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VOL. 41 | NO. 17 | Friday, April 28, 2017

You didn’t get the job. What’s the best path forward?

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Being overlooked for a job is the worst. It’s especially bad after you’ve had a series of interviews. You took off work (multiple times), bought a new suit and updated your resume.

How could they reject you after all of that hard work?

First, I’m with you. It’s pretty awful when a company puts you through the ringer just to toss you aside in the end.

Sometimes they don’t even notify you. They aren’t shopping for a new pair of shoes. You’re a person.

So, what are you going to do now that you’ve been rejected?

If you’re like most people, you are going to stay as far away from the company as possible. It’s like a bad breakup. They rejected you. Why would you want to pour salt in those wounds?

This is totally reasonable. But, what if we chose to see the situation from a different perspective? What if it wasn’t a complete rejection? Maybe hiring had been put on hold. Another candidate could have been preselected. Your salary history could have been a bit high for the role.

Or, perhaps the hiring manager felt you were overqualified for the job.

Often, we don’t know what the real reason was. We assume the company didn’t like us.

What if we decided not to take it personally? What if we looked at the interviews as the start of a longer conversation?

If we did this, we would probably reach out to the hiring manager in the future. We’d keep an eye on new jobs in the same department. And we might even meet up with someone from the team every now and then for a coffee.

What’s the worst that could happen? The hiring manager might get to know you better. They might really like you. And they might call you the next time they’re hiring. In fact, they might call you before the position is posted.

But this approach takes two things. First, it requires you to separate yourself from the rejection of not being selected the first time around. You have to be confident enough in your skills to say, “This wasn’t the right fit this time,” instead of, “This will never work.”

Second, it takes longer. It’s not an immediate answer, and it could even take years to build a relationship with the company that rejected you.

I’d argue that it’s worth it. If you take this approach across the board, you will grow your network more than you can imagine. Instead of searching for a new job, jobs begin to come to you. Hiring managers will call you when you are a good fit. They will call when they can pay you enough and when they have a job that really meets your skills.

But it requires looking at things differently when you’re not picked. So, what’s your next move – complete rejection or conversation starter?

Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com.

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