Posted in Drafts, Lifelong Learning, Resources, Writing

From the Ashes of Rejection

For me that is not an option.  The luxury of a pity party.   To do so would cost me big time.  Not only will I be losing momentum, but also time.  So in the spirit of keeping things moving, I need to move in for the kill and I mean move in pronto!

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Image Source:

My ammo.  Simple.  A “Thank You for not offering me the job” letter.  My personalized response to my recent rejection letter.

To give you some background, I applied for a position.

The way that job announcement read, I was almost convinced that the Hiring Manager had only me in mind.  The ease with which I mapped the duties almost 1-to-1 to my experience and skill set was almost uncanny.  Nevertheless, not one to walk into an interview with a false sense of confidence, I did my homework;  reviewed the organization’s website, that particular unit’s organizational chart, Googled for any recent developments affecting the company and even studied the LinkedIn profiles of the panel of interviewers.

No challenge there, but settling on my wardrobe choice was.  Going back and forth, is the outfit too muted or too loud?  Oh my! and then the incident with the panty hose.  Lesson learned, never wait until  the last minute, only to realize your last pair of unripped panty hose is a shade too light and what is worse is that you have no time to rush to the store to pick the right shade.  Also this was no time to get into a funk, but pray that this “shady” looking pair of hose would not cost me my confidence and inevitably botch my performance on (at) the interview.

Ok. maybe I am overreacting just a little but I was conscious about that and it did not help with the knots in my stomach just imagining how to best launch into my response to the all too common but potential  first question “Please tell us about yourself”.

Actually the interview turned out not as bad as I expected.  No.  In fact it was great.  If you ask me I think I conveyed that this was more about giving as much as I was there to get.  I must commend the panel of interviewers for creating a relaxed environment for what they called a “discussion” in which they shared freely and gave me ample time to respond to their not-by-any-stretch-canned questions.  This suggested to me that they actually took the time to review my application.  And yes, I sent my personalized thank yous’ on time.

But I did not get the job.

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This time I checked that off as well,  my questions for the interviewer(s) which in fact was more an opportunity to connect the dots between what I knew prior to our discussion and after their sharing.  They did an excellent job of filling in the gaps, so you can only begin to imagine my mixed emotions when I received my rejection letter.  However, this time, it was different.

I genuinely wanted to get their feedback on what I could have done differently but my internal conflict centered around if that was too little, too late.  Is this a lost cause?

Not at all.  I will send in a Thank you for not getting the job.  This is different from the “thank you for the opportunity to interview for the position and making the time to respond to my questions”.  This is my opportunity to reiterate that I am very interested in the position and should something come up in the future, not to hesitate to contact me.

Thank you for the opportunity to meet on May 22, 2013 and for considering me as one of the candidates for the ___________ position.

I understand that you have decided to go in another direction and although I am disappointed that I was not selected, but knowing how professionally and thoroughly each candidate was interviewed, I appreciate the fairness and diligence of your recruitment process.  I am honored to have been on that short list.

It was a pleasure getting to meet you and the rest of the group. I particularly like your style of relating to each other in the group, and sincerely hope that sometime in the future if this position should again become available or a similar opening should exist, I would be most interested in having the opportunity of being seriously considered for the job.

I appreciate the thoughtfulness and courtesy you showed me during the interview process.

Pointers  for the Thank you for the Rejection Letter 

  • Thank you for the Rejection Letter – Keep it Short and Simple.  Be gracious, positive and succinct.  Reiterate interest in being considered for this or similar opportunities that may become available in the future.  Send it to the decision maker(s) that communicated or and signed off on the letter and the Human Resources contact of the organization.
  • Phone Call instead of a Letter – Mindful that the interviewer is not obligated to grant this opportunity to offer feedback, set up the convenient time to discuss how to be a better candidate in the future and any gaps in my qualifications that I can begin working on.  Suggest a 30 minute block of time to have the discussion and leave it up to the interviewer to determine if they are open to a longer time slot.
  • May request an introduction to a colleague who works in an area that is more suited to your talents so one can better prepare for future opportunities.

And the next time, I may just experiment with the parting questionNow that you’ve had a chance to meet and interview me, what reservations would you have in putting me in this position?

Talk about a killer question, a killer of your chances or does it really suggest an openness to constructive feedback and reinforcing my “ it is not all about what is in it for me” attitude where the interviewer walks away feeling like they had a refreshing conversation.

Why is this a wise or not so wise approach?



Broad based knowledge seeker; outside and beyond the box - arts and culture, travel, writing, christian faith walk, good reads and refreshing conversation - and not necessarily in that order. Storytelling by connecting the dots between the traditional and non-traditional, the obvious and not so obvious.

3 thoughts on “From the Ashes of Rejection

  1. Rejection hurts but you’ve clearly come away with a few lessons. Lessons which you’ve done mankind a service by sharing. Thank you.

    I LOVE the parting question. Will you ever use it, do you think?

    I think it would be a great idea too to go ahead and ask for specific feedback. How many people were interviewed for the position? What did they want from you that you didn’t have? What could you do differently?

    Well done anyways. You did a great job

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