Staying Viable After a “No”

{Click here to read the original article on Careerrocketeer.}

A while ago I wrote a piece titled…

“No” may not be final!

The point of the article was that it’s not unusual for a company to be interested in hiring a particular candidate even after they rejected them for a position they were initially pursuing. The article gave a number of reasons to be sure to let the employer know you would still be interested in pursuing other opportunities at the organization as something appropriate arises.

I’ve had a request, however, to further discuss how that contact and follow-up should occur. What should you say? Who should you contact? How should the contact take place?

Here are some ideas and considerations….

As the original article discusses, it’s a good idea to let the employer know very soon after they select someone else that you would be very interested in other opportunities. However, it’s also important to be pleasantly persistent over the next few weeks and months in order to stay top of mind with them should the right role arise.

Don’t focus on the recruiter

The internal recruiter, or HR representative that you dealt with during the initial interview process is not likely to be your best point of contact. They are the ones most deluged with candidate inquiries, employment related emails, and resumes. As a result, they’ve become most adept at putting off, or forgetting candidates that do connect.

The better person to contact is the hiring manager that interviewed you in the initial process. They are less likely to be regularly contacted by candidates and have a more direct interest in hiring people they want for their team. It’s possible that they might refer you to the recruiter. A great response is, something along the lines of…

I’ll certainly follow up with them too, however, wanted to be sure to let you know of my continued interest as well.

Mix-it up!

While a direct conversation over the phone or in-person is very effective at times, it’s not necessary to speak to them every time you connect. Mix-it up. One of your contacts may be a voicemail, the next time could be an email, and the next contact can be an actual conversation. Leaving multiple voicemails can become annoying, a string of emails can be as well. However, a different form of contact each time can be a very effective way of being pleasantly persistent.

How to keep them warm….

After the initial call or note letting them know you are interested in additional opportunities, what should subsequent contacts sound like?

As in many aspects of the job hunt process… brevity is a virtue! Keep the content of your conversations, voicemails, or emails concise and direct. Be prepared, write yourself a script for calls and voicemails to keep you from rambling, and to keep on point. Keep it light and friendly! Something along the lines of…

Hi, Bob, it’s been a while since we last connected and I wanted to just briefly touch base to keep top of mind for you in case anything appropriate might arise. I hope things have been going well for you. As I’ve mentioned before, XYZ Corporation is a company I have a great deal of interest in for the next chapter of my career, and would be very interested in talking to you further if any new opportunities should come up. I’ve noticed some news about the organization recently. How has that affected your areas of responsibility?

In subsequent calls, voicemails, or emails the concept is the same, however, the actual words ought to differ. Taking some time to develop a script you’re comfortable with pays dividends in the process versus speaking off the cuff in your contacts. The structure includes, a brief statement of your purpose for connecting, reminding them of your continued interest in the organization, something that shows you’ve been watching developments of the company, and a question to get them engaged in the conversation. Keeping each conversation brief, light, and upbeat is key. Don’t specifically ask if they have an opening, if they do they will tell you about it, however, you don’t want to put them on the spot.

Finishing the call soon is important… even if they are having a conversation with you. Unless they begin talking about a specific job, be very respectful of their time so that they don’t mind taking your call the next time around. You can close up the call with something like…

Thanks so much for your time Bob, I want to respect your time, but hope to be able to connect every now and then so that I might be able to be in the right place at the right time if something might change. Enjoy the rest of your day and best wishes!

Making similar calls every 2 to 4 weeks at first, and every couple of months after that can be a great way to keep the relationship warm.

If you didn’t get the job at an organization you’re interested in, however, would still like to land there… develop a plan to keep yourself viable for other appropriate opportunities. Being “Pleasantly Persistent” often pays off!

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