How to handle a ‘no’ after interview

How to handle a ‘no’ after interview

I see many candidates invest their heart and soul into securing what they feel is the perfect job, and I also see an unintended consequence; the utter sense of despair candidates feel when they are rejected.

At the senior level, this is particularly the case for those candidates who are seeking to step into a more senior leadership position and feel they are being blocked.

Unless you are competing for the most elite of positions – an astronaut or the CEO of Rio Tinto – it is important to realise that there is always another job to go for. When it is a no, it’s a no, so begging and cajoling the hiring manager will only validate that manager’s decision.

How you handle rejection – and the lessons you take away with you – can define the tone of your future job hunt, and over the years I have compiled a few tips that will help:

The gracious thank you

A well worded follow-up email to the key stakeholders expressing your thanks for being included in the process is an entirely appropriate action to take. State that you will always be happy to engage with the company and would be interested to hear of other opportunities as they arise.

Emailing the business with a list of reasons why the hiring process was poor is not appropriate. And don’t send them a letter detailing why you are fantastic and declaring that they will forever bemoan the day they passed over you. Don’t laugh, a fellow recruiter told me about this happening just last week!

The feedback session

I am a big fan of requesting detailed feedback from the hiring managers. At the senior level, a 10-15-minute call with discussion on areas of improvement and general interview critique can mean all the difference between securing that next position and bombing out again.

It is fine to ask what skills the preferred candidate possessed, or their particular employment background, but always keep the tone positive and never try to argue your case.

Keep your chin up

Too often, I see candidates who have been passed over several times begin to take on an aura of defeat. It can be really tough to lose out on several roles in a row, but letting any cynicism shine through is a surefire way to have your CV placed at the bottom of the pile.

While some news media tells us that Australia is in tough times, the fact is that we are enjoying a relative period of prosperity and job stability. It tells us that there will always be another job, another opportunity, just around the corner. So keep your chin up.


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