Recruitment Tips, Employer Trends, and Hiring Insights from CareerBuilder

Talent Acquisition

Some job candidates handle rejection better than others

Nearly everyone who’s ever been in the position to interview a job candidate has an embarrassing, awkward or outrageous interview story to tell. And some hiring managers’ stories even extend past the interview process. Yesterday, Ask A Manager blogged about such experiences, using real-life anecdotes of job applicants’ responses to rejection notices that run the obnoxious gamut from telling interviewers they’re mistaken to simply telling them off.

I think one of the great ironies that these former candidates fail to realize is that this type of response usually only confirms that the manager was probably right in not hiring him or her in the first place. These people also, as Ask A Manager points out, unwittingly burn bridges in this manner, effectively taking themselves out of the running for future positions with the same company.

It’s funny that I came across this post today because I was just talking about this particular subject with a friend of mine yesterday. My friend recently had a related experience with a job candidate he interviewed who, after being notified he was no longer being considered via a polite rejection letter, emailed my friend back with a long and involved list of questions that evaluated the former candidate’s interview skills.

Of course, everyone has a right to respond to rejection, and smart job seekers will seek feedback to use toward enhancing their interview skills. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it.

My friend might’ve been impressed by the man’s thoughtful and earnest request for feedback, were it not for the fact that not only were the questions clearly cut-and-pasted from some other source, but the email was part of a blast to several interviewers. The impersonal, presumptuous tone of the email only reaffirmed my friend’s initial impression of the man in person as aloof and arrogant, one of the many reasons my friend and the rest of the interview committee deemed the man not a good fit for the organization.

I once had a girlfriend advise me against dating a mutual friend because “if you two broke up, he’d probably make a really scary ex-boyfriend.” She of course meant it as a joke (I think), but in its own messed up way, it did put things in perspective. If hiring managers could see how job candidates react to rejection before going through the work of interviewing them, it could be a great screening tool. I imagine that being able to see the level of professionalism with which they handle it would be a fair indicator of what kind of employees they’d make and how well they’d get along on your team.

Am I onto something here? Have you ever had a similar experience with a job candidate? If so, how did you handle it?

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.


  1. Trackback says:

    Good info

    Our business has been mentioned on a blog in a negative way and I am not sure how I can get the anonymous blogger to remove the post.. I’ve emailed her but have had no response. What are my options and what should my next step be?.

  2. Trackback says:


    I want to start a blog where I can talk to people and have them respond to my blogs. Not myspace or facebook. I tried blogger but the only blogs I could find were about global warming and guns. I want some where that I can open an account and say what…

  3. Trackback says:

    I like your blog

    I am 15 and I want to start a fashion blog. What should I call it? Also, please tell me any tips you have for getting started and what I could do on it or how to do it..

  4. Trackback says:

    I like your blog

    How do you save your bookmarks in Firefox when transferring from one computer to another?

  5. Trackback says:


    I just bought a new computer and would like the same settings I have on my other computer. How do I go about doing this? The one thing I want to change in firefox on my new computer is when I type a website in the address bar I would like it to show my…

  6. Trackback says:

    Thank you

    How do you start a blog? How do you get your own blog site or page?

  7. … [Trackback]

    [...] Informations on that Topic: [...]

  8. Google says:


    Usually posts some extremely exciting stuff like this. If you’re new to this site.

  9. … [Trackback]

    [...] Read More: [...]

Stay Connected