So You Didn’t Get the Job, Now What

Posted by Rob Riggins

You Didn't Get the Job Now WhatYou are not the only one who has lost out on a cleared job – honest.

Of course the sting of rejection makes you feel as if you’re an outcast. Plenty of successful people were voted off their islands or never made it onto them – Madonna was fired from Dunkin’ Donuts. Jerry Seinfeld was fired from a minor role in the TV show Benson. Marilyn Monroe was told she should be a secretary and not enter show business. Even Steve Jobs was fired from the company he created!

Celebrity writer and comedian Carol Leifer even wrote a book about the life lessons she learned when she was turned down for jobs (writing for The Gary Shandling Show) or fired (Saturday Night Live).

So now that you know you’re in good company, consider these ideas from those who have been rejected before you, to move on, and thrive –

Don’t trash the company or the interviewer. Rejection stings but you may well face much more if you have a public persona as a whiner or unprofessional. In her book “How to Succeed In Business Without Really Crying,” Leifer told of her extreme disappointment on not being hired to write for the Shandling Show. She kept her disappointment private though until she saw Shandling personally. While chatting with him she mentioned her disappointment. It wasn’t long before she received a call bringing her on staff. Remember, she didn’t go to Shandling and begin complaining. She chatted about their profession and then worked her personal dismay into the conversation. Take the high road.

Write a thank you note. Take some professional cards or stationery and write a brief, sincere thank you note to the interviewer. It seems formal, but it serves a dual purpose. First it shows that you’re a polite and professional person. Second it’s a tangible way to remind the interviewer you were there and perhaps think of you when another job opening occurs. Email is fine too, the important thing is to communicate your professionalism.

Try to find out why you were rejected. The interviewer and HR person likely won’t tell you why you weren’t selected. They want to sidestep legal and other issues. And there will never be a satisfactory answer. If you were interviewed, you likely met the criteria. Everyone did. But someone impressed them more. If you want to follow up, consider writing a message to the interviewer.

When you write the interview note, say you’d be grateful for any feedback on how you could shore up your professional profile. Do not, under any circumstances, call or write again to prompt them to answer or quarrel about their impressions of you. Accept what they tell you – or not. Again – do not call. Doing so puts the interviewer on the spot and threatens to devolve into a back-and-forth such as “we needed x experience” and you saying “I have x experience.” Again, someone impressed them more than you did. Accept it.

Circle back to your references. It’s important to thank references for their willingness to vouch for you and update them on your search. Yes, it can be embarrassing to say you didn’t get a job but, again, you are not alone. When you talk to your references, ask them if they spoke with the company about you. If so, they may have some information to share such as “They said they liked you but really hoped to hire someone with X experience.” Again, don’t quarrel or defend yourself with the reference. Thank them for their information. Also, remind them you are still searching for work and tell them you’d be grateful for any leads.

Watch the company website. You may find out who was hired for the position. When you do consider looking at the person’s Linked In profile or company profile to see what skills or experience they may have that you don’t. You might also get some job leads from this exercise. Write down the companies at which they worked. Then look at the job openings at those companies. They may have a position that would match your skills and experience.

Review your interview performance. Did you arrive on time? Were you professionally dressed? Did you have the information that the interviewer requested such as references and extra resumes? Did you ask questions about the company and the job? Did you talk about yourself too much and/or say negative things about your current or past employers? You may not be able to pinpoint exactly what missteps – if any – you made that cost you the job. But at the very least you may understand some missteps you made and how not to repeat them.


This entry was posted on Monday, August 28, 2017 6:49 am

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of updates to this conversation