have the right to do so. This is to understand why you were unsuccessful, what went wrong during the interview, and what you can do to get the most out of the next one. Most employers would prefer to stick to the general candidate feedback but this fails to provide any detailed explanation as to why you weren’t chosen, so you may need to send them an email asking them for advice, making it clear that you’re not trying to argue or pick a fight.


Coming up with the perfect email response when you’ve been passed over for a job can help you in many ways. If you ask nicely, employers can give you plenty of advice on how to improve your job search strategy and, as such, get found for the right opportunity.

So, how would you respond to a rejection letter? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below...

The Huffington Post