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How to Answer Denied Interview

by Ellie Williams

When a prospective employer turns you down, you might cross the company off your list and move on. However, by sending a polite, appreciative reply you can enhance your professional reputation or use the rejection as an opportunity to network with decision-makers in the industry.

Do Follow Up

Many job seekers send thank-you notes following an interview, but far less do so after a denial. If you do, you’ll leave the employer with a positive last impression and distinguish yourself from other candidates. While you might prefer to ignore the sting of a rejection, always call or send a letter or email thanking the employer for considering you and for getting back to you personally. If your resume crosses the employer’s desk in the future, he’ll remember the extra effort you made during your first encounter.

Contact the Right People

To make the most of your response, follow up with the appropriate person. Don’t call the company’s main number or send your reply to a general email address, even if that’s how you sent in your application. Call or send a short note or email to the person who notified you the company would not be interviewing you at this time. In some cases this is a different person than the one you submitted your resume to, so pay close attention to the name and contact information.

Express Gratitude

Keep your follow-up phone call or letter positive. Thank the employer for taking the time to read your resume and cover letter and consider your qualifications. Acknowledge the difficulty in reviewing so many applications and choosing only a few applicants. While you can express disappointment in losing out on the job, don’t imply that you’re angry with the employer or that you question his decision. Instead, focus on what attracted you to the position. For example, say “While I was looking forward to the opportunity to become part of such an innovative company, I recognize that there are probably a lot of worthy candidates applying for the position.”

Show Initiative

End your reply by expressing your enthusiasm for the job and for the company’s mission. Tell the employer you hope you’ll have another opportunity to learn more about the organization and how you can contribute, and ask him to keep you in mind for future openings. You can also tell the employer you’d be interested in learning about opportunities in other departments. If the employer liked what he saw but thought you weren’t quite right for the job, he might help you connect with someone else in the company.

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