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Why say Thank you for the No when you don’t get the job

Why say Thank you for the No when you don't get the jobAs I coached an executive level client on interview strategies, we talked about thank you notes. I try to cover sending thank yous with all clients but the thank you for the “NO” is one more step.

What is Thank you for the NO?

This may have you baffled. Usually when I mention this to my clients, they are a bit confused. It isn’t a common concept but it is very basic. In all stages of the job search process, you should send thank you letters to those who impact your job search. There will be times when you do get the rejection letter, email, or call. After graciously accepting a rejection call, you still can send the thank you for the NO.

The thank you for the No acknowledges that though you were not chosen, you still appreciated the interview and their consideration in the process. You thank them for their interest and state you are interested in the company and would like to be considered for future opportunities. You restate your value to the company and the position.

Why send the thank you for the NO?

  1. The first candidate may bow out. The company offered the job to someone else and had an initial yes but things change. A hard to sell house, a reluctant spouse, or another preferred offer could change their yes into a no and the company will be looking again.
  2. The person hired may not work out. You never know when things can change. A company hires someone with the perfect credentials but once on the job, things change. The candidate talked a better talk than you did in the interview but he didn’t deliver.
  3. You may make such a great impression that they hire you for another position that needs similar attributes but was not the one you interviewed for originally.
  4. You make such a great impression that they create a position for you to fill.

The extra effort of the “thank you for the no” is something all job seekers should consider but if you target high level positions and know you came in second or third, this is mandatory!

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9 Responses to Why say Thank you for the No when you don’t get the job

  1. Great suggestions Julie.

    I’ve hired my second choice candidate when my first hire didn’t work out. The second choice sent a gracious note expressing regret for not getting the job and wrote about what she appreciated about the opportunity and to please think of her in the future.

    I’ve also been hired myself after not being the first choice. I wrote a thank you note / proposal. After expressing appreciation, I offered my services to solve a business problem I learned about in the interview. I was hired as the first person in the new position I proposed.

    So folks. Listen to Julie. This really works.

    • Great feedback, Phyllis! Thank you so much! I know this is a proven strategy but thank you for confirming it. It is also one of those things that many people never think of or do.

  2. Julie: Thanks for the blog post link. Officially being unemployed as of last Friday, I’m doing the crash course in resume tweaking and interview prep. Iowa Workforce Development has been great so far and I’ve learned a lot in their interview classes after “going it on my own” on a first interview wihh a company interested in my skills. Boy, did I blow that one!!

    I’ll be wiser next time and make fewer mistakes. If it gets to 2014 and I’m still looking, what a wonderful excuse to travel to Wausau…..


  3. […] A new twist on the “thank you” letter concept is for candidates to send a thank you for a “No” received during a job search.  Once again, this simple act can keep communication going and allow for a long term connection with the organization.  You never know when another opportunity with the organization might open again.  Sometimes candidates hired do not work out for the employer.  A recent online article details why saying thank you for a “No” can be a big benefit to a candidate during the job search.  See the details here:… […]

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