Career Advice, Interviews

How To Interpret A Job Rejection Letter

Currently, there are six applicants for every open job in the American economy. The jobs we’ve lost are going to take a while to come back. The most important implication is that you are going to get six times as many rejection letters in your search for work.

That means that you must get good at reading rejection letters.

Even though it feels like the letters say, “You weren’t very impressive,” or “You failed to meet our expectations” or “You just weren’t good enough” or “What an ugly suit you wore to the interview” or some other denigration, the truth is that there is nothing personal about a rejection letter. Nothing. Personal.

Nothing at all.

Maybe even less than that.

Rejection letters make a banal attempt to appear sincere. They always fail.

Let’s take a look at a sample rejection letter:

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Perhaps you’ve read about the so-called Black Hole of Resumes – This is occurs when your application and resume seem to disappear into some online abyss in which you never receive a response or confirmation. Part of the problem is that the human beings at the other end of the tunnel are nauseated by the routine practice of having to send you an insincere piece of doublespeak like this.

A more honest and authentic rejection letter might read.

“Dear John,

The company wants us to send plainspoken rejection letters so that our applicants will feel some love. It kind of reminds me of my Mom just after Christmas when I had to send Aunt Jane a thank-you note for the presents that should have gone to my much younger siblings.

To tell you the truth, John, I can’t exactly remember which one of the applicants you were. I see about 350 candidates each month for about ten minutes.

Most of them could do any of the jobs here at the company but we simply can’t hire them all. My bet is that you were as good as or better than the other candidates. But, the hiring manager liked one of the other choices more. It probably had more to do with chemistry or how much the hiring manager had to drink the night before.

At any rate, I’d really like to persuade you that I had the time and energy to sincerely wish you well. But, since we had less time together than the guy I shared a cross-town cab with, it would be a sham.

I hope you find work soon. My wife would be all over me if I was looking for work. I hope someone close isn’t picking on you.

So, John – now I’ve spent more time rejecting you than I spent talking to you. I’ll never understand these policies.