Job Search Rejection Emails


What to do about those rejection emails? You know the emails I am referring to. The thank you for applying, now go away and bother someone else, interview rejection email.

One of my clients received one of those three-line rejection emails after the first interview he attended last Thursday. The candidate was not surprised as he knew he had made a big technical qualification mistake in the interview.

We discussed whether pursuing the job was worth the fight, concluded that the job was worth fighting for, and proceeded to investigate a remedy and execute a recovery game plan.

Our decision, send an email to the hiring manager acknowledging the mistake. Let the manager know that you have done some reading on the topic, and there is a class from the vendor that could have you up to speed on the current version of the product within weeks.

The good news is that the candidate got an email back from the manager yesterday, suggesting that they meet this Thursday afternoon to discuss the position further. The manager liked the candidate’s proactive problem-solving approach appreciated his willingness to outline a recovery plan and do the work to achieve a goal.

Look, I am not suggesting that you respond to every rejection email with a recovery plan and a promise to do extra work.

But there are times when just before the bell sounds at the interview that is going well, you walk into the unexpected straight right-hand of interviewing incompetence, leaving you surprised, wobbly, and nearly kissing the canvas.

Success favors the brave, especially the courageous who are supported by an experienced team in their corner. The plan, retreat to your corner and huddle with your interview coach, career strategy consultant, or supportive teammates to plan your next move.

A stinging blow to the chin does not necessarily mean all is lost. Well, unless you find yourself flat out cold on the canvas, looking up at the ring lights!

Close your interview with a process question.

Closing your interview with a process question instead of a project related question, is a winning interview strategy. Asking an organizational or process question at the end of an interview can help you gauge whether the position is a good career fit for you at this point in your life and career.

These questions should replace the project, technical or industry related questions as you may have already discussed those topics with the interviewer. A good sample question: “What are the challenges someone hired into this role can expect to face?”

The Manager’s response to the question will show:

1.   Whether there are departmental or interdepartmental politics that you will have to battle against? And, are there technical issues that may make it initially challenging to perform your role effectively?

2.   The Manager’s answer may provide clues as to whether the Manager is aware and in-tune with what it takes to be a success in this role?

3.   Does the manager offer suggestions on how they will work with you to ensure your success? Does the manager speak about the good technical or process culture among the team?

4.   Does the manager’s response discuss how they generally mitigate friction among their talented team members? Because, while friction can generate new ideas, it can massacre the implementation of the new or unique ideas.

5.   Are there actions in place to correct some of these deficiencies, and how someone like you can add value in that effort?

This and other similar open-ended questions, is the manager’s opportunity to sell the role, their organization, and their management style. It is also an opportunity to tell you a bit about what kind of training the company provides its employees.

The manager’s failure to grasp the importance of this question and the opportunity to sell their management style, will also help you gauge the Manager’s interest in your candidacy for the position, and the potential for career growth that the position will provide.

Asking thoughtful process questions shows that you are interested and committed to success in the role could set you apart from the other candidate.

So, you believe that you are job-search ready.

But, have you considered the financial cost of this job change to you and your family?

Franklin Paterson Company Inc. Your One-Stop Career Boutique.. Combine creative resume design, with an attractive social media profile, and a superbly written cover letter, and watch your interviews and job offers soar!

How prepared are you to discuss compensation or the cost of benefits for the new position or a promotion at your current company?

As you job search or interview for a new position, this thorny but not unexpected question interview question arises. A question that not everyone knows how to answer or has prepared for properly.
Answer it incorrectly, and you may receive an offer that you may be unable to accept. Or you may later recognize that you may have sabotaged an actual pay rise by compromising in the wrong area.

And, you may be left with the new reality of having to pay for items, tools, or transportation that your current company is paying for or subsidizing. At one interview during my powerlifting days, one manager gushed about the free gym in the building and excitedly took me to show off. The gym was well turned out and extra clean, but I was left to wonder inwardly:
1) Where were the real weights?
2) Would the two guys at the front desk be willing to dangle on either side of the straight bar so I could do my four-hundred-pound plus squats for reps?  
3) And who was going to spot me, maybe the guy doing bicep curls with the ten-pound dumbbells?
4) It was clear that this free gym could not be my gym, so there were no savings. But I digress….

Among the key areas to do comparative costs comparisons are the Bonus and Commission structure, and when they are paid, Profit-sharing distributions, paid time off (vacation days, sick days, and holidays), Insurance (medical, dental, disability, and life), Tuition Assistance, Childcare Assistance, Employee assistance programs that offer legal advice, gym memberships, retirement plans or career or health-related counseling and other services.

Many candidates make the mistake of accepting an offer because it is a pay rise, a perceived gym benefit, or the simple fact that the request exceeds their current base salary when the benefit-cost details a slightly smaller base from a company with excellent benefits may mean a larger take-home salary.

Do you truly know if your total compensation from the new position would satisfy, match, or exceed expectations before starting your job search? And, do you know what the benefit-cost details are before you accept an offer at the new company or a promotion at your current company?

Handling Gaps in your Work History

How prepared are you to respond to questions regarding a Gap in your work history? Being laid off or fired is infuriating, especially if you are dumped by an organization that you were thinking of leaving anyway.

Maybe the timing is terrible, but consider yourself rescued and liberated, PLUS you get to keep your “I am not a quitter badge”!

Is there is a plus side? Yes indeed!

You are being forced to reconsider your career options and proactively restructure the next phase of your career. If you got a decent severance package – HURRAH! You are being paid while you make this career upgrade.

Here are some recommendations for processing and handling the work gap in the initial phone call with a recruiter or hiring manager:

1)   Develop a concise non-emotional explanation for the gap. Was there a company-wide layoff, did your department fold, was there a personal health issue, or did you move to a new city?

2)   Do not fudge the truth. Do not change a full-time tenure at the company to a contract or temp role. Lying about your employment can be damaging. The wise among us realize that being dumped can be a good thing. So, evaluate what you have gained from working at the company that set you free.  

3)   One of the funnier moments in my coaching history is a candidate explaining that she was fired, but not really.

In response to my quizzical: Say What? She said that she was the only one laid off in her division, so she felt she was fired. Too much info…. Was the severance reasonable? I asked, she said yes. I suggested that we will call it a “dissociation.” It is incredible what language can do to improve one’s view of things!

4)   Explain what you were doing during gaps between jobs. Think hard. Did you volunteer, take classes to upgrade your skills, travel, or use the time to take care of a relative. Did you attend webinars take online courses etc.? In short, were you productive?

5)   Unless you are good at disassociation, try to subdue your maverick go-it-alone approach. Consider engaging a professional to help you sophisticate your resume and prepare for this and other tricky interview questions.

6)   Invest in yourself and your career, and above all, do not wait until you are at the interview itself to craft a response to what you have been doing the last three or six months. Above all, do not slime the people at your previous employer; they can be excellent sources for referrals.

Being laid off or fired can be a shock.

For some people, being laid off or fired leaves them feeling angry, ashamed, or resentful. For others, the response could be, “Well, that was interesting. Time to move on. NEXT!”

But remember how quickly you bounce back and begin to represent yourself and your expertise as valuable to another company is always going to be your choice. 

A fast recovery depends on how quickly you accept that while you have had done interesting work, it is time to move on to better things. So, give yourself space to work through your feelings. Don’t let this setback diminish your pride in your otherwise successful career.

Put your redundancy package in perspective. Does it allow you to survive in the near future, or are you stranded? When your career game is interrupted, middle inning, it helps to remember that the sun is shining elsewhere, it is not raining everywhere, and you should remember to let that sink in.

Here are some other survival tips:

1.  Although a quick bounce-back might be a struggle, you will need to project a positive image to persuade your friends and potential employers that you are still in one piece. Focus on the highlights and achievements in your career. That helps to minimize the emotional fallout.

2. A layoff might free you up to explore a new career path or reassess your strengths, values, or where your career interests truly lie. Layoffs affect everyone in the department. Those who remain with the company quite often feel like they have just won the booby prize.

3.  Focus on your achievements in your former role. Use short and factual explanations. Too much detail can sound defensive rather than accepting of the situation.

4.  Laid off due to a merger, restructure, or downsizing? Use a broad brushstroke: Use all-encompassing language. “Unfortunately, I was laid off along with other colleagues.”

6.  Management change or a shift in direction: My skills and expertise are no longer aligned with the projects or the new manager’s priorities.

7.  Fired for performance reasons? Briefly explain the circumstances and what the experience has taught you. Then move on to what makes you a good match for the current position.

8.  Try to stay steady? Avoid responding to a deluge of jobs in a desperate attempt to get any new job. Instead, update your resume and shift your focus towards what you can offer.

Finally, accelerate your networking. The more active you are in your professional communities, the easier it will be to ask for and get help.

Thanks

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