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You Did Not Get the Job. Now What?

Being told “we went with another candidate” is never welcome news. What you do next can make a big difference.

Job seekers usually dedicate a lot of time to writing their resume, cover letter and practicing answers to interview questions.  This, of course, is time well spent. However, it is important to treat the entire interview process professionally. Just because you did not get a particular job does not necessarily mean there will not be a position for you at the company in the future. Don’t blow it.

Recently, I spoke with a candidate who I had interviewed and told him he did not get the job. He immediately told me I was making a mistake. He insisted that he was perfect for the job. I thanked him again for his time and ended the conversation. Less than an hour later I received an email that began, “mrs. stamatelos, I ask that you ‘renig’ your decision.” Yes, he typed in all lower case and yes, he wrote “renig.”  His superior language skills reinforced my decision.  He continued, in his message, to basically tell me that the decision not to hire him was wrong.

Oh, if he had only stopped at that. Next, he sent emails, demonstrating more of his stellar use of English, to the Manager and Vice President telling them that he was the person the company should hire for the job. Trust me; this is NOT the way to leave a good impression.

Not getting a job you really wanted is disheartening. Handling rejection the wrong way is a big mistake. So, what should you do? First, thank the person for their time. It is acceptable to say that you are still interested in working for the company and should something open up that is a match for your skill set you would like to be considered. You can follow up with an email stating the same.  Next, move on. Continue your job search, focus on new opportunities.

Here is some inside HR information. There are occasions when the candidate that was offered the job does not work out. Maybe you were a close second candidate. If you ended the interview process on good terms you will likely get a call asking if you are still interested. Similarly, other jobs may open in the future. If you left a good impression you might be considered.    

My candidate, who was not chosen, ended his email to me, “as a great philosophery once said…” 

Please, don’t be this guy.    

Lisa Stamatelos January 23, 2012 at 03:37 PM
@Fleetwood. What happened to you is unprofessional. Your assessment of the type of company they are seems was clearly correct. I hope you have moved on to bigger and better things.
Lisa Stamatelos January 23, 2012 at 03:38 PM
@Fleetwood. What happened to you is unprofessional. Your assessment of the type of company they are seems was clearly correct. I hope you have moved on to bigger and better things.
TMF January 24, 2012 at 02:06 AM
@Fleetwood: I'm glad you are able to move on. I found myself in a similar predicament not too long ago in which I cleared my calendar and spent the day at a company interviewing with executive staff, taking tests, and speaking to HR at great length. My interview lasted six hours. I sent a Thank You letter the next day and recently sent a polite follow-up e-mail noting that I was still very interested in the position (I was advised through the grapevine I made a great impression, but the company was in the midst in negotiating new contracts). However I feel that after six weeks in not hearing back, it's time to move on and stop hoping for an offer to come through.
Fleetwood Mod January 24, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Thanks. Not only did I move on, I decided to go back to school for a Masters in a different field. Starting again at 40 was rough, but it was the right move for me and it paid off. Funny how one bad experience can turn into a wake-up call to other opportunities. Never give up.
Marie Graham, ASP, IDS The Refreshed Home January 30, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Late to the party, but really good topic, and great comments. Early 2000s I too, was 'held hostage' by a company that did not make any decisions, just kept interviewing. I, too, found out it was better not to deal with a company this arrogant, and withdrew my name from consideration.

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