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You Fell Off The Balance Beam - Now What? Hint: (Continue Networking)

Sep 4, 2008
You just found out that you didn't get the job.

You interviewed very well and were selected to move on to the final stage of interviews.

After the interview, you prepared a strong Post Interview letter where you provided clear solutions to stated challenges.

Then you got the news. They went with the other candidate.

Is it over?

Not yet. This is the time to dust off your post interview-networking letter. The post interview-networking letter closes the loop on the entire interview process. In this letter, the candidate acknowledges that they were not chosen and focuses on the future. The tactic is to elicit other ideas, contacts, or leads that can provide the next step in the job search process.

Is This Worth Pursuing?

Most people will not extend the job search process this far because they are uncomfortable with taking an aggressive stance. But, the worst thing that can happen is your email is ignored and sent to trash. You may get a response. Its just one more email.

The Job Search Cycle

At a high level, your job search will include 5 stages:

Stage 1 - Networking / networking letter

Networking is the art of converting strangers into friends and advocates

Stage 2 - Submission of Resume or cover letter for a position

Stage 3 - The job Interview

Stage 4 - The post interview letter and follow-up

Stage 5 - The post interview-networking letter

This letter is a hybrid -- a combination of Stage 1 and Stage 5.

Let's assume that you get over your fear of rejection and decide to send
the interviewer a follow up networking letter.
What should you say?

The Contents of the Post Interview Networking Letter

The letter should include the following items:

- Acknowledge the fact that you did not get the job

- Re-emphasize that you like the company and really wanted to work there

- Ask the interviewer where you fell short

- Ask for their expertise with your job search - i.e., "if you were me, what would you do next?"

- Ask for other contacts they can refer you to.

- Ask the interviewer to give you his/her opinion of which competitors / other companies you should research

All of these questions are designed to pick the interviewers brain.

You are acknowledging that it is time to move on and you simply want some help and expert advice.

I have written a post interview-networking letter that you can use as a guide. Please review and decide what you would like to include (what you feel comfortable with), in your own letter.

Example

Dear Mr. Jones:

I was disappointed to find out that you extended the job offer for technical writer to another candidate. Your company is one of the market leaders and would have been a great place for me to continue my career.

I think the candidate who got the offer should be thrilled and excited.

At this point, I am ready to move on with my job search and was wondering if you would provide me with some expert advice. I am committed to this industry and would like to know which companies you would pursue if you were in my shoes.

I would also appreciate any general advice you could give me about the quality of my interview and where I could improve. This would be valuable information.

Finally, if its not too much trouble, could you provide any networking leads within the industry that I could contact? I could contact them without using your name as a referral, if that would make you more comfortable.

I appreciate any help and advice you can provide and please keep me in mind if a new position evolves or a current position opens up.

Thank you again for the opportunity to interview with your company.

Sincerely,
Perry Maisin

Comments

I'm sure many of you are thinking that this letter is way out of line.

After all, the interviewer does not owe you anything and some people will never respond to a follow up networking letter. But, most employers have never received this letter and many would applaud your persistence. Even if you receive a response with one tip, or contact, your letter was a success because you kept the conversation going.

Closing the Loop

The post interview-networking letter closes the loop on the job search cycle. The most effective job search maintains a networking perspective throughout the process and doesn't waste an opportunity. To be successful, you must take every opportunity to sell yourself to perspective employer or contact. At the same time, you MUST Pay It Forward to establish trust and credibility with the strangers you want to cultivate into friends and advocates. A key ingredient of your networking strategy must be to provide others with free knowledge and advice. It will come back to you and you will receive spontaneous, seemingly random leads that bring you closer to your goal.
About the Author
Perry Maisin is a business communicator with 25 years of experience in resume writing, business process documentation, and technical staffing. Read informative articles on career testing, interviewing, and job tactics and strategy at Get Professional Advice Now!
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