I remember the first time I was laid off like it was yesterday. Related: How To Create An Effective Resume Even If You Were Fired It was one month before my wedding. Boy was I devastated, as if the wedding process wasn’t already stressful enough. When I think back on that day, I can remember every detail like it just happened. I got a phone call in my office from my boss. He said, “Hey Michael, can you meet me in the conference room?” I knew something was up. I could just tell in the tone of his voice. I walked in the room, sat down, and he said, “I’ve got bad news. Unfortunately, we’re going to have to let you go.” He went on to tell me how I was a great employee and that, unfortunately, the decision was outside of his control and he fought viciously to keep me onboard. There were a few key reasons why I was laid off. From these reasons, I’ve come to learn several lessons. They are as follows:
Didn’t get the job? Rejection isn’t easy, but it’s important to leverage the progress you’ve already made with this company. In fact, this is a great opportunity for you to build a professional relationship with the hiring manager and keep things moving forward in the event another opportunity arises.
You want this person to be your advocate in the event another role opens up. Even though you didn’t get the job, you should take steps to keep moving forward. You want to use this opportunity to reinforce that you’re still interested in working for the company and that you’re willing to work toward becoming a better fit.
Here are some things you need to do if you didn't get the job:
1. Send Thanks
Even if you didn’t get the job, it’s important to thank the people who took the time to talk with you, interview you, and help you get that far in the process. They will respect you for it and appreciate the gesture. Not only that, but sending a brief thank you note after getting rejected from a job will allow you to stand out, and it will help you further your professional relationships within the company.
2. Be Understanding
Hiring isn’t easy, and rejecting people isn’t a piece of cake either. Let this person know that you understand the decision and thank them for considering you for the role. Who knows, if this person doesn’t work out, they might call you up and bring you in since you’re a “warm lead” for the role. Or, they might have a different opening they feel you might be a better fit for. That’s why it’s important to be thankful, positive, and supportive, even though you didn’t receive the offer. The truth is, you just never know what will happen!
3. Briefly Reinforce WHY You’re So Passionate About Working For This Company
If they know you’re deeply passionate about what they do, they’ll know you’re in it for more than just the money and that, if hired, you have the potential to stay at the company for a while. That’s why it’s important to reinforce why you feel so strongly about working for this particular company. So, share your “connection story” with the company, showcase a shared belief you have with the company, or share a personal experience that taught you the value of what that company does.
4. Seek Advice
Make it easy for this person to help you by asking the right questions. Remember, they’ve already gotten to know you, they know you want to work there, and they know you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get the opportunity. You’re a “warm lead” at this point, so you want to make it as easy as possible for them to choose you over someone else. Ask questions like...
- “How can I be a better fit for opportunities like this one?”
- “What do I need in order to earn opportunities like this one at your company?”
If you can find out what you need to do in order to “check off” all of the boxes, then you’ll make your candidacy more attractive in the event another opportunity opens up.
5. Take Steps To Move The Relationship Forward And Ask How You Can Keep In Touch
In order to keep this relationship moving forward, you need to ask for it. Being proactive in this situation is critical. Otherwise, your future with the company might be left up to someone else, which is a risky chance to take. Make sure you ask to stay in touch. For example, you could say something like…
“What’s the best way for me to stay in touch with you? I want to be proactive and stay on your radar for future opportunities. I really want to work for your company but I want to earn my place there.”
They’ll appreciate your proactiveness and your willingness to take ownership of the process—on their terms. It will also give you clear next steps on how you should keep this relationship moving forward.
So, remember: even if you didn’t get the job today, there’s still an opportunity to get the job tomorrow. “No, not today” doesn’t mean “no, not ever.” Leverage the progress you’ve made with this company and keep working your stuff!
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.