If there’s one thing I know, it’s how to deal with rejection.
I’ve been rejected for so many jobs that when I see an opening that looks perfect, I no longer even try to apply. I just send a “Sorry it didn’t work out” email to the potential employer, lock myself in the bedroom closet with a half-gallon of Chubby Hubby, and then, when I’m over it, move on to the next opportunity to be rejected.
But that’s me.
For you, a better course of action can be found in Kat Boogaard’s recent post on TheMuse.com.
“This Is the Email Smart People Send When They’re Rejected for a Job” is the title of the piece, a rousing pep talk, which aims to build up your confidence to the point where you don’t “dissolve into a puddle of self-pity” before taking you step-by-step through the process of crafting the perfect email response to the totally imperfect decision to reject you and hire someone else.
Ever the optimist, Boogaard writes, “The hiring manager likely remains very impressed with your skills, but for some reason — which may or may not be related to you — they hired someone else.”
While this reasoning could save you from a pity puddle, it’s unlikely to help you the next time a saucy job opportunity catches your eye. A much more positive response is to admit that you are a terrible candidate who no sane person would hire and decide to get a great new job anyway.
Unfortunately, the three rules for an apres-rejection email described in the article will not get you hired.
Fortunately, with a few minor adjustments, they just could do the trick.
No. 1: “Say thank you.”
It is difficult to think about saying thank you, considering how cruel and unfair it is to be rejected. A more reasonable response might be along the lines of “You’ve decided to move ahead with another candidate? Fine. While you’re at it, why not move ahead with another lobotomy, Jerko?”
Instead of a totally understandable response such as this, you are encouraged to remember that the interviewers tried “to be courteous hosts throughout the process — so you need to be courteous in response.”
I agree, and it’s an easy fix. Simply replace the slightly rude “Jerko” with the more courteous “Mr. Jerko,” and you’re good to go. (Ms. Jerko works, too. Jerks come in all genders, unfortunately.)
Another piece of advice also hits home: “Did anything stand out in particular as a positive memory? Mention it. Just a sentence or two will do.”
If you have zero positive memories, use this: “I will always remember our interview. I don’t believe I’ve ever experienced such rancid bad breath. Meeting with you is like sitting across the desk from one of Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons.”
You will, in time, forget the interviewer, but I can assure you the interviewer will never forget you.
No. 2: Keep the door open.
The purpose of the right rejection response is to keep you teed up for the next job that may come along. That’s why you are advised to “reiterate your interest in the company and their work.”
I agree. I recommend a response that concludes, “I continue to be interested in your company. In fact, I’m fascinated. Considering the incompetent people I met in the interview process, it’s a miracle you’re still in business.”
No. 3: Respond promptly.
100%. In fact, don’t wait until you’re rejected. Have your response already written, so you can send it immediately after the final interview. Even better, send it before the final interview. That way, you’ll have something to talk about with the interviewer, and you won’t wonder why you didn’t get the job. You’ll know.
Beyond the reject-the-rejection email, Kat Boogaard suggests connecting with the hiring manager on LinkedIn, including a personalized message about “how much you enjoyed meeting them and mentioning you’d like to stay in touch.”
A personalized message is good, but a visit to the hiring manager’s home is better. Just show up the next Saturday morning with a big smile and small suitcase, in case you are invited to stay over. And don’t forget to bring a gift.
Flowers are nice, but I recommend a big bottle of mouthwash.
P.S. If none of these responses feel right, just ignore the rejection letter. Show up at the job anyway. Grab an empty desk and get to work. Any company so mismanaged they wouldn’t offer you a job will never notice, guaranteed.
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected]. To find out more about Bob Goldman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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