You’ve finished your job interviews with a company you’re really excited about only to find out that you’ve been rejected.
After you’ve received that dreaded “no thank you” message, what do you do?
First, Try to Get Feedback
Rather than just accept that you’ve been rejected from the job and move on, first try to get some feedback. Ask the hiring representative about your interview skills or about why you weren’t selected.
If they call you with the news, even though you’re probably very disappointed, do your best to stay positive.
Then you can say something like, “Moving forward, I’d really like to improve in my interviews. Can you please share with me some feedback–either about my interview skills or something about my background that didn’t line up with what you were looking for?”
And then sit back, keep an open mind, and really listen to what it is they tell you.
Handling the Truth
When you get the feedback, resist being defensive or arguing about why they didn’t select you. Consider yourself lucky if they’re being specific and not too general about why you weren’t selected.
As hard as it might be to hear something negative, if it’s honest, it’s still better than “we chose another candidate whose qualifications were a better fit for the job.” Thank them for their honest feedback.
If you get rejected for a job via email, you can use the same language and see if you get a response.
Keep in mind the company might have a policy where they aren’t allowed to give you detailed feedback. Or they don’t want to be in a position to defend their decision. But it’s always worth a try.
Keeping the Door Open
There is one more step you can take after you’ve requested and received feedback. Keep the door open for future opportunities by writing them an email.
Here’s one way to show your continued interest:
“Thank you again for the opportunity to talk about the (name of position) and for sharing some feedback. I appreciate your candor and will take that to heart as I continue my job search. Please know that I’m still very excited about potentially working for (name of company, and if something comes up that you feel is a better fit, I’d love to come back and talk with you.”
That way, if their top choice candidate doesn’t work out, you can be top of mind.
So, keep the door open, and end your interaction in a positive way, and you may end up working there after all.