Sunday, October 6, 2013

A "Thanks for Rejecting Me" Letter - Are You Kidding Me?

Didn't get the job?  Came in second choice?  What do you do?
     Write a thank you to the employer who rejected you.
"Are you kidding me?" you ask.  "Why would I write a letter to an employer who just rejected me?" 
     Because you might just end up with the job anyway - that's why!

Over the years of coaching job seekers, I have had this exact conversation with numerous clients.  And, I have offered this same advice to all of them who came in 2nd or 3rd in the interview process.  They did quite well in the competition, as evidenced by placing that high in today's highly competitive market.  Another candidate simply possessed a little more of "something" that made them the employer's first choice.

So, what can you do?
Chances are you committed extensive time to the interview process which may have gone for weeks or even months?  You may have written letters, updated your resume, participated in multiple interviews, prepared and delivered a presentation, and even written a great "sales" thank you letter at the conclusion of your final interview.

To say you are disappointed is understatement - especially if the position seemed like your dream job.  You may be feeling deflated, defeated, and discouraged, and even a little angry.  There might be a lot of things you'd like to say or do when you experience such a disappointing outcome, but don't!  Instead, step back, take a breath, and when you are calm and ready, write a "Thanks for Rejecting Me" Letter to the firm that just rejected you.

Question:  Why on earth would you thank someone who did this to you?

Answer:  Because you may just end up with the job anyway.  So, go the final, final step and send a Thank You letter for the opportunity to have interviewed for the position.

It's a phenomenon!
2nd and 3rd choice candidates frequently end up with the job anyway.  Why does this happen?
Because first choice candidates often do not accept the job, or they accept but don't stay stay for long.  The employer then has 2 options:
Option 1:  Start all over again, initiating a new search, generating 100s more resumes, more interviews, etc.
Option 2:  Get back in touch with their 2nd choice, invite them to come on board, and eliminate the co$tly and time-consuming initiation of a new search.  Should the 2nd choice candidate have, by this time, accepted another position, they'll contact their 3rd choice.

Option 2 just makes good $ense!

Why does this phenomenon occur?  It's really not all that big of a mystery.
If a job seeker has been conducting an pro-active job search, and following our sales model, a job seeker spends several weeks initially marketing him or herself.  That means applying for positions, sending out resumes, identifying target companies and sending out sales cover letters with resumes, connecting with and conducting networking meetings.  It's what we call feeding the pipeline

It takes a while, generally several weeks, from the time a job seeker begins feeding the pipeline until he or she sees opportunities coming back to them.  A resume entering a firm, or a referral from a network member, takes time to flow through the firm from initial contact, to HR, to the hiring manager/team, to interviews.  A job seeker, working multiple leads, would have several of these leads in process.  The higher the level of the position, the longer these leads take, but generally it takes a month or two of initiating activity before the job seeker begins to get responses, and it can take until months three or four when interviews begin in earnest. 

So, in our example, the first choice candidate might be seriously interviewing for 2 or 3 positions concurrently.  He or she has identified their top choice.  But, Murphy's law being what it is, their second choice firm often makes an offer before their first choice firm does.  So, they accept choice #2's offer.  Then, their first choice firm comes through with an offer.  If they accept, the hiring firm now has 2 options:
Option 1:  Start all over again, initiating a new search, generating 100s more resumes, more interviews, etc.
Option 2:  Get back in touch with you, their 2nd choice, and invite you to come on board.

Faced with a costly initiation of a new search, it is in the firm's best interest to reach out to recently interviewed candidates.  You can make it easy for them to reach out to you, if you have stayed gracious, understanding, and visible.  Here's how:

Write a "Thanks for Rejecting Me Letter" following the conclusion of any interview process.  In your letter, follow these 7 steps:
1.  Thank the firm for the opportunity to have interviewed for the position.
2.  Say that you understand their situation and decision, indicating you understand how difficult it can be to choose between top notch candidates.
3.  Re-iterate your interest in the firm and the position, and your desire to join such a great team and firm which you hold in high regard.
4.  Re-state the benefits of hiring you, noting (a.k.a., selling) your experience, competencies, and accomplishments.
5.  ASK to be considered for additional opportunities when they arise.
6.  ASK if you may stay in touch and contact them from time to time.

7.  Wish the firm, and the person you are writing to, continued success.

Stay visible
When you think of it, both you and the prospective employer invested a lot via the interview process.  By staying visible, and remaining professional and gracious, you can make the investment pay a return, albeit not immediately but a little down the road, when you follow-up every rejection with a  Thanks for Rejecting Me Letter.  It's a good strategy and a smart thing to do!
For additional information on marketing yourself and your capabilities, please refer to the many articles found under the Articles tabs of the AJC–Career Strategy website, including:
Thank You Letters - Why Send Them and to Whom? Sept 5, 2013
Template for a Thank You Letter Following an Interview, Sept 29,2013    _________________________________________________________________________                 AJC - for Your Career Path
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