How Should I Respond to An Email Rejection From a Company I Didn’t Interview With? |

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It took me a little while to realize that there might be two circumstances where this person might have thought they had not been interviewed and was rejected.

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Someone posed this question of me that I thought would be useful. It took me a little while to sort out a second possible meaning for the question. That is, “how should I respond to an email rejection from a company I didn't interview with?”

My first reaction was to say they submitted their resume and they got turned down. That one, I had an instant response to. But then there was the second one. Not Get That one, I’ll get to in a second. That one came to me a little bit later. So, I’m glad I didn't just respond right away with a video and you'll understand why in a second.

So, let's say you've submitted your resume to an employer and they respond with an email rejection. How should you respond to that? Should you respond to that and the answer is, “no.” Do not respond to it. Learn from it. Take a look at the job ad. Take a look at your resume. How did you demonstrate your fit for the role?

Most people send the same resumes out over and over again and like the watch is right twice a day, their resume will get them a certain number of interviews. However, they're not doing any work to make a case for their candidacy. Thus, the firm sends out a rejection email basically saying, “thanks! But no thanks. We are not interested in talking to you.”

If you respond to that, all you are doing is demonstrating that you are a fool and they made the right decision. You didn't do the work. You didn't position your resume in a way that showed that you were the solution to what they wanted and needed. So, that's on you. That's not on them. Responding to it isn't going to work anyway. You are going to waste a lot of effort. You've missed the learning opportunity and put the blame on them when the blame should be on you.

The second option. This one came to be a little bit later and that's the notion that they got a phone interview, but they didn't get an in-person interview so they don't consider that it was real interview because they spoke to their corporate recruiter or an agency recruiter and they got a rejection email. What do you do then?

Well, the answer is, again, it’s on you. You didn't make case for why you fit the requirement. You didn't interview well and, thus, the answer comes down to you need to practice interviewing. You need to be in a place where you can speak freely and if you're not, schedule a time to get back to them so that you can speak openly and freely.

You’ll talk with them as soon as they call you about what the nature of the role is so you can be brought up to date and then target your answers to what matters to them. Again, you don't just talk about what you've done; you talk about what you've done that matters to them. Unless you make a strong enough case, you don't get invited him to meet with the team, with your potential future boss, with the hiring manager, with anyone else. It's over.

So, how should you respond? Learn from it. That's the best thing that you can do.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1200 episodes, “Job Search Radio,” “and his newest

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

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