Three Must-dos When You Don’t Get the Job

By : Categories : career advice Comment: 4 Comments

You polished your resume and sent it, along with a stellar cover letter, to the right person.

You got a call.

You aced the interview.

You were brought back in – twice!

You sent thank you notes after each interview, to each interviewer.

Your follow-up was polite and appropriate.

You were told you were a finalist. The HR person thought it was looking good for you…

And yet, they gave the job to someone else. After all that effort and waiting and wondering.

After joking with the receptionist about being a “regular” in the lobby. After establishing what seemed like a genuine rapport with the executive in charge of the department. After what the HR person said about it looking good…

Yes, it’s a disappointment, but in spite of what you might think, all is not lost. What do you do to maximize your chances of having some good come out of this seeming loss?

1)      Be gracious. Yes, you were obviously the best candidate, at least as far as you could tell. And maybe some of the people on the other side of the interview desk thought so, too. But a decision was made, no matter how difficult. And it’s time to touch base one more time with a thank you to all involved for their time and consideration.

2)      Be a resource, if you can. If there’s some topic that was discussed and piece of information that the interviewer wished they had, track it down. If the interviewer wanted to connect with someone who you know, offer to make the introduction. There’s not always an opportunity like this, but if there is, take advantage of it.

3)      Keep the door open. Part of keeping the door open is the thank you and the effort made as a resource. But saying it is important. “If another position comes up – or if the candidate you hired doesn’t work out – I would still love the opportunity to join the team over there.” A sentence like this can cement you in their minds as the backup or as the first person to be called when something else becomes available.

I have personally hired many people who were passed over for the original job they came in for, sometimes for a better position I knew was coming up but couldn’t say anything about. I have also forward resumes of promising candidate to colleagues at other companies for their open positions. Getting the original job is just one good outcome of the job interviewing process. Consider a “near miss” at getting hired one more step in building your reputation for overall career success.

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About JennyYM

Jenny Yerrick Martin is a veteran entertainment hiring executive with 20+ years in film, television, and music. She created to give students, recent grads and others a true picture of the layout of the industry, and how to break in, transition to a new area, or achieve more success on their current path.


  • Aaron Marcus

    November 11, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Great ideas. The same concept holds true for actors who did not book the job after a number of call backs.

    There are so many reasons why actors book and do not book a job, and quite often it has little to do with the actual audition. Perhaps the kid who auditioned gave the best read, but he or she does not look like he belongs to the parents in the film who have already been cast.

    The important thing is how we handle the situation. Maybe an actor does not get the role he read for, but the director loved his read and will consider him for another project.

    All we can do is enjoy our audition, learn from it, and move on to the next one.

  • CorinneC

    November 21, 2011 at 5:14 am

    Thanks for these great tips! I’ll remember them next time!

  • Bestman

    December 7, 2011 at 2:48 am

    I hope that more people read this and get what I got from it: chills. Great job and great blog. I cant wait to read more, keep em comin!

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