Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter encourages you to use these ideas to learn from being turned down for a job.
You not going to get every job that you interview for and I do not get a get an interview for every job you submit your resume to. This isn't about criticism. This is about learning from the experience. I want to focus on the situations where you have been interviewed and rejected..
I think it's important to start off by acknowledging any feelings that you have. Are you feeling mad? Are you feeling sad? Give yourself a little bit of time. I'm not talking about weeks. I'm talking about an hour where if you are angry, beat up something in your home or apartment. I don't mean a person. I am referring to taking a tennis racket and hit the pillow. If you are sad, it is okay to cry.
Then, you move onto the next thing which is, "How did they analyze you?" How did they evaluate and assess you? What were they looking for in the course of the evaluation? How well did you answer their questions? Was that really your best or did you give them something that was 50% of your best?
Most people when they start doing their self critique, "I did a great job!" Maybe you didn't. Give yourself a little bit of time. Review your answers to their questions. Then, ask yourself, "Could I have done better?" That's asking your self just to be clear about that.
Here's the next thing to do – – within a short period of time of having the rejection communicated to you, send an email or text if that is available to you, directed to the person that you interviewed with and ask, "Could I get a few minutes of your time? I just want to get your feedback for areas of improvement. " Particularly in the case of final interviews where it is you, and 1 or 2 other people that you have been competing with, this is a great approach.
You called, set up a meeting, coffee, whatever, and then say, "I don't want to ask you why you picked the other person. I want to ask you where could I have done a better job? Where was my experience deficient in your eyes or how was the other person's experience, superior to mine so I can learn from that?" Especially, in a case where you are a finalist, this is a terrific approach. The reason I say that is because there are a lot of instances where the person they choose doesn't work out. Who do you think they start thinking of right away? You.
Getting that kind of feedback and then acting on it for your own benefit will help you develop the skills, knowledge and experience to be more effective in your next interview and, at the same time, allow them to maintain the contact with you, think of you should something happen and a new role opens up. As a matter of fact, you can say to them, "I was really so impressed with you and with your organization. If something else opens up please let me know."
This isn't about begging. I'm sure you didn't hear any sound of begging it and what I suggest you say. You don't want to sound like a beggar at that point. You just want to simply say what I previously suggested. Often, they will come back to you with something else.
This is an approach that really will be helpful to you. It may result in the job without firm. But, more likely, you can take that feedback, use it constructively and apply it to the next interview.
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is an executive job search and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years.
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