I had an interview, and I'm not sure what went wrong. My application was rejected because they are looking for someone who has in-depth knowledge in the field.

I'm sure that I have all the required skills for that position, and I have several recommendation letters from my ex-companies.

Is it polite to reply the email and point out that I had the same role before and my employers were more than happy? Or won't it make a difference? I'm afraid that it might look rude.

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    At this point you cant harm your chances but you're not likely to get anything from it and depending on your phrasing "I know i'm good enough", it may alienate them for any future opportunities. General rule of thumb is once you've been rejected, you're very unlikely to get the role so let it go.
    – Michael
    Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 10:36
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    You can always contact them and ask if there is anything you can do that would make you a better fit for their company. You might learn a thing or two. Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 10:51
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    Depending on your location and legal issues, it's possible the hiring organization already knew who they wanted to hire and the interviewing process was just a formality.
    – GreenMatt
    Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 14:51
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    @Michael - it could harm your chances. See Wesley Long's answer regarding the second-best candidate getting an offer if the first one pulls out. If you make a bad impression after being rejected, you could miss the opportunity to be that "second-best candidate". Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 4:09
  • I once was rejected for a job at a video store because I didn't have the skills they were looking for. Even though my last job was working at a video store...
    – Andy
    Commented Jul 23, 2017 at 22:12

5 Answers 5


Is it polite to reply the email and point out that i had the same role before and my employers were more than happy ? or it wont make a difference ? i'm afraid that it might look rude.

It's not rude, it's just usually a waste of time.

It sounds as if you are imagining that replying to a rejection letter and pointing out where the rejecting company was "wrong" might help you change their mind.

Unfortunately, it pretty much never works that way, in my experience. I've interviewed, and rejected, more candidates than I can remember over the years. I've had several folks who contacted me after being rejected, trying to plead their case. I've never - not once - changed my mind and accepted a candidate that I had already rejected.

Companies typically interview at least several candidates (and sometimes many) for a given position, then choose one above the others. They have far more complete knowledge about what they want in the role than you do, and they get to judge how well each candidate fits. Unfortunately, they have concluded that you aren't the best fit.

Sending rejection notices is basically a formality on their part. They are always sent using very general language and no specifics.

While the rejection you got might say "they are looking for someone that has in-depth knowledge in the field", the truth is that they found a candidate who was more qualified than you are (or at least believe they will find a candidate who is a better fit than you are). There are almost always a variety of factors making other candidates superior, and in-depth knowledge may be part of it, but there may be more to it. The rejecting company won't go over each and every detail about how they made their decision.

Pointing out that (at least in your opinion) you do indeed have in-depth knowledge in the field, won't change their mind. While you may have depth, another candidate might have more depth. Or other factors may have tipped the scales. Pointing out your depth now won't make a difference to the hiring company once their decision is made. The time when that would matter is during the interview, before the decision was made. It's over now, and it's time to move on.

I know it can be frustrating to learn that you have been rejected, and not have deep insight into why. But unfortunately, that's the way it works.

Keep up your spirits and your job search. I'm sure you'll find a position that meets your needs and for which you are the perfect fit.

  • "in my experience" - Have you actually tried this?
    – Morons
    Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 15:08
  • @Morons tried to convince someone they were wrong for choosing someone else? Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 15:42
  • @Chad yes, it look like that text was removed from the Post. So i guess that makes it a "No"... I agree with Joe's option on this, like most people do. But, I have never met someone who actually tried to do this, it would be interesting to from such an individual.
    – Morons
    Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 15:55
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    @Morons years ago I tried a few times... It turns out I am not nearly as exception as I believed I was when I was in my 20's Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 15:57
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    Personally I would consider it rude. This woudl lowere myestimation fo him as someone who will dispute every decision I make. So if my first guy didn't accept, I would not be inclined to move to this person afterwards because I would not want to work with him no matter how good his skills are. This is the kind of employee who could argue every choice they disagree with long after a decison has been made and I don't want to deal with that in the long run not even for a stellar performer.
    – HLGEM
    Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 17:44

Gad, I hate it feel a vague queasiness when I agree with @JoeStrazzere, but he's right with this one:

Companies typically interview at least several candidates (and sometimes many) for a given position, then choose one above the others. They have far more complete knowledge about what they want in the role than you do, and they get to judge how well each candidate fits. Unfortunately, they have concluded that you aren't the best fit.

They didn't say you weren't qualified, or weren't a good fit, they were just more comfortable with someone else than they were with you.

I do, however, disagree that a response is a waste of time, but not the response you are asking about sending. I worked on a project two years ago where a business analyst contractor took a role, then three days later left for a much better offer. Guess who replaced him? The second-"best" candidate.

Also, it is never a bad idea to be polite. For the 5 minutes it takes you to send a polite "Thank you for considering me." email, you may leave the door open for an opportunity weeks or months later. My rule of thumb is that if you got a phone interview and then rejected, a one-paragraph email of "Thanks for considering me ... I hope your project goes well." is appropriate. If you got one or two in-person interviews, then a polite 2 or 3 paragraph email would be appropriate. NEVER dispute their decision. Simply thank them for their time.

Right now we're in a tech boom cycle, and candidates can be a little "full of themselves." However, I've been through the boom-bust cycle twice, now, and I grew up around oilfield workers who'd been through it 4 or 5 times. A little humility and politeness when you have nothing to gain from it except good will can pay off big, sometimes.

My opinion only.


Politeness aside - consider the following:

1) You may consider that you are uniquely qualified for the role but the winning candidate may have had valuable skills in other areas that weren't explicitly stated.

2) It smacks of sour grapes and implies the interviewers made the wrong decision.

For either of these cases, you'd be hard pressed to make the situation any better.

Rejection is tough - especially when you feel the position was custom made for you, but your efforts would be far better spent on trying to secure the next role.


Is it polite?

It's not really polite or rude. Generally speaking as long as what you say is "you underestimate me" and not "your interview process is garbage and your wrong" this will either have no impact on my opinion of you what so ever or be a mildly positive note that you at least followed up.

What is there to gain?

Realistically you'll gain nothing note worthy. I've been on both sides of this before and on both ends I've never seen anything come of it. (I'm sure someone has an exception, but generally speaking you're chances of this making a difference is probably in the area of winning the lottery.)

It could reflect positively in my eyes that you followed up in a tasteful manner, but sadly until a few years has past I would defer to the original assessment that you weren't at the level we are looking for regardless of what you said. (after a some time has past I'd consider the previous information outdated and it would no longer hold any weight, how long that is depends on where I figure you were, and what you were applying for.)

What is there to lose?

Well not much... about the worst that could happen is the company takes offense to your questioning their judgment and puts you on a "Do not hire" list, but as long as you remain professional in your correspondence that is extremely unlikely.

Why is this so ineffective?

Generally speaking for any job I'm hiring I'm going to interview from 3 to 5 people out of the stack of resumes I receive. HR does screen these resumes before I get a look at them to try and remove people they feel simply aren't qualified, or have reasons that warrant pulling them from consideration. There is always a chance HR will mess up and disqualify someone perfectly capable, but when you get 30+ resumes per job you just have to trust that most of the time they get it right, because it would be detrimental to constantly second guess their work.

That said if HR pulls you from the pile on the first screening that means you were either determined to be incapable of adequately fulfilling the desired role or there were enough other candidates that had a leg up on you that you didn't make the short list. (don't take any of this personally. In business we often have to make choices on limited data, we're not judging you as a person, we're judging a list of data points we have on you against the lists of data points on the other candidates)


ALWAYS ASK BEFORE CONCLUDING AN INTERVIEW: Is there anything where I might not be meeting your expectations that might be a concern for your hiring me? You won't always get a honest answer, but frequently you'll get something like, "We were really hoping to find someone who has expertise in XXX". This gives you the opportunity to make your case that you really do have expertise in XXX. Assuming that you really do.

Sometimes it is hard to know what the interviewer thinks is important. Thus, you may have focused your answers in the wrong direction and given the wrong impression of your skill level in other areas. This question helped cover me a couple of times as I did get to alleviate their concerns.

If the OP had asked this question then they very well could have had a different outcome.

With that said, I see no problem in writing a letter where you emphasize your "in-depth knowledge in the field" WITH CONCRETE EXAMPLES. If you truly do have the background, they may very well reconsider, assuming they actually read the letter. Generally, it only takes 1 out of several interviewers to say no in order to get rejected. Maybe one of the people that liked you may take this letter and use it to get some reconsideration. Nothing to lose if you do it tactfully and respectfully. If there's any tone of sour grapes then you could forever get put on the do not hire list.

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    -1: Definitely DON'T do this. Asking the hiring manager if he/she has any concerns about your qualifications implies an inferiority complex which is definitely a turnoff.
    – Jim G.
    Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 0:23
  • @JimG:What an odd interpretation you have. What it is really doing is asking the interviewer if I have provided enough information to properly assess my qualifications and to make sure the interviewer's assessment of my qualifications is correct or not. I know of no other way to determine this other than to ask. But you can certainly be the glass half empty person if you'd like and turn a straight-forward communicative question into an inferiority complex. I just happen to believe you are wrong as this practice works extremely well for me and has allowed me to change assessments.
    – Dunk
    Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 16:11
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    I have been up for jobs before and agents have told me to ask this at the end - so I can see where Dunk is coming from. However, this never felt natural to me. I always felt that if I hadn't sealed the deal in the interview, I shouldn't put the interviewer on the spot without them having had a chance to review the interview first. So, it isn't something I have ever done or personally feel comfortable doing.
    – Robbie Dee
    Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 16:17

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