Wow, what a blog post title!
I really learned this after a really positive interaction I had with a professional at one school in particular. Long story short, I applied for the job, had a phone interview, progressed to an in person interview (at the Placement Exchange) — but, I was not invited to campus & obviously didn’t get the job. The story before the application is the key to understanding this though – I had a personal/professional relationship with someone on the hiring committee. This person had even coached me on the phone about what the school values…etc.
So, when I got the very formal email from the school saying “We are not pursuing your candidacy at this time.” As expected, I had a wide range of emotions — some of them were directed very specifically at my contact at the school. I even thought to myself “why did this person encourage me to apply knowing I wouldn’t get it!” – I was very negative.
A few days later, I got an email from the contact asking me if I wanted to talk on the phone. I felt really really awkward! But, I accepted. This was a great decision on my part & some awesome-ness on their part.
We proceeded to have a nice 30 min conversation about my search. For obvious reasons this person couldn’t say “Brian, you didn’t get the job because of X” — but, instead we were able to have a really positive & pointed conversation about my future which encouraged me.
Fast forward in my search some – whenever I had an on-campus interview or had a great email from a school– an even when I received my offer for the position I have accepted… you guessed it – I called my contact. This ended up being a great source of encouragement for me!
Lesson learned: after the interview process & hiring game is played (and I know it is still going on for MANY people) – feel free to reach back to those professionals and say “hey, I don’t need to know why I didn’t get it, but I really thought you were awesome & would like to connect with you as a professional colleague.” I bet you will have some great responses & make some outstanding professional connections! Who knows, maybe you will work with them in the future! Stranger things have happened in this small field we work in!