Today I completed my 40th job application. In celebration I’m going to finally write this post I’ve been planning for a while, because it’s better to laugh than cry as I play this game! So here I present my preliminary typology of rejection letters, based on an n of 9.
1) We may actually have read your application. Also, our search committee chair is probably a good writer and a nice person and wants to let you down easy:
“Thank you for your interest in the position of XXXX at XXXX. We read your dossier with great interest, and found your credentials quite impressive. Indeed, the candidate pool for this opening was quite large and talented. … Let me assure you that this is not a reflection on your credentials so much as it is a statement about the overall quality of our set of applicants.”
2) It’s not us, it’s you. Really. We had to read SO MANY applications because this position is so competitive, and you’re just not that good. It’s all just SO DISAPPOINTING.
“We are sorry to inform you that your name was not selected in our screening of candidates for the position of XXXX at XXXX. We received many qualified applications — yours being among them — and had to make some very difficult decisions…We realize that this news is disappointing and we too share the disappointment…”
3) Smell ya later (but we’re sure you’ll be fine). Even though you spent hours preparing for a phone interview with our search committee, we are having our department admin. assistant send you a brief email to let you know you didn’t make the next cut.
“We were fortunate to have a large number of qualified applicants. Since we know that many of our candidates are considering several opportunities, we feel we should inform you that your candidacy has not been advanced to the next phase of the process.”
4) or at least the search committee chair, but still anonymously addressed to “Dear Applicant.”
We appreciate your interest in XXXX and the position of
XXXX for which you applied. We had a number of high-quality applicants, which made our choice a difficult one. I am, however, sorry to advise you that we have selected
another candidate for the position.
5) It’s not you, it’s us. We were nice during the application and phone interview process, and we’re still pretty nice while rejecting you:
The Search Committee for the XXXX received a large number of applications for this position and want to thank you for your participation in a recent phone interview. However, you were not selected to be in the next phase of the selection process.
6) We actually probably never looked past the “ABD” status on your c.v.:
“Thank you for the opportunity to review and evaluate your application materials for the XXXX position at XXXX. We regret to inform you that we will not be moving forward with your application for this position. Please be advised that the hiring process is generally highly competitive and it is not always possible for us to interview all qualified applicants for a position.”
“Our Appointments and Search Committee recently developed a short list for the above posted position and we are in the process of notifying applicants. We had a large and strong pool of candidates for this position. While the Committee has decided not to proceed further with your candidacy, I thank you for your interest in our [department] and wish you the very best in your future career.”
“The search committee for the faculty position in the XXXX has now reviewed all completed application files and has identified a small number of candidates for further consideration. The applicant pool for this position was strong and the committee chose people for further consideration only after very thorough review. I regret to inform you that your application was not selected for this smaller group.”