Monday, September 5, 2011



In my many years of coaching mid and late-career executives to seek “work, not just a job”, I have been mystified by an almost universal response on the part of candidates when they are rejected in favor of another executive for a position they really desired.

These executives, who are highly-qualified, talented and motivated, simply “take no for an answer” and move on to other opportunities.

What a waste of weeks of work on their part interviewing for the position as well as the contacts they made at the subject company, many or most of which were likely to have been positive ones.

Should you be rejected for a job, my earnest advice to you is the following:

1 If you really wanted the position, express that fact and the reasons for your interest in a follow-up letter or email to all the people you met. State in a pleasant, yet confident fashion that you would like to stay in touch and hope they will reach out to you should other opportunities arise in the near future.

2 Specifically follow-up in a phone call with executives you met in the process with whom you really “hit it off”. Express your pleasure at having met them, remind them of your on-going interest, and ask that they keep you in mind for future opportunities at the company or elsewhere. Add them to your Linked In contacts. Linked In will advise you when they have changed positions or companies, another reason for contacting them again.

3 Review the entire interviewing process in your mind (and with trusted advisors or your career coach), and endeavor to refine your interviewing skills and improve your professional presentation based upon any insights you can identify or glean from the people you met.

4 Add these people to your network and periodically update them on your progress (especially when you land a new job).

5 Consider offering to work in a consulting capacity if you are aware that the winning candidate may have more on their hands in the new position than they can handle.

6 Consider contacting the hiring executive or Human Resources in five months or so. Often the winning candidate will have succeeded or failed by this point, so your follow-up could be well-timed.

7 Look for other ways to stay on their radar. But, don’t just let them “go away” if you were strongly interested in the company.

8 Look for other ways to stay on their radar. But, don’t just let them “go away” if you were strongly interested in the company.

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