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Should You Send an Email "Thank You" After You Find Out a Job Has Been Filled?

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You found a job for which you were perfectly qualified, thought you aced the interview, then get a rejection letter or email. While it’s not a good idea to send a “Your loss!” email to the interviewer, you might think doing nothing can’t hurt – but it actually might. Sending a thank-you letter not only shows common courtesy, but also has several advantages and might end up getting you hired after all.


When you submit a resume, you’d probably like an acknowledgment of its receipt as a common courtesy. While companies might get hundreds of applications for a job, they asked for the applications and you’d think etiquette would at least require a pre-printed postcard or standard email sent by an intern. If you’re not offered a job, you have no obligation to respond to a rejection, but turnabout is fair play, and thanking the company for taking a look at you and giving you a chance might be the decent thing to do.

Not So Fast

Just because a company has offered someone else a position doesn’t mean that person will take the job or last once she starts work. When an employee gives notice, her employer might make a counteroffer, prompting her to stay and reject the new job offer. In some cases, an employer will jump the gun and announce that a job’s been filled before final negotiations with the candidate have taken place. It’s also not uncommon for businesses to find they hired the wrong person, or for a new employee to discover he does not want to continue working with a new company. This might mean you are once again a potential candidate, and the more positive your relationship with the company, the better.

One Last Pitch

Because there’s always a chance that somewhere down the road, you might have an opportunity to work for a company that doesn’t offer you a job, it’s important to use a thank-you email to make one last strong impression on an interviewer. In addition to simply saying thank you, reiterate your desire to work for the company, emphasizing the main reason you thought you were a prime candidate. If you feel you have little or no chance with this company in the future, consider asking for any suggestions to help with future job searches. Many rejections don’t come with a reason. Sending a thank-you email and asking for suggestions might give you valuable information to use in future resumes or interviews. You might find you were eliminated because the employer didn’t know you had experience you clearly did, thought you wouldn’t take a pay cut, or felt you were over qualified and might be too bored to stay with the company for very long.

Counter Offer

Depending on how badly you need work or want to get your foot in the door with a company, make a proposal to the company that might get you involved with the business. For example, if you know of another position available that was not as desirable as the one you applied for, express interest in that and ask if you would be considered for the position. Let the company know you would be happy to start at a lower level for the opportunity to work for the company. You might offer to do project work for the company to let them give you a “test run” that will make you a stronger candidate in the future.


Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.

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