A natural part of most job-hunting journeys is getting rejected from a position to which you have applied. It’s never a fun situation, but it is still one that should be handled as respectfully as possible.
If you decide you do need to reply to a job rejection letter, it is best to remain calm, polite, and respectful. Thank the recruiter for their time and for taking the time to respond to you, then wish them well and move on.
Here’s how to reply to a job rejection message.
When to Reply to A Job Rejection
It’s important to first note that not all rejection messages will require a reply. Indeed, many automatically sent rejections – such as those sent through a job board site like Indeed or Glass Door – do not have a reply option at all.
The only instance in which you would consider sending a reply would be if the recruiter themselves has messaged you to let you know that you did not get the job. In this case, even if you have received a form letter rejection, you still have the option to reply.
Replying to a rejection is especially important if you were further into the application process, such as after one or more interviews. In these cases, companies may choose to keep your application on file for future openings, meaning a courteous reply can keep you in their good graces.
So, the rule of thumb is that, if you’ve been communicating with the recruiter prior to the rejection, it’s probably fine to send a reply. If not, there’s no need.
How to Reply to A Job Rejection
To reply to a rejection, it’s best to acknowledge outright the rejection itself. Thank the recruiter for letting you know and mention your appreciation for their time and/or consideration.
If you have a solid rapport with the recruiter or the message comes from a smaller company, you might have the opportunity to ask why you were passed over. This can help you hone your skills for your next interview.
From there you can wish them well and sign off politely. It’s best to keep these messages light in tone and short.
Job Rejection Reply Template
Here’s what a response to a job rejection might look like. Of course, this template should be adapted to meet your unique situation.
SUBJECT: Re: [Title] Position Application
Thank you for letting me know about this decision so promptly. I appreciate your taking the time to do so and for your consideration throughout this application process.
[Optional] May I ask why I was passed over for this position? I would like to be able to improve my interview and application technique in the future.
I wish you well with the candidate you chose. Thank you again.
Note that this response is succinct and to the point. This can help prevent misinterpretations of your tone and keep you from coming across as offended by the recruiter’s decision, which may negatively impact any future interactions you have with them.