Robert Hellmann, Contributor, Career & Executive Coach, Speaker, Business Consultant
Article originally appeared on Forbes.com on 8/2/22
Many jobseekers are too quick to write-off opportunities if they experience radio silence after an interview. A typical example: “My last interview was three weeks ago and I haven’t heard anything, I guess they’re not interested” (this jobseeker actually ended up receiving an offer). You can both avoid having to guess their intentions and improve your odds of landing an offer by taking the following steps.
Interview later in the process
Resist the temptation to choose the earliest time they offer you for an interview. Instead, take the latest time. You’re less likely to experience a post-interview disappearing act because you’ll interview closer to the time they’re making the decision. More importantly, they’ll remember you better. Plus, you can gain a better understanding of both how you measure up vs. other candidates and what they’re really looking for, since the role’s requirements may evolve over time. Use this understanding to write a powerful Impact Email right after the interview; influence their decision-making based on what you learned.
Take initiative to stay connected after your interview
Don’t wait more than two weeks after your Impact Email to reach out again (ask about their timetable in the interview). Write a “keeping-in-touch” email that keeps you top of mind and continues to build the business case for their hiring you. In this email, you might:
- Re-state your enthusiasm for the role.
- Suggest you won’t be around forever: “Given other conversations that are moving forward, I want to be sure we’re in touch so that we don’t inadvertently miss a chance to work together.”
- Offer to help: “I would be happy to provide more information to help with decision-making.”
- Optionally suggest another meeting: “Perhaps your needs have evolved as you’ve met with other candidates. I’ll see if I can get on your calendar to address any new questions or requirements.”
- Consider sharing a link of interest, or additional thoughts about how you can help them.
In this email, you don’t need to ask “what’s the status” and thus reveal insecurity unless you need to know because you are about to receive another offer (in which case, share this reason). If you have other opportunities in the works, as you should (the job search is ultimately a numbers game), you’ll feel less tempted to ask this question.
Got rejected? Get feedback, and a referral
To avoid feeling like you’ve wasted your time, get feedback that can help you with subsequent interviews and ask for a referral that could lead to another interview. To accomplish both objectives, consider calling those you enjoyed speaking with during the interview process. When they answer, start off by being super gracious, wishing them well with the new hire. Then ask for feedback. Finally, thank them for the feedback, suggest keeping in touch (send them a LinkedIn connection request), and ask: “Is there anyone else you suggest I reach out to?”
Note, if you can’t get through by calling, then try emailing. Prioritize calling, however, because it will be just too easy for them to ignore your email now that they’ve decided they don’t need you.
One of my clients followed this script after her rejection. She got a referral and interview with another department, only to receive another rejection. She repeated the same script, got another referral and then a third rejection! Finally, on her fourth try, she landed an offer.
Also, how sure are you that their rejection is final? Some clients have been able to turn a seemingly firm “no” into a “yes” through a persuasive follow-up.
After a rejection, keep in touch
One client landed an introduction for a fantastic opportunity from the hiring manager who rejected him more than a year earlier, because he made the effort to keep in touch.
About the Author
Robert Hellman: As president of Hellmann Career Consulting, I’ve helped thousands of individuals to define and reach their career goals, and dozens of organizations to achieve their outplacement, leadership development and LinkedIn/business development goals. I’m an executive coach, career coach, workshop leader, keynote speaker and previously a LinkedIn-certified Professional Recruiter. I lead dozens of seminars annually on the A-to-Z Job Search, LinkedIn, Presentation and Pitch Skills, Team-Building, Interviewing for Hiring Managers and more. As a certified GetFive Senior career coach, I’ve co-developed/led GetFive’s coach certification curriculum. The books I’ve authored include Advanced LinkedIn, PEAK Presentations and Your Social Media Job Search. I have contributed three chapters to GetFive’s Work Smarts: Be a Winner On-the-Job. My career insights have also appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Money Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, NBC News, ABC News and more.