Second Chance Interview from a Rejection Letter

In a perfect world every resume review, application, and interview would end with a successful job offer that places you in the career of your dreams.  In real life, however, chances are you’re going to have to deal with a few let downs along the path to job hunt victory. Think about it this way: for every amazing job, there are easily 10-20 or more amazing candidates vying for position.  Chances are that someone is going to end up feeling the sting of rejection.

While no one wants to hear the old “it’s not you, its me”, rejection letters and emails are par for the course if you’ve been on the job market for any length of time.  While most candidates quickly hit the delete button before drowning their sorrows in bowls of ice cream to avoid replying with varying degrees of anger and anguish, if you take this tasty but unresourceful approach you may be missing out on a golden opportunity.  

The idea is that if you were near the top of the candidate consideration list and the first choice doesn’t pan out, or some other change in circumstances opens up another position, your rejection letter could be your best chance to keep your name and candidacy in the running.  Read on to find out more on how to score a second chance interview from a rejection letter.

Be Thankful

While candidates often think they are the perfect fit for the position they are applying for, sometimes the hiring manager’s choice of one applicant over another can center on the most minute of factors.  Maybe one person fit the department or company budget a tad better or maybe the choice came down to a few extra months of experience of more familiarity with a particular software utilized by the business.

While your may never know the exact reason you were edged out for a given job, expressing gratitude in your response to any rejection is a solid way to make yet another great impression on a would be employer.  While this may seem like a wasted effort, the reality is that many job offers and hires don’t quite work out the way the employer expected. Maybe the candidate wasn’t a great fit. Or, perhaps, a new position opens up due to an increase in workload or other unforeseeable circumstance.  

Whatever the reason, even if you don’t receive an offer after interviewing for a position, express your gratitude to the hiring manager, HR representative or other company rep via a follow up thank you email or similar correspondence.  Thank the people who ushered you through the process for their time and consideration. In the event things don’t work out with the chosen candidate, you’ll be sure to be on the top of the back up list for a call back if and when an opportunity arises.

Don’t be a Bad Sport

No matter what you do after a rejection, avoid the urge to express bitterness or resentment to the hiring manager, interviewer or other company representatives.  If you were referred for the position by a friend or colleague, avoid speaking negatively of your experience as your words could get back to the potential employer.

There are numerous considerations when it comes to hiring a new potential employee.  Maybe your preferred schedule wasn’t quite right or the other candidate had a slightly lower minimum salary requirement.  Whatever the case may be, keeping a positive outlook, at least on the outside, will keep you from knocking your chances at a second chance interview or future job offer

Give them a Second Chance

If you’re looking to potentially land a second chance interview after receiving your initial rejection, you will need to give some indication of your continued interest.  The first temptation after hearing the old “it’s not you, it’s us” line from a prospective employer is to hit delete or toss the rejection into the nearest trash bin (or fireplace if you’re feeling dramatic).  While you’ll probably get a few therapeutic benefits, this approach isn’t the best for converting a “no thanks” into a “welcome back”.

Indicate in a follow up call with the recruiter or a response email to the hiring manager that you continue to be thankful for the interview experience.  Drop in a line that indicates you’ll continue to be on the watch for other opportunities from the employer. Finally, explicitly invite your interviewer to reach out should circumstances change and the position reopens.

Sample Response to a Rejection Letter

Need a push in the right direction when it comes to converting a rejection letter into a second chance interview?  Read on for real world sample responses that work for candidates like you:

Dear Ms./Mr. (Interviewer’s name),

I appreciate you taking the time to update me regarding the status of my candidacy for the [open position].  I understand that there are many qualified candidates for an open position and that hiring decisions are often nuanced and difficult.  I’m glad that you found an applicant that fit your organization’s current needs.

If you have any specific feedback regarding my experience, resume or interview, I would greatly appreciate constructive criticism.  Additionally, if circumstances or staffing needs at your company were to change, I would enjoy the opportunity to apply with the organization again.

Thank you again for your time.



Article Updated from the Original on March 12, 2018