How To Win The Job -- After Theyve Turned You Down

By: Bruce Bloom

If you've been turned down for a position you're particularly eager to win, and the employer hasn't yet filled the job, an aggressive second effort might possibly give you another shot at it. Asking for one more chance after you've been rejected is a bold strategy, but what do you have to lose?

Call the interviewer, thank him or her for the interview and say you'd be grateful for an objective appraisal of the meeting, and of you as a candidate. Say that if you're making mistakes in your job search, you don't want to repeat them. Encourage the interviewer to be frank, and be sure to take detailed notes of the response. If the interviewer is candid and open, you'll know exactly what perceptions you have to change to turn a loss into a win.

When you learn what the interviewer's concerns about you are, and it is a perception you can fix, ask for another interview:

"Thank you for being so straightforward. What you've told me will be very valuable to me. I guess I'm uneasy in interviews, and I made some mistakes. It's clear I did not make a very good case for myself. But I'm confident I have everything it takes to do a first-rate job for you. I'd like another chance to prove it to you. I'd like to introduce you to the real me. Will you give me the opportunity to come in and talk to you again?"

Sure, it's a long shot, but if the interviewer is impressed with your moxie and perseverance, you just may get the meeting you want. Armed with the knowledge of what got you rejected the first time, you have the opportunity to re-position yourself in a more appealing way this time around. In a sense, you get to learn all the right answers, and then take the test again.

Even the interviewer who rejects you, finally and past all hope, can still be a useful resource in your job-search campaign. Ask for a critique of your interview performance, and use what you learn to strengthen your approach. Enlist the interviewer in your job-lead network by asking for counsel, and for job leads. You'll find that even though an executive has turned you down for a job, he or she may nevertheless become a strong booster for you, and open doors to other opportunities.

Remember that your whole career never rides on one interview. Even if you don't get an offer, the meeting still has important value—training for the next interview. Learn from it, and move forward confidently.

Never worry that you're going to blow an interview. Walk through the door and play to win. The absolutely worst thing that can happen is that you don't get the job, and that's not a disaster. You didn't have the job offer when you came in, so you're no worse off than you were before.

There are more jobs, more interviews. You start with a clean slate in the next interview, at the next company. There's no time limit. You play till you win.

Careers and Job Hunting
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