Should I thank them for rejecting me?

Thank You for RejectingYou were a perfect fit for the job, and you had the best interview you have ever had; yet you still got the rejection letter. Do you send a thank you note?

Or let's say it comes down to you and one other person, and you know how unqualified the other guy is for the job. Maybe you also know about a character issue of his that the company will regret hiring. Again, the other guy got the job over you. Do you thank the employer for your rejection, or warn them about a bad hire?

I hope the answer is obvious, but read this article all the way through because the reason for the answer is definitely NOT obvious. That answer of course is yes, thank them.

Send a sincere note thanking them for the time they took to interview you, and reiterate your interest in the company and the position. Let them know that if anything changes, you would be interested in reconsideration.

I hope that’s obvious and you can see how sending that letter leaves the door open in case the other person never shows up for their first day. Believe me, that happens.

I promise you’ll get the call before the other people who also got passed over, but who sent an email letting the employer know what a mistake they’ve made by hiring the wrong person.

That candidate I rejected was right, I was stupid for hiring that other person. It really was my loss!” said nobody, ever.

Here’s the twist I promised, and this is a tactic you can start using today: As you close your brief, but sincere thank you letter, add the following 2 sentences.

In your position, I’m sure you interact with headhunters frequently to help you fill your positions. Do you know of a good one you can recommend for me?

PLEASE NOTE: Your objective here is NOT to get a recruiter’s name; while that’s a nice benefit, it’s not the purpose behind asking.

When you ask someone to help you by giving you a personal referral, that will psychologically get them invested into the success of your search.

Think about it, when you recommend someone, don’t you want to know that it worked out for that person? That you were the source of a good referral? Of course!

Key Referral SourcesAfter getting this recommendation, now you have an open door to go back to this Human Resources contact or the Hiring Manager from that employer (or both), and let them know you did follow up with their referral. Let them know you really appreciated the recommendation and that you’ll keep them posted on how it works out. You won’t forget them if this is the lead that helps you land.

They will be thrilled to know they were helpful to someone in need. They will welcome your updates, which by the way you can close those with, “Thanks again, and if you should ever hear of a position for someone with my background, please keep me in mind.” They are already in the mode of helping you; they want to see you succeed and they WILL keep you in mind.

Since they know how diligently you are trying, they will be more apt to help you. Plus, you are now displaying for them your work ethic, your follow up skills and your attention to detail. Remember, these are HR professionals and Hiring Managers in your field. This is your best possible audience to whom you can display these attributes!

Here’s just one more motivator for you. Per my own study in tracking candidates after they go on interviews, in my experience, less than 10% write a thank you note. Thank you notes after interviews should be a given, a 100% follow through rate, but it’s less than 10%; even from people who are specifically being told to write one!

The percentage of people who send a thank you after being rejected? In my office, it’s less than 1%. Obviously I don’t send millions of candidates on interviews every year, but I’ve still got enough of a sample size to confidently say that a large majority of your competition are not sending anything after they are rejected, and the ones that are, typically send something bitter in response.

So make it your mission to follow up every interview, and every rejection, with a carefully crafted thank you letter. This is not just to be polite, or to hope for someone else’s misfortune to become your lucky day; no, it’s to get the best people possible invested in your search so you can land faster.

You can do this. Finding a job doesn’t have to involve luck, this is a skill you can learn. Give this a try and share your success story with us here.

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