So after two or so conversations and an interview with the headhunter, two face to face meetings with their client and an online psychometric test (which you think you absolutely nailed), you receive the call to say that you did not get the job. That hurt. Rejection is not something anyone enjoys, so maybe just stay in your current job, tear up your CV and consider yourself done until retirement.
No, no, wait! This is one of those scenarios where persistence pays off. Take a breather, walk around the block a few times and let that rejection wash off you, and start again.
This job clearly wasn’t for you, so how can we turn this negative into a positive?
Did I say something wrong?
Unfortunately, you don’t often see companies or hiring authorities write a nice email to let you down gently. More often you find there is a wall of silence, never to be heard from again.
However, as you have met with the company at least once or twice, you should consider phoning or emailing the interviewer. You can thank them for the opportunity and, as part of your learning experience, ask them politely why you weren’t chosen.
If they are prepared to impart this information and you are prepared to listen for a few minutes and ask some pertinent questions, then you could receive some real gems in constructive criticism, well beyond ‘just not being a suitable candidate’.
Ideally you’ll learn about how you did, including whether you were lacking certain experience or needed a particular qualification (in which case the headhunter should have checked whether this was a deal breaker before putting you forward). Had you not done enough home work in preparation? Did you not ask the right questions? Or did they decide to promote internally or hire someone with 10 years more experience than you?
Which part of your performance can you improve?
If nothing else, consider your time meeting and interviewing with the headhunter and their client as a learning experience and, hopefully, as an opportunity to expand your network. However, what can you do to prepare better next time? Find out:
- Were there any sticking points? How can they be avoided or how would you prepare differently for them?
- If you were missing qualifications, evaluate whether it is worth gaining these.
- Was the client expecting you to have skills or experience that you couldn’t claim you had?
Upskill for the next round
If some gaps have emerged in your skill set, experience or in how you answer certain interview questions, then now is the time to find a way to overcome these next time. Can you:
- Do a course?
- Volunteer for extra responsibilities or project work that will help you in your development?
- Get a mentor in your current business?
Keep that door open!
So you did not get the job this time … however the company may well get other vacancies you qualify for in the future. Therefore, if you have been turned down, stay polite and friendly and see it as an opportunity to widen your network. What reasons can you find to stay in touch with the decision maker? Make sure they know you are interested in other vacancies as they materialise, send them an email thanking them for the opportunity and stay connected!
With the emergence of the digital world, it is easier now more than ever before to stay in touch with your network by creating a digital presence and personal brand. Contribute, publish articles and comment. Make sure you are there to get noticed.