Summary List Placement
After filling out an extensive application, passing the phone screening, and seemingly nailing the in-person interview process, you didn’t get the job.
That reality can be a low blow for any job seeker, especially if you feel like you have all of the qualifications and skills necessary to excel in the role.
If you still have your heart set on working for the company you were rejected from, there are several actions you can take that will optimally position you to transform that no into a yes.
Request feedback from your interviewer via email
Once you’ve gotten a rejection, the first and most valuable thing to do is politely request feedback from the interviewers you met throughout the process.
In most cases, rejection letters are very vague and don’t explain why you weren’t hired for the job. Asking for more details will help you gain clarity into their decision.
You may also discover a communication gap that resulted in the rejection. If this is the case, you can directly address the misinformation and potentially be put back in the running.
However, if you review the interview feedback and their justification for not hiring you seems reasonable, you will still gain the information you need to pursue alternative opportunities with the company.
Send this to the HR person who sent the rejection, as well as to those interviewers you felt most connected with:
Thank you for the opportunity to interview for what I think is a very exciting and dynamic role. I very much enjoyed meeting you and your colleagues, and I appreciate the deeper understanding I gained about [company].
I would deeply appreciate any feedback you can share that would provide insight into why it was determined that I wasn’t a right fit for the role. Based on the conversation we had about [topic], I felt I could be of great value related to [project/process/problem discussed]. I value your perspective on my candidacy.
Then, if you receive a response to your feedback request, be sure to thank them and include the following language in your follow-up response:
While this particular role may not be an ideal fit, I do hope you will continue to consider me for other roles within the organization which may be more aligned. Given my extensive background in [topic], I do think that I would be able to hit the ground running and add extensive value to the company bottom line.
I look forward to staying in touch.
Or request a follow-up meeting
When you’ve been through an extensive interview process — meaning that you’ve been vetted by many people that supported your candidacy throughout the process — consider asking the hiring manager for a follow-up call or in-person meeting to receive feedback.
In this follow-up meeting, ask the employer what you could do to be considered to fulfill the same or a similar role down the road so you can take the proper steps to match their requirements. You can also use this time to discuss other open positions within the company that you feel would be a good fit based on the cues and company information you gathered thus far.
Some of the positions you learn about may not even be posted yet, which would give you a leg up if your conversation leads them to believe you’re suited for the role.
To request this meeting, start with the template above and add this additional language:
If convenient, I would appreciate a quick call/meeting to discuss any feedback you can offer as to why I was not selected for the position.
Add your interviewers to your network
After the rejection, make it a point to reconnect with the contacts you met at the company and strive to maintain a healthy relationship with them.
The most noninvasive way to do this is through connecting with them on LinkedIn, using this language in your connection request:
It was great meeting you during the interview process for the [role title] position at [company]. I look forward to staying connected on LinkedIn.
Once connected, you can comment on their posts and very occasionally reach out to pass along information relevant to the person or just to stay connected.
The key here is to be sparing with these communications. You want to stay top of mind, but you don’t want to become annoying.
Your newly-developed contacts in the company may be able to share upcoming opening positions with you and deliver advice about managing the process.
In addition, these professionals will be a gateway into the company when you reapply to a role they’re listing. This will lower the risk of your resume getting put into the same pool as the other applicants and could give you a leg-up against the competition.
Create a personal development plan
Based on the feedback you received, you may decide you want to build your resume up with additional relevant qualifications to align with your dream company.
To do this strategically, gather all of your interview feedback, talk with your newly-developed connections, and make a pragmatic plan for skills development so you can reapply in the future.
When the next ideal position comes up, make sure your application materials highlight the reasons why you’re a stronger candidate now than you were before. Craft a cover letter that explains how your qualifications have developed since you last applied for a role with the company.
If the new role you’re pursuing is with the same hiring manager you interviewed with before, also send them a direct email about the job highlighting your new skills.
How to turn a job rejection into an offer down the road — with handy email templates