My client (I’ll call her Jennifer) was down the other day. She’d just had a third interview with a company in Glenview. She really wanted to work there. Jennifer’s hopes were high. But then, they got dashed. She got the rejection email. She was crushed. Jennifer said, “Dang! I really wanted to work at that company. Too bad.”
To which I said, “Jennifer, if you really want to work at that company, let’s go for it! You got a third interview. The boss must have liked you a lot if it came down to you and one other candidate. Don’t take the initial rejection too much to heart. Let’s put together a game plan.”
Repair the damage The first step was to repair the damage. What damage? Well, when someone rejects you, it creates a bit of awkwardness. I often say that the job interview process is much like dating. We all know how awkward it can be if one person is interested in dating and the other just isn’t. It’s much like that after the boss chooses another candidate.
Suppose you were to get on the same elevator with that boss. It would probably feel a little uncomfortable. So, you want to heal that relationship by reaching out to the boss. Send a thank you note for the time he/she spent with you. Only a small percentage of people send out thank-you notes after job interviews. Almost NOBODY sends a thank you note after they were rejected! If you do, you are putting yourself in a very elite group.
There are four reasons for doing this.
She also thinks, “Mark is really great at his work. He’s too good for this job.” Mark is also a problem. She knows, “I need to promote him or I’m going to lose him to the competition.” But then, she thinks, “But I can’t promote him until I find someone good to take his place.”
Darlene also has a potential problem. Mike has been talking about moving to Alaska for years. Maybe this is the year he actually does it. So today, Darlene has zero openings, but in her mind, there are two, maybe three positions that she’s going to have to hire for real soon.
4) New needs may arise. Perhaps the company landed a big contract and Darlene is going to need to staff up fast to handle the business. Maybe the company got hacked or had a public relations disaster. It could be that two major clients have threatened to take their business elsewhere if the service doesn’t improve. If you have the right stuff to address those new needs, you want to be on the short list of people Darlene—and others in the company—will think of.
Since Darlene is an astute boss, she is always going to be on the lookout for good talent. She will want to have a “bullpen” of people she might be able to contact if/when one of her employees is fired, gets promoted, gets grabbed by the competition, or moves to Alaska. She doesn’t want to get caught short handed.
Persistence Pays Off For Julia
One of my clients (I’ll call her Julia) recently did exactly this—and it paid off. She was hugely disappointed after not getting the job with a company she’d interviewed with in Skokie. But instead of stopping in her tracks, Julia put the pedal to the metal and reached out to people in the company. She contacted the boss who had rejected her. As I had suspected, she found out the boss really liked her, and it was a coin-flip situation between Julia and another candidate. After a number of referral interviews, Julia was on the radar screen of hiring decision makers in various parts of the company. A couple of months later, the boss she’d interviewed with initially called her and asked her to interview for another position that had become available. This time, she got the job.
So don’t take that “no” as the final answer. If you find a company you want to work for, go full speed ahead! Be in touch. Add that boss that rejected you to your network. Keep abreast of what’s going on in the company. Meet others in the company. Become known. Be persistent. You may well be rewarded.
If you’ve gotten a firm “no” from somewhere you’d like to work, it’s not time to start worrying, you can still land a great position with them, all you need to do is stay diligent. But what if you don’t know how to start or even what your next best step is? The good news is you’re not alone… I’d love to help you put together your game plan for bridging the gap and getting your resume front and center for the job you know you deserve.
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