Rejection is a part of the job search. The job market is competitive, and even extremely qualified candidates experience rejection. The key to not letting rejection derail you is knowing how to handle it. You can be upset, angry or sad – or you can see rejection as an opportunity.
This may sound like optimistic nonsense, but it’s more than that. Savvy job seekers can take rejection and produce positive results for their career direction. One way to do this is by sending a follow-up message, even after a rejection. The key is to do it correctly.
How to best follow up
A thoughtful article by J.T. O’Donnell reminds us that a follow-up can turn a “no” into a “not today, but perhaps some day.” It shows that you have no hard feelings and still want to work for them.
Ideally, a phone call is the way to go. An email works if a call isn’t an option. You want to keep the interaction brief and friendly. No doubt the company has received angry reactions in the past from people who weren’t hired. You are going to surprise them by going in a more positive direction.
Here’s a roadmap for what to say:
Gratitude for the opportunity: “Thank you for letting me know you made a decision. I’m happy you have found the right candidate for the job.”
Sincerity about wanting the position: “The interviewing process with you was inspiring, and I meant what I said about wanting to work for your company.”
Earnestness about keeping connected: “I was wondering if you could advise me on what I can do to be proactive and stay on your radar screen for future opportunities?”
Conveying this message (“thank you for the opportunity and please keep me in mind”) to the hiring authority who decided against you reinforces your character. It shows that you have a clear passion for your work and interest in the company. Sometimes, the person hired doesn’t work out or another position opens up. Make sure you remain on the company’s radar, so when these opportunities become available you are the one they think about.
If it doesn’t lead to a second chance, that’s okay too. You are establishing yourself as the kind of prospect companies want to hire. That attitude will pay off – perhaps not today, but some day.