Got Turned Down for a Job? Follow Up and Learn From the Experience

Applying for jobs can be daunting: You edit your resume, you write cover letters, apply, then wait. Finally you get a call back, have a seemingly great interview … but ultimately you don’t get the job.


Then your mind begins to race… “Was it something I did? Something I said? Did I not articulate my experience clearly? Should I have worn the pantsuit!?!?”

Instead of wondering what could have gone better, you should ask what could have gone better.

Follow up with the interviewer, hiring manager or recruiter to learn more about your candidacy and identify development points. This provides an opportunity for you to discover your “hiring blind spots” and proves to the employer who passed on you … that you’re someone to keep an eye on.

Customize the template I’ve created for you (below), and turn this bummer into a learning opportunity.

Keep at it,
Josh Shipp

Suggested subject line: [Your Name]: Quick question?

Hi [Contact Name],

Thank you for considering my application for [Job Title] at  [Company Name].

While I understand that I was not your choice to fill the position, I remain interested in improving my resume, interviewing skills, and learning from the experience.

Would you please respond with two specific areas where I could improve or make myself stronger as a job candidate?

Thank you in advance for your honest feedback.

[Your Name]

[Your Email Address]
[Your Phone Number]

(Download this template as .doc) spokesperson Josh Shipp is the host of Jump Shipp, a documentary TV series offering individuals a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live out their dreams. His book, ‘Jump Ship: Ditch Your Dead-End Job and Turn Your Passion into a Profession‘ will be released Dec. 3. He’s an award-winning entrepreneur named to Inc. Magazine’s “30 Under 30” list and is the founder of Youth Speaker University. He has contributed to MTV, CNN, 20/20, Good Morning America, The New York Times, and Visit his Web site at

And in case you missed it: Check out the recent segments from TakePart live focused on how to face rejection and turn it into a learning experience:

By commenting, you agree to Monster's privacy policy, terms of use and use of cookies.

  • LC

    Hello Josh. Great article.
    While I’ve enjoyed reading it, I don’t think it could ease the pain for many of us young graduates or experienced who are looking for a job/ have been fired.
    Sometimes thy don’t even tell you why you have been rejected,saying they have received too many candidates -it’s obvious but why do you use this as an excuse – Lately, I’ve talked to a friend who finally found something after 25 months of unemployment -part time-, he was explaining to me that I should be paying attention to some application sheets asking ‘how did you learn about us…’
    I’m not going to lie but most of candidates get the job if they know someone from inside. Maybe these hiring managers don’t remember the days themselves were looking for a job too, the funny thing is some positions meet the deadline but when you ask them why are still headhunting for that position, they kind of tell you nobody was available. How about hiring a candidate and train him/her to get on the task promptly?
    It’s really disappointing and stressful because it’s basically a job per se until you find the perfect place to start your career.

  • John Retti

    Thank you for such a tangible piece of advice. I agree, knowing our blind spots can be very helpful.