I applied for an adjunct position and never heard back from the school. I emailed them to learn about the status of my application and this is the response I received: Your resume is competitive but doesn't meet our needs. Am I overreacting for thinking that this is a rude rejection letter (well, one sentence!)? There is another position open, but I am hesitant to apply. What would you do if you were me? p.s.1 Sorry, I know this is a petty question, but I have become very picky since I want to work in a healthy environment. p.s.2 I am pretty confident I am not underqualified for the position.

  • 18
    All rejections hurt. No, it's not rude; it's just straightforward.
    – JeffE
    Dec 15, 2018 at 16:05
  • 7
    At least you got a response!
    – Thomas
    Dec 15, 2018 at 17:47
  • 1
    "We would lie to inform you that you have not been successful this time, but we have kept your resume on file."...
    – Solar Mike
    Dec 15, 2018 at 18:14
  • @SolarMike: Is "lie" for "like" an intentional typo?
    – ruakh
    Dec 16, 2018 at 2:58
  • @ruakh was a typo ...
    – Solar Mike
    Dec 16, 2018 at 5:56

1 Answer 1


This seems to me like a normal rejection letter. They normally don't really contain any information except "you didn't get the job". Some letters do go on for longer about "we had so many great candidates and we wish we could hire them all, blah blah blah" but I wouldn't really say that makes them more polite.

In particular, I certainly would not draw any conclusions about the "healthiness" of the environment from this letter. It might be a good department or a bad one, but this letter doesn't help you to determine which; you'll need to investigate that in other ways. See:

  • 2
    I clicked +1 for the gist of your answer even though I think that it would be preferable for writers of rejection letters to have enough eloquence to write something like "we are sorry, but your application doesn't meet our need at the moment" followed by an indication about whether this is likely to change or whether they don't hire your profile at all. Instead, "your application doesn't fit our need", almost implies that it was an imposition to have implied at all. As Nate writes, though, this is no good metric for how the department treats instructors they DID hire.
    – chryss
    Dec 15, 2018 at 19:57
  • Thank you so much, everyone, for taking the time and responding. I have received rejection letters before, but this one irritated me. OK, I'll move on! :) Thanks, Nate, for sharing those links.
    – Kar Masia
    Dec 16, 2018 at 6:59
  • @chryss As far as I understand, at least in the United States people are very hesitant to put anything in a rejection letter that could be the basis of legal recourse against the rejection, which goes a long way to explain their uselessness for the applicant.
    – sgf
    Dec 17, 2018 at 7:32

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