Job Interview Tip: How to Turn Rejection To Opportunity

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That Job interview was so promising. Then you get the rejection note.

You had great rapport. The conversation was stimulating. You were excited. You were as good as hired. And then they said no?

What now?


Then you got that rejection note….

Of course, it’s terribly disappointing. You might be tempted to get mad and scream at the employer (in the privacy of your home, of course).

Vent if you must, but then, get smart.

One of the three things that win job interviews is good human relations (the other two are enthusiasm and clear communications). Use your good human relations to your advantage to turn this situation around.


Job Interview Success and Human Relations

Since empathy is a key to good human relations, think about what’s going on with the boss. You had good rapport. She liked you and saw you as a good candidate. But apparently, someone she liked better came along. Or she was forced to hire her boss’s nephew. Or it may have been a toss-up between you and another candidate. Chances are, she feels awful about having to reject you.

Overcome the awkwardness after the job interview

Since she rejected you, there is awkwardness. It’s like when you go on a date and tell the person you don’t want to go out with him/her again. It’s hard to face them. If you see them on the street or in an elevator, it would be awkward. There’s been a breakdown in the relationship.

Smart job hunters know that it’s important to address and heal this awkwardness. How do you do that?

Send a letter of appreciation

As you know, the good old-fashioned thank you note is much appreciated, but a very small percentage of candidates send one. This is a big mistake. Thank you notes give you the chance to stand out from the crowd. Let the boss know that you appreciate that she took time out of her day to meet with you. Hopefully, you did that already.

All right, but you’ve already been rejected, so what now? Send a note of appreciation. Let her know that you understand that she picked the person that seemed best for the job. Give your best wishes both to her and to the candidate who got the job.

As I’ve said, few people bother to send a thank you note after the interview. Almost no one thanks the boss after being rejected. If you do, you will probably be the only one.

Now, take this further.

Contact the boss and ask if you might add him to your network. Not just your LinkedIn network. Many of us have thousands of LinkedIn connections, including people from other continents who we will never meet in this lifetime. We add people, and they just sit there in our list of connections and rot.

Try to make them part of your real network, and stay in touch.

Ask if you might meet the boss for networking

If he’s willing, draw on the boss’s knowledge of what’s going on in his company, in the industry, with vendors, and their customers. He may well be able to refer you to others in his company or to people he knows in other companies. The boss can give a boost to your efforts to build your visibility and credibility and meet the people who can hire you.

Remember that in the job hunt, you are planting seeds when you make connections. You never know when they may sprout.

Ask if you can meet with the boss on a networking basis

Sometimes, the results are quick. The candidate who seemed like the best person for the job doesn’t work out. One client from Winnetka got hired within weeks of being rejected. The candidate they hired received another offer a month after starting the new job. When he abruptly quit, the boss called our client.

Other times, the seed may sprout many months or years later—if you keep in touch. A client from Glenview stayed in touch with an executive with whom he’d had good rapport in an interview and got hired three years later.

It’s a small world. You never know when someone you interview with will resurface. Make sure you make the most of each and every contact.

Contact us about our job interview coaching. We’ll help you get in the driver’s seat in your next interview.

Lucrative Careers

Lucrative Careers

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Our Career Action Plan Meetings advance healthy careers and heal the wounded. Give us two hours, and we’ll get to the root of your career issues and come up with a plan to fix them. Call today: 847-673-0339.

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