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How to Respond When You Don't Get the Job


By Kristine Penning,


It’s always tough to get the news that you didn’t get the job, and it can be tough to not react in a negative way. But responding poorly or not at all could hinder future opportunities both with the organization and outside of it. Here’s how to craft a response to a rejection letter so that it leaves doors open rather than slamming them shut.

Don’t Burn Bridges
You might be experiencing an array of negative emotions: disappointment, anger, hurt, depression. However, refrain from expressing those emotions in your response to a job rejection email. At most, you can let the employer know that you are disappointed to hear that you didn’t get the job, but remain very cordial and positive. Do not send a retort or angry ranting, ungrateful message. You never know who the employer has connections to and could hurt future opportunities for you.

No Ghosting
Ghosting (or completely ignoring correspondence with no answer) is becoming quite common between job seekers and employers. It’s rude in any situation, including when you don’t get the job. If you get a rejection letter or email, it will reflect badly on you if you just delete it from your inbox and move on without replying. As previously noted, agriculture is a close-knit industry; word about your lack of response could reach the right ears and ruin future opportunities. Be sure to send a reply to the employer rather than totally ignoring their rejection.

Say Thank You & Keep It Simple
The right thing to do when you don’t get the job is to say thank you. Send a reply expressing your gratitude to the employer that they took the time to review your application, interview you, and consider you for the position. You don’t have to compliment or flatter them if you don’t care to, but do let them know that you enjoyed meeting them and learning more about their organization.

Finally, treat your response as a networking communication. There may come a day when you would like to apply to a job at this organization again. Replying in the first place will make you memorable in a good way, but letting your interviewer know that you are still interested in the role and/or organization and would like to be considered for future opportunities will keep the right doors open. Plus, you never know if the person that they have hired or offered the job to could fall through. Stranger things have happened!

Asking for interview feedback is a gray area and you will likely get different responses from anyone you might ask about it. This is usually more appropriate for less experienced or younger applicants. But it can put the employer in an awkward position. It can also open you up to harsh criticism that can add further feelings of disappointment.