How to reply to job rejection with astonishing grace

Rejection of any kind is hard. We don’t like to be rejected or told we didn’t measure up.

How do you reply to job rejection?

When you are in a job search mode and you make it through multiple interviews to one of two or three candidates, no one wants to be told they are the runner-up.

When you get that far, you want the YES! But sometimes that just doesn’t happen. Is there anything you can do at that point? How do you reply to job rejection?

What to do when you get a NO in your job search

This is the time to be proactive. First step? Write a thank you for the NO. (This is assuming you write thank yous throughout your job search after an interview or even when someone helps you in the job search process.)

Are you crazy? That’s what you are thinking, right?  Why in the world would you write a thank you as a reply to job rejection? Here are four reasons to write the thank you for the NO.

  1. The person they hired may not work out. Hiring doesn’t come with a crystal ball. A person may interview very well but perform very badly once on the job.
  2. The person could back out. It happens. Sometimes the person is in the middle of multiple interviews and might say yes but if Dream Job #1 comes up with an offer, they could back out. (If you think it never happens, check out this story from my local newspaper where a Public Works Director backed out)
  3. Your letter could be the reminder the hiring manager needs for another upcoming role. Your sincerity in saying thank you for the No might even make them create a role just for you.
  4. Hiring managers don’t get many of these letters so yours will stand out! They may even know of another company that could use your skills and recommend you.

What should you say in the Thank you for the NO?

  1. Restate how much you appreciated the interview.
  2. Echo what you liked about the company.
  3. Let them know sincerely that you would love to be considered for another role that could use your talents and qualifications
  4. Restate your qualifications and how you could have solved a problem for them but do it in a nice way. “I appreciated gaining a better understanding of your problem with how to expand your market share. I hope the points I brought up in the interview about how to reach a wider audience were helpful to you.”

Rejection is never fun and it is hard to reply to job rejection positively.

But sending your thank you for the No positions you as someone who is confident and possessed the grace to rise above defeat.

Land your dream job! I help job seekers via interactive and personalized strategic coaching sessions to land their ideal job and achieve career happiness. Find out your resume writing and job search solution here!

Resume Design and Job Seeking Tips

Here are Design Resumes' latest articles on job search, resume design, resume writing, and Linkedin optimization articles I've written.

FREE Resume and Job Search Tips by email

Get free tips and strategy direct to your inbox. just add your name and email below. I respect your privacy.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Julie Walraven, Design Resumes

Julie Walraven

Professional Resume Writer

Here are ways I can help you land your dream job.

You may be halfway across the country or the world. When you work with me, we share coffee, laughs, and concerns. This turns the scary job search into creative, consultative writing and learning sessions.