The inevitable rejection email came last week – and surprisingly, it put a smile on my face. No, I’m not one of those people who enjoys pain. It’s just that this was the nicest rejection email I’d ever received. Why? Read on for the original email (used with permission, but identifying details removed) and then see why the bolded phrases make it so special. We can all learn from this email!
distinguished applications – including yours
Wow – he just said that my application was distinguished. Although I suspect what’s coming in the next sentence or two, he’s still given me a little ego boost.
we have completed our search with our new hire to begin this fall term
Notice that he doesn’t say I wasn’t selected. He just notes that someone else was. It’s a subtle distinction, but it’s less of a slap in the face than directly stating, “You were not selected for this position.” He takes the same approach in the next paragraph. Instead of getting personal by saying that other candidates were a better match, he generally states that they carefully reviewed each application to find the best match.
perhaps you might even consider our college for another position in the future.
The sentiments before this phrase are very nice, too, but this part was the icing on the cake. It’s as if he knows I might hold a grudge from the rejection, so he thoughtfully takes extra steps to show humility and respect. The words “perhaps” and “might even” are what really take the humility level up a notch.
Sometimes when we break bad news, we feel like we have to apologize. But notice that this gentleman never apologizes for not selecting me. (There’s no reason why he should.) However, I still came away from this rejection feeling intelligent and respected. Frankly, I wanted to buy the guy a beer.
Next time you have to let someone down, remember that showing respect – and letting the person save face – have a big impact on their perception of you and your organization. It might not seem like a big deal at the time, but the ripple effect could be bigger than you imagine. And who knows – maybe you’ll even get a beer out of it.
Do you disagree with my take on this email? Have another great example of how a rejection email made you feel good? If so, please share in the comments!