Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

5 Reasons to Say “Thanks For Not Hiring Me”

thank you noteIt might not occur to you to send a thank-you note to a potential employer who just rejected you.

But doing so might end up landing you the job.

“Try turning that rejection letter on its head,” advises Marine Corp vet, MIT Sloan School of Management scholar and job search guru Susan P. Joyce. “Convert it into an opportunity.  If you really liked the people and the organization and would want to be considered when another opportunity opens there, send a nice thank you note to the hiring manager, the recruiter, and everyone else who was in the interview process.”

You sent a thank-you letter after your interview, right? Sending another one after the process is over keeps you on the firm’s radar.

Here’s what Joyce says you should put in it:

  • Thank them for letting you know the outcome of their search.
  • Thank them for their time, courtesy and consideration during the interview process (if true, of course).
  • Express your disappointment in not getting the job.
  • Express your appreciation for the opportunity to learn about their organization and meet their people.
  • Reiterate your continued interest in working there.
  • Ask them let you know if another position comes open.

5 Reasons to Say Thank-You After a Rejection

  1. Because you’ve got nothing to lose. “They’ve already offered the job to someone else and probably gotten an acceptance. But that person may change their mind and never start the job,” writes Joyce. “Or that person may take the job but prove to be unsatisfactory. It happens more often than you think. So, what does the employer do when they face this situation? They groan, roll their eyes, and take another look at the applicants who almost got the job. Why? Because they really don’t want to start from scratch, post the job, review the resumes, schedule interviews, spend time in meetings discussing the job and the candidates, etc.
  2. Because you never know. The legal landscape can change overnight. A new position might have opened up the day your rejection letter went out.
  3. Because it will make you stand out. “Thank-you notes are rare. And a thank-you for a rejection is so unusual that they can be very effective, possibly bumping you up from number two or number three to number one on the almost-hired list.”
  4. Because it’s easy. It only takes a few minutes. Besides, you didn’t get the job. What else do you have to do?
  5. Because you’ll be doing the employer a favor. “Filling a job takes a lot of time and energy. Staff time for interviews plus the cost of posting the job, etc. is expensive. So if the new employee failed quickly, they may reach back to the almost-hired list to see who is available.”

Joyce says the strategy works. You can read some success stories here.

Got any suggestions on what to do after getting a rejection letter? Send us a comment.



About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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