Why Candidates Should Treat Job Rejection Letters As a Gift

Last updated on December 2nd, 2012 at 08:27 pm

Controversial title I know, but stay with me on this one and all should become clear

After the trials and tribulations of an unsuccessful interview and after receiving a rejection letter the last thing you may want to do is ask for interview feedback. You may just want to curl up into a ball and lick your wounds.

Its OK to be disappointed – naturally you applied for the job because you really wanted it – but you should also take some comfort in the fact that you have actually received a rejection letter. Why? There are three reasons for this:

  1. You are the privileged minority. A poll by about.com tells us that just a quarter of candidates (27% to be precise) always/usually receive a rejection letter. So, if you do get one you are part of the privileged minority. (“Still doesn’t sound like a gift”, I hear you saying. Please read on)
  2. It means the channels of communication are open: By sending you a rejection letter the company has given you a sign that they are the kind of employer who is responsive and to some degree cares about rejected applicants. This means that they are likely to be much more receptive to a request for interview feedback, than a company who has not bothered to contact you. The channels of communication are open.
  3. You have an opportunity to get feedback to improve your future interview performance: A post interview rejection letter should be considered as an invaluable opportunity to get detailed interview feedback which can help you to understand why you went wrong – and how you can adapt your future job search or interview technique process to improve your chances of getting a job.

This is why I think a post-rejection letter should be considered a gift – and I don’t think the opportunity should be squandered and you should ensure to request interview feedback from any interviews where you got a post-rejection letter. And to help you with this, I have set out a simple template for an interview feedback letter. This can be e-mailed and/or sent by post (to demonstrate greater conviction). If you do post, ensure to include an SAE,

Letter requesting interview feedback

Dear [insert interviewer’s name]

Thank you very much for taking the time to interview me for the role of [name of job] on the [date of interview].

I appreciate the time you took to interview me. Naturally, I was disappointed to  learn that I was unsuccessful in my application, however, I would welcome any feedback you could provide me about my application and interview. I am committed to continuing professional development and am always looking to develop my job search technique and any feedback or advice you can offer will be very beneficial for me in the future.

You may contact me at any time via phone, email or post. [Delete if not relevant; I have attached a stamped addressed envelope] I do appreciate you taking the time to consider me for the role and if any other openings become available, I would be very keen to apply.

Thank you again for your time. I do look forward to hearing from you.


If you would like to read my  e-book, 9 Essential Steps to Prepare for Interview, please click here.

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