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What Do You Do When You Didn’t Get the Job?

“After careful consideration, we have decided to pursue another candidate…”

How many times have you received an email that said something like that? What was your first response? Did you:

  • Throw your cell phone on the wall?
  • Hit your laptop so hard, some of the keys flew off?
  • Hang your head in shame muttering what’s the matter with you?
  • Call your coach to talk it through?
  • Write a follow-up email with a call-to-action?

I hope you chose the last one – wrote a follow-up call-to-action email – even if you tried some of the others.

Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich said:

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”

There is truth in that quote: every failure carries the seed of an equal or greater benefit.

Consider one of my client’s experience: She had an interview for a communications specialist role after which she was asked to send a sample of her writing. They were impressed, so they sent her a writing assignment a few days later… and then she waited.

Two weeks passed and she received an email that said, in part “After careful consideration, we have decided to pursue another candidate for this position whose skill-set matches more closely with our organizations requirements at this time.”

Yikes! After all that effort!

Let’s face it, it’ is not a pleasant feeling to receive such an email. Your first thought is to beat up on yourself or to blame someone or something. But, sometimes you just have to adopt the attitude that “it’s not over ‘til it’s over”. That’s the mindset my client eventually adopted.

She phoned one day to say she was “…trying to remain optimistic, but it’s becoming more difficult as the days passed.” We talked through her situation and one of the positive actions she took was to respond by thanking them for the update and letting them know that, although she was not the successful candidate, she was still interested in working for the company and would keep in touch. 

Several days ago, she received an email inviting her to another interview because the position was still open. None of us know the real reason for the opening but it could be any of the following:

  • They made an offer that was declined,
  • Their preferred candidate didn’t work out, or
  • They decided to expand the team.

Whatever the reason, if my client had not followed up to reiterate her interest in working with the organization; if she had fired off an email to ‘tell them where to go’ with their job, or if she had just taken ‘No’ for answer, she wouldn’t have been offered the job.

Here is a part of her email that arrived in my Inbox on Family Day (of all the days):

Client Testimonial for Daisy Wright, The Wright Career Solution. Career Coaching, Interview Coaching

“I’m writing with good news! ______ Canada made the official offer. I signed the contract and I start work tomorrow! I’m really happy and excited to be starting this job.

I’ll write with more details about the job offer later, but I really want to thank you for all your support throughout my job search. Your advice and coaching helped me improve my interviewing skills – and become more confident – by identifying and sharing success stories that illustrate my skills and experience. I’m so glad my Google search for an interview coach led me to you! From the first time we chatted, I knew that your energy, enthusiasm and expertise was exactly what I was looking for.” 

Amen to that, but I can’t over-emphasize how much coaching is a collaboration. It’s having someone you can turn to when things get tough; someone who can help you clear the cobwebs that get in the way when you need clarity or someone who listens. This client initially hired me for interview coaching, but we continued working together.

If you ever receive a job rejection email, here are three tips to help you deal with it:

  1. Assess yourself. Reflect on the interview to see what went well, and look for opportunities where you need to grow.
  2. Be courteous. Refrain from bad-mouthing the interviewers. They were doing the job of trying to find the best candidate.
  3. Follow up with the interviewer. Sometimes the candidate they chose didn’t work out, but because of your professionalism and lack of bitterness, they could decide to offer you the position. You just never know.

Finally, here’s some advice I offer to clients and non-clients:

“If you hear “No” from an employer, it just means “No” from THAT employer. There are other opportunities on the horizon. Just push through the obstacles. There’s a “Yes” somewhere out there”. Don’t give up! There’s a job with your name on it somewhere.” 

Ready to have a career conversation? I am all ears. Give me a call or send me an email.