Job Seekers: Didn’t Get the Job? How NOT To Follow Up

didnt_get_jobThe last thing you want to do after you didn’t get the job is hand the company a permanent Reject Me letter.

You did everything you were supposed to do.  You researched the company, exhaustively prepared for the interviews, and sent your thank-you emails.

Then you waited (and waited) to hear back, only to receive a form email that wished you well but stated the company had decided to pursue other candidates.

What you should do: Send an email back to your interviewers thanking them for the opportunity and expressing a few favorable points about the interviews and the company.

Why? Because this touch of graciousness in defeat shows you’ve still got the company’s best interests in mind—and that you may just deserve a second look.

To make sure you get the right tone and send the correct message, check out a sample post-rejection letter and tips from The Ladders here.

What you shouldn’t do: Include any of the below points in this email. You may think some of these are achingly obvious, but these examples are taken from real emails that regrettably cannot be printed in full.

Do not:

  • Detail the steps you took in the job candidacy process as evidence of the amount of effort you expended. The company already knows.
  • Deride, disparage, or otherwise  insult your interviewer or anyone else in the company.
  • State what, in your view, “common courtesy” and “the most basic amount of professionalism” required in regard to their treatment of you.
  • Insist that the company should have made a personal call to you instead of sending a form email.
  • Include the phrase “best of luck with that” in response to the company’s hiring another person.
  • State that you’re only sending this email for the principle of the thing versus anger at the company. No one will believe this.
  • End your email after all this with “Thank you for your consideration.” No one will believe that either.
  • Lastly, if you’re going to address your email to a specific person in the subject line, such as “A few thoughts, Brenda,”—don’t send it to several people at once.


Job search can be a thankless, time-consuming, soul-sapping, endless Groundhog Day. You go through so much to get so little in return. You still owe it to yourself to make sure you’re putting the best you forward at all times, and leaving the best impression you can.

This may mean faking your happy feelings and putting your ego on hold, but it’s worth taking the chance to shine once more. Because consider this: While you may think you’ll never darken that company’s door again, “never” is a long time. Management could change. Policy could change. New positions could open in different departments.

But someone, somewhere, will remember your last word. Companies have long memories. Don’t let their last one of you be a “few thoughts” like these.

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