First, in my note from the Universe this morning, the following:
“Sometimes, e, when circumstances or disappointments bump you off track, it’s the beginning of an even bigger dream coming true, that could not have come true on the track you were on. Yeah, always.”
Second, a conversation with a mom/co-worker, who has a son who is currently seeking his first job out of college. I was rooting for him with one of my former employers, but sadly, I was informed he didn’t get the job.
Here are 4 suggestions on how to move on from this, and maximize that time you spent polishing that resume, practicing your interviewing, and shaking hands/meeting new people:
1. Follow up – First off, I’m in hopes you sent an immediate connection request via LinkedIn digitally after the interview (with a custom thank you message), and a hand written thank you card (in legible penmanship, with a business or custom calling card with all your contact info in the card) to each and every person you met at that company when you interviewed. (You did, didn’t you?) Furthermore, I hope you sent the snail mail and the LinkedIn requests within 24 hours of that interview.
Second, assuming you did all that and were informed you did NOT get the job, reach back out 3-4 weeks after your last interview, thank everyone again, and say you would hope that they would consider you for future positions. Ask for feedback on your candidacy as well.
I asked for feedback regarding a Fellowship application rejection I received this spring. I got it. It was brutal to listen to, mainly because there was feedback on stuff that was and is completely out of my control, but, I NEEDED to hear about my weaknesses so I can improve for the future. You should do this too.
2. Follow up, again – You certainly don’t want to turn into a stalker (there’s a fine line between passionate persistence and stalking, as I’ve stated here before) but there’s nothing wrong with taking notes during your interviews and then following up with interesting bits from that original conversation.
For example, I like to talk strengths from Strengthsfinder 2.0. Buckingham and other authors are always putting out other books on the topic – so if the hiring manager is big on Woo from Strengthsfinder, for example, why not talk about the Woo book, then send him or her a copy of it when it comes out, or a link to an article on Woo when you see it – and email it to the hiring manager, check in and just state that you saw the book or article and it reminded you of your conversation with them. (Feel free to substitute “Woo” for “sports” or “art” or “travel” or whatever you two discussed.)
This step requires you to prep ahead – by taking notes, and having interesting things to say during the interview conversation and after. Sports/books/movies/ideas/websites/travel – bring something different to the table in your interview, and you’ll have stuff to continue the conversation even if you don’t get the job.
3. Think of the “no” as “not now, but let’s keep in touch” – Take the interview for what it was – the STARTING POINT to continue conversations, not a one shot deal-never-to-be-spoken-of-again. If you got a call for an interview, you got the amazing shot at seeing a company from the inside out, and you should leverage that opportunity as an ongoing conversation rather than a terminal point. It’s just a starting point. If you go into the interview with this mindset, you’re golden.
4. Success is the best revenge – When you DO get that amazing job, make sure you shout it from the rooftops. Make that other company WISH they had hired you. There is no better revenge than success! After a year or two under your belt and some amazing projects you can be proud of, make them fight over you after you engage and continue these conversations.
I’ll close with a little story about my own career: that same company with the son above…? Yeah, they didn’t hire me the first time I applied either. But, eventually, they did hire me.
I never gave up – and neither should you. And sometimes, when things aren’t working out, that just means that something even better is lurking around the corner for you…you’re just moving over to a better track!