The Rejection Thank-You Letter

Recently I was speaking to a group of job seekers at the New York Public Library.  When I mentioned the “Rejection Thank-You Letter,” most people scoffed.  With one exception.  A young woman raised her arm and announced that she had actually done it and she got a job at the company that had rejected her.

You applied for a job.  You got an interview.  They told you to call them in two weeks.  Two weeks later you called, got voice mail and they did not call you back.

You applied for a job. You got an interview.  They said they would call you in two weeks.  Two weeks later, no call.

In either scenario you wait another week.  Things happen.

Three weeks pass and you send the following letter, in the mail, paper and envelope, old school.

Dear Jane,

I want to thank you again for interviewing me for the auditor position. 

I assume that you have decided to choose another candidate.  While I am disappointed, I want you to know that I appreciate the opportunity, wish you and your hire the very best, and look forward to seeing you in the future.



So what have you done?  You have reminded them about your candidacy.  You have shown class.  You have demonstrated excellent customer service skills.  And you have differentiated yourself from your competition because no one else is going to do this.

Now let’s say that you are wrong.  They have not eliminated you.  You are still in the running.  Since they never contacted you, they can’t blame you for an incorrect assumption.  Other candidates probably called and nagged.  You did not.

Or you were correct.  They decided not to go with you.  It was because they did not like your style.  You just showed them your style and now they like it.  You are back in the running.

Or you were correct.  You did not get the job.  But now they see you in a different light.  Since the Rejection Thank-You Letter is unique, they remember you and, as happened with the young lady at my talk, when something else opens, they remember you, and you get the call.

This actually can work.  And what will it cost if it doesn’t?  An envelope, sheet of paper, a bit of printer toner, and a stamp.  Big deal!


Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter, career counselor and business advisor.  In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, he chairs their Entrepreneurs Network, hosts their weekly podcast – The Voice of Manhattan Business – and serves as an Ambassador.  Visit the homepage of his website,, to read about the latest questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies.