Today, Harriet Miers withdrew her candidacy for the US Supreme Court, thus causing the White House to review its primary list of potential nominees. At this juncture, the new nominee has not been announced but this is an excellent lesson for job seekers who find themselves not chosen for the position. Just because you “lost” doesn’t mean you are necessarily out of the game.
Employers go through a lot of effort to hire new employees. They may start with a resume pool of hundreds and they narrow down the selection to just a few for interviews. Those few are considered prime hiring material. During the interview process, the top runners are narrowed down to one candidate for hire and that candidate is given an offer. The hiring manager will notify the candidates who were not selected for the job and thank them for their time. Most candidates then give up and move on. That could be a fatal mistake.
If the selected candidate decides at the final moment to not take the offer, that leaves the rest of the candidate pool back up for consideration. Alternately, if the candidate begins work and doesn’t work out, the employer has to return to the hiring process and the prime candidate pool. An employer may also look to the prime candidate pool in consideration of other positions in the company that are either currently open, in the process of being created, or which look to be open in the near future. That candidate pool is a valuable resource to the employer, even if the members were not selected for the initial position, because all the work of vetting has been done on these individuals.
If you find yourself in the tight running for a position, but then are not selected, do not write that company off your list. Now is the time to double your efforts to stay in contact with the hiring manager. By working that contact to the maximum, you increase your visibility over the other members of the prime candidate pool and position yourself as someone worthy of a second look for other positions.
There are several ways to stay in the running for a position with a company. Here are a few suggestions:
Courtesy letter. When you receive notification that you have not been selected for the job, send the hiring manager (or interviewers) a courtesy letter thanking them for the opportunity to interview and for their consideration. Use this opportunity to reaffirm your interest in the company and ask to be considered for alternate or future positions with the company.
Congratulations letter. Find out the name of the person who did win the job and send him/her a congratulations letter. That person may very well be in a position to hire others and showing that you are a good sport will score points for you.
Use your new knowledge. During the interview process, you probably found out more about the company than you knew when you first applied. Use that knowledge to your advantage. Perhaps the company has a new project on the horizon that you can comment upon or offer insight toward in a follow up letter. Showing that you can be a resource even if you were not selected as the winning candidate can lead to new opportunities previously not developed.