One of my clients got what she thought was a standard rejection letter after an interview and she was frustrated and discouraged. I encouraged her to follow-up with a phone call to the employer to thank them for the interview and to keep her in mind if the company’s hiring needs changed.
As it turned out, the employer told my client that it was a hair splitting decision between the two final candidates and that she was very well regarded by all of the search committee members. The hiring manager was so impressed that my client followed-up after the ding letter that she asked if she would consider interviewing for another position in the company that was not yet publicly posted. He felt it would be a good match with her skills and the team already found her very impressive.
The happy ending to this story is that my client got the second job she was asked to interview for and she never would have known about the opportunity if she didn’t follow up. I know some very large companies are more difficult when it comes to follow-up and many don’t even send a letter after an interview. But, if you get a rejection letter – don’t assume it was because you did something poorly.
Muster up the courage to call the person with whom you interviewed and ask if they would be willing to share some candid feedback. In many cases, the employer will share constructive criticism that will help you move forward. In some cases, you may turn a rejection into an opportunity by taking the professional high road and reiterating your interest if their hiring needs change.
Communication is key even when you feel vulnerable with a rejection letter. You will never know if you don’t ask and you just might benefit from reaching out!