You Did Not Get the Job! What Do You Do Now?
You just got the rejection notice that said you did not get the job you really wanted. This can be pretty devastating emotionally but you need to maintain an even, emotional disposition. I wrote about this in the post Emotions and the Job Search – Creating a Blank Slate.
Now is not the time to blow your cool.
There are a lot of valid reasons that you did not get the job. I want you to consider the following possibilities:
- There was a more qualified candidate than you for this position.
- You did not demonstrate one or more attributes that they were looking for in a candidate. You may have those qualities, but you did not convey them in the hiring process.
- There was an internal candidate that was deemed a safer hire.
- They just made a mistake and hired the wrong person.
You did not get the job. That is true—but let’s create a process where you can learn, grow from the experience and position yourself for the next position that may open up at the company.
Let’s take a step back to preparations before the interview.
Before and During the Interview Process
If you followed the Targeted Job Search strategy and Targeted the Company you would have a minimum of two good contacts, the person who referred you in and the recruiter. Both of these relationships you should carefully cultivate by keeping them in the loop every step of the way.
If you are having multiple telephone or in-person interviews, you will want to email them after each interview with what happened and your thoughts on how it went.
Immediately after the interview, consider doing the following:
- Write a personalized, hand-written thank-you note to everyone you interviewed with. If possible, hand carry them to the office where you interviewed. Yes, I know this is old school but it really works for those of us in the 2nd half of life.
- Write a personalized email to everyone you interviewed with.
- Send a LinkedIn request to everyone you interviewed with.
- Send a $5 Starbucks gift card to the recruiter or anyone else who was especially helpful. Tell them you appreciate their help and want to signal your appreciation no matter whether you got the job.
You want to show your appreciation to cement any relationships that you may have built in the interview process. This is a marathon and not a sprint!
After you have been informed that you did not get the job, consider doing the following:
- Call first and then email the recruiter who you sent the gift card to and ask if they can give you any insights into the hiring decision. The small gift card is key because recruiters rarely get thank yous from anyone in the process.
- Reach out to your contact at the company who referred you in and see if they can do some detective work.
- Email the hiring manager, thanking him or her for the opportunity to interview for the position. Mention that you would like to be considered for other opportunities in the future.
- Email others that you interviewed with, and thank them for their time. Ask them for any feedback that they may be able to provide.
1-2 Months Later
Monitor LinkedIn for changes in the department where you interviewed. Use LinkedIn advanced search to determine who did get the job by using the current job title field.
If it was an external candidate, check to see how their credentials compare to yours. Were they better qualified? Were they significantly younger than you? Age discrimination is alive and well. If they hired someone significantly younger that might mean you need to work on how you will defend against age discrimination.
If it was an internal candidate, then they went with the safe choice. I claim if you are competing against internal candidates you will lose the vast majority of the time.
Send a LinkedIn connection request to the individual who was hired. I know this may seem a bit bold but this is a person you want to cultivate a relationship with whether or not you decide to pursue a position at the company in the future.
3-6 Months Later
Reach out to the person hired and ask to meet for coffee or lunch. Ask for AIR – Advice, Insights, and Recommendations! Do not wait too long to make the ask.
What could happen:
- The person who was hired might not work out. I have seen this happen!
- They might open up other positions for which you will be a better fit. You want to stay on top of mind.
- You could learn that the person they hired was better qualified and a better fit. You might be able to be of help to them.
I recently had a client that was hired a year after the person they hired did not work out, and they changed the job description to better fit my client’s qualifications.
When you do not get the job of your dreams, be persistent and do not let inertia set in!
You do not know why you did not get the job. It is critical you do not start to make up stories in your head or what I call MSU syndrome.
Get the facts based on the relationships you have cultivated through the interview process. You may be surprised what people will tell you.