Keeping in touch with the hiring manager who passed on you can pay off

“It ain’t over till it’s over.”
– Yogi Berra

Nick Kossovan

In other words, you don’t fail until you give up.

Job searching in one sentence: Presenting yourself to employers so they can decide whether you’re worthy of being on their payroll. Hence, job searches are inherently rejection-ridden. Having been rejected numerous times, I know firsthand how painful rejection can be.

People tend to want to move on as quickly as possible when rejected. Hold on, not so fast! Getting rejected by an employer may be the start of a beautiful friendship.

Staying in touch with those who rejected you may seem like an invitation for awkwardness; however, it doesn’t have to be. Try viewing staying in touch with people who rejected you as expanding your network. My network is populated with people who’ve interviewed me but didn’t hire me. Frequently, I hear from people whose job I turned down or who rejected me years ago wanting to discuss a job opportunity. Trust me, keeping in touch with the hiring manager, HR manager, or recruiter who passed on you can pay off.

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According to the following statistics, staying in touch with the person(s) who rejected you is in your best interest.

Recently, BambooHR, an HR software provider, surveyed over 1,000 people about their onboarding experiences. Not surprisingly, BambooHR’s survey revealed alarming stats on new hires leaving within six months.

Here’s the breakdown of when people leave:

  • 1st Week: 16.45 per cent
  • 1st Month: 17.42 per cent
  • 2nd Month: 16.77 per cent
  • 3rd Month: 17.42 per cent
  • 4th Month: 10.97 per cent
  • 5th Month: 5.48 per cent
  • 6th Month: 14.48 per cent

The reasons for new hires leaving are a matter of speculation, ranging from feeling neglected, overwhelmed, under-appreciated, and underqualified to a job they interviewed for during their job search came through.

As you can see, the odds of the person hired for your dream job leaving within the first six months are high. What would the employer prefer to do if a new hire quits or doesn’t work out?

  1. Start the hiring process again?
  2. Ask the candidate who came in second or third if they are still interested in the job?

Obviously, 2.

It’s essential to lay the foundation for staying connected during the interview process. First, build a rapport with your interviewer(s) by finding some common ground, whether golf, Greek food, or having gone to the same college or university. Your goal is to establish a connection with the interviewer.

After the interview, email a thank-you note mentioning the common ground between you and your interviewer. (“I enjoyed talking about how you, like me, find Parkview’s golf course to be challenging, especially since the Rouge River comes into play on five of the holes.”). Then give one or two additional reasons, which you didn’t mention during the interview, why you feel you’re the best candidate for the job. Even better, give a relevant STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) story.

Many candidates feel that not being selected out of 100s of candidates who have applied is tantamount to a personal attack. The possible reasons you weren’t chosen are countless.

Business is never personal; therefore, rejection should never be taken personally. Adopt the narrative that being rejected provides you with an opportunity to build a long-term relationship with the employer that could be beneficial in the future.

Begin to build the foundation of a long-term relationship by ensuring you end your interviews positively. It is also important to clearly state your ongoing interest. Never assume your interviewer(s) knows this. “I enjoyed our conversation. From everything you’ve told me during our phone interview, I can see myself enjoying working for Powell Motors as head of the design department. I’m looking forward to hearing back from you regarding next steps.”

Showing continuous interest throughout the interview process can be a key component to getting hired. However, should you not be hired, you want to convey that you’re open to future opportunities.

It’s not overly aggressive to say, “If you don’t mind, I’d like to stay in touch. I’d be interested in exploring other opportunities that may come up at Powell Motors, especially with the company launching a line of hybrid electric cars in mid-2023.”

Never say, “I’d like to stay in touch in case the person you chose doesn’t work out.” Such a statement implies you’re questioning the hiring manager’s judgement.

Then, stay connected so you stay top of mind. On LinkedIn, follow the company’s page and connect with everyone who interviewed you. Engage with their – and the company’s – posts (like, comment, retweet) on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.

There may be times you won’t want to continue a conversation with a specific employer because the working environment felt wrong or you didn’t feel the love. This is fine; take yourself out of the hiring process or decline should you receive the job offer. However, still offer to connect and stay in touch. Maintaining contact with people you meet during your job search is in your future best interest.

Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job.

For interview requests, click here.


The opinions expressed by our columnists and contributors are theirs alone and do not inherently or expressly reflect the views of our publication.

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