The interview is over and you’re feeling guardedly optimistic that you nailed it. Your preparation was superb, your resume was a work of art, your cover letter even impressed you, and you looked like a million bucks, you had an answer for every question, and you’re convinced the interviewer really liked you. They said you would hear from them within a few days; what could possibly go wrong.
A few days go by, then a few weeks, and you’re still waiting to hear from someone. Now your confidence begins to quickly erode. You start to feel a sense of panic, and then you grab hold of yourself and become hysterical. And just then you get a letter in the mail or an email and your excitement builds again; you begin to read it and they want you……not. What could possibly have gone wrong you ask. You replay the interview and start to play mental gymnastics with yourself trying to figure out what happened.
You read the rejection correspondence over and over looking for some hidden message with no success. It’s the typical three paragraph letter of rejection. The first paragraph starts out, “Thank you for taking the time to meet with us……” then the second paragraph states, “At this time we don’t have a suitable position for you…..”; and then the third paragraph finishes it off with “We wish you success with your future endeavors…”
Rejection is bad enough, but not knowing why is what drives you nuts. If you knew the answer to that, you could fix it in the future either with that company or a different company. You get the courage to contact the interviewer to see if some light can be shed on the rejection. If your lucky you get a return call, however typically you don’t get a return call, and if you do the answer you get is so generic that it doesn’t help you other than to have the interviewer ‘let you down’ gently with a candy coated answer like “We really did like you, and it came down to two candidates and the other person was a better match.
So what’s the deal? Well, the bottom line is that seldom if ever will you get a straight answer. Even if the interviewer wants to provide it to you, HR requirements will prevent this from happening. From their point of view, nothing good can happen for them, and at worst it can open up a can or worms, hence the reason for no response from them, or a bland, generic answer is provided to you.
The best you can hope for is that you and the interviewer connected on some level of compassion, and he or she is willing to give you a slight idea as to the issue. And even then most likely you will have to read between the lines to understand the true meaning of the words and reason for rejection.
It’s worth the attempt on your part; it’s better to error on the side of assertiveness rather than passiveness. And who knows, maybe it could even reopen the door for you.