After months of searching for jobs, your dream company called you in for an interview. Your resume was flawless, you wore your best suit, and you confidently headed over to Dreamy Company to meet the hiring team. Things went well. The interviewers laughed. You successfully answered every tough question, and you even got to meet your future co-workers. Things couldn’t have gone better.
After one week, you finally hear back from the manager. This is it; it’s the email you’ve been waiting for. As you click open the message, your heart sinks. Much to your dismay, the first sentence starts with, “We regret to inform you.” You didn’t get the job.
If your dream company rejected you, all is not lost. There are some steps you can take that could either change the interviewer’s mind or lead to another opportunity. Here are three things you can do.
1. Ask for feedback
How you respond to rejection is everything. You may be tempted to ignore the rejection email and move on with your job search. Or you may surrender to the temptation to give the hiring manager a piece of your mind. However, if you still want to work for the employer, respond kindly with a request for feedback. Rather than expressing your disappointment or getting angry, put your pride aside, try to sincerely gain an understanding of what went wrong, and learn how you can improve. Start by thanking the interviewer for his or her time and reaffirming your desire to work for the company. Then ask if there is any way you can improve your candidacy for similar positions in the future.
Career expert and former recruiter Jaime Petkanics said responding to a rejection email and asking for feedback can be a smart way to leave the door open. You never know when a positon you’d be a great fit for will become available. Your positive attitude will leave a good impression and keep you top of mind. “I’ve turned down plenty of people in my career as a recruiter because the job fit wasn’t quite right – even when the company fit is very much there. I have gone back to many of them at future dates to talk about new roles that were a better fit and in lots of cases have hired them. In case that is an option, you want to keep that relationship intact. It’s also a great idea to express that you’d still like to be considered for future roles if something comes up,” said Petkanics on her website.
2. Follow up on a question you didn’t answer well
If you know you completely flubbed an answer to an important interview question, there are no rules against sending a follow-up email with a better answer. This is your chance to give yourself a do-over before the hiring manager makes a financial decision. Following up and taking another stab at the question shows not only that you are serious about the job but also that you are the type of person who doesn’t give up easily. Motivation is a personality trait many employers are looking for when it comes time to hire new employees. Roughly 66% of employers in a Career Builder survey said motivation is an essential soft skill. So just by following up to revise your question, you’ve shown a positive trait that might turn things around in your favor.
3. Ask for a chance to join a training program or apply for an internship
Another way you can get your foot in the door at your dream company is to show that you’re willing to learn. A positive attitude is another trait hiring managers seek. A whopping 73% of managers in the Career Builder survey said this soft skill was also very important when it came to identifying a good company match. Some companies (especially publishers) host training programs for entry-level employees and career changers looking to break into a particular field. Show how positive and motivated you are by asking if the company has a training program. If they do, ask how you can be part of it. If a training program does not exist at the company, inquire about an internship (if you can afford to take a pay cut). If you’re determined to become their employee, now is the time to be flexible and a little creative. You never know, your determination may just change the hiring manager’s mind.