Ask the Pros: When you get an email saying you didn't get the job, should you reply?

Ask the Pros: When you get an email saying you didn't get the job, should you reply? After a little end-of-summer vacation, our "Pros" are back! To help prepare you for the real world, our Ask the Pros series is here to help answer some of your most common questions about interviewing, job-hunting and working in the world of publication and media art and photo departments.

Got a question you want answered? Send it to us at and we'll put it to our experts! A varying panel of professionals will give you their take, and then it's up to you to put their advice to work.

And if you're a working professional yourself, we'd love to hear your opinion too ... don't hesitate to add it in our comments or email us to be on one of our panels.

Read on for today's question ....

When an employer sends you an email saying you didn't get the job/internship, should you reply to them?

PRO: Joseph Caserto, design consultant and educator
Definitely! If they've actually e-mailed you back, rather than leaving you guessing, they're in a very small minority. A polite note saying "thank you for considering me, please keep me in mind if something appropriate comes up, and I look forward to keeping in touch" will do it. Ours is a very small and transient industry. The interviewer, or her friend, may land a new job next week, or have someone quit and a spot open up, and if you've been professional and thorough, she'll remember you.

PRO: Caitlin Choi - freelance art director
I think it depends on the situation. If you went through a few rounds and got close and they say something nice and personal then it might be nice to respond. But if it looks like a rote email then it's not necessary.

PRO: Rich Morgan - Deputy Art Director, Money
I think it's OK to send a short email thanking the employer for the opportunity of meeting with them and being considered for the job. You can let them know that you would be interested should any other positions become available in the future. Do NOT ask why you didn't the job, that's bad etiquette.

PRO: Nicole Zigmont - Assistant Designer, Family Circle
Yes absolutely. It shows that you are a team player. If someone else got the job, they might have had more experience or maybe they had work that was more in-tune with that magazine. Whatever the case is, I think it's very professional to accept that, and to show your appreciation for the interview that you got to begin with. Leave it short and sweet, professional, and you'll probably be remembered.

PRO: John Walker - Art Director for Mobile, Popular Mechanics
I would certainly reply and thank your contact for the opportunity to meet with them. Both these steps are often skipped, so people will remember you if you thank them. Also, write anyone you meet with a brief thank-you the same day that you meet with them--it underscores your interest and shows that you appreciate their time.

PRO: Leah Bailey - freelance art director
At the entry-level and intern-level, there's often so many applicants, I think it's pretty rare for anyone to respond to you directly letting you know that you didn't get the job ... so be honored that they took the time to let you know and definitely send a quick note. Thank them for their time and consideration, and say that you'd love to be considered for anything that might come up in the future. It shows you're polite and respectful and leaves them with a good impression of you.

Thanks to our terrific panel of pros for their great advice! 
Check out our previous Ask the Pros questions below. And email us if you've got a question.

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