The only thing you need to say after getting turned down for a position | Career Tips

| October 1, 2023

So you believe you had the perfect interview, aced all the questions asked, responded intelligently, asked the interviewer all the right questions, had a great vibe going, and sent in your thank you card/email/call etc.

Most importantly, you were well prepared and knew a lot about the organization and the company. Miriam Salpeter, job search and social media coach, owner of Keppie Careers (, and author of Social Networking for Career Success, explains,

One of the biggest pet peeves employers express is that interviewees show up and cannot describe how their skills and accomplishments relate to the organization’s needs. If you are able to speak intelligently about the company’s goals, as a result of your own research or based on informational meetings you’ve had with people in the company or in the field, you are a head and shoulders above other candidates from the start.

You even sent back an outline of strategic insights to suggest how to resolve some of the challenges the company is facing you discovered during the interview. Great! You are certainty at the top of the interviewer’s mind – maybe even THE ONE, since you have blown you competition away.

Unfortunately, you get a short email or a courtesy call from the interviewer or the HR manager, saying how great you were and it was a tough choice, but in the end there was someone else they selected who was best fit. You read, but don’t register the rest of the email that states your resume will be kept on file and you will be notified if any opportunity arises. (Wishing you all the best in your career, etc., etc.)

At this point you wanna go $%^&*# on the firm, the HR manager, the interviewer, the random guy who asks you for directions etc. Sound familiar?


You wonder what the heck? I did everything perfect and then some….I was a shoe-in for this role. How did I get turned down? Who could have performed any better than I did at the interview? What did they do? You even think about sending an email to the interviewer or HR Manager asking why they felt you weren’t right for the role.

Well guess what? IT DOES NOT MATTER!

According to Kate Wendleton of the Five O’Clock Club, an outplacement and career counseling network with certified career counselors across the United States,

If you have 6 to 10 job possibilities in the works, 5 will fall away through no fault of your own (job freezes, or hiring managers changing their minds about the kind of person they want).

In other words, forget about what went wrong! If you are certain that you did the best you could at the interview, and you feel you have no chance of getting any constructive feedback from the firm, then forget about it and instead focus on what you can do from here.

Realize that your in-person interview contact at the firm (preferably with the hiring manager of the department you are interested in instead of the HR Manager), is one of the greatest assets you have. Most just move on and forget about the interviewer and firm as lost cause. Don’t! You were one of many who got face time with the person who is in position to hire you. It’s like waiting in line forever to pick up the latest Apple gizmo and Steve Jobs (peace be upon him) hands you and a few others the gizmo himself!!!

Well okay, not quite like that. But you get the point. So here is what you should do. This is what I did once (and several times after since then) that works in the candidate’s favor for the long run.

Pimsleur All LanguagesWait a few days (no more than two or three days) and then call your interviewer (preferably a hiring manager). Ensure that you attempt the call at a time you are most likely to reach your contact very early in day or at the end of the day. Even if you don’t reach your contact, leave a message on his/her voice-mail.

Here is a sample script that I used once. You can edit it to your situation. The key is to sound sincere while leaving a clear direct response no more than a minute long.

Good Morning Mr/Ms. _____. This is _____(your name).We met on ____ to discuss the opportunity for the _____________ position in your department. I understand you hired a suitable candidate to fill the position. I just wanted to call in to thank you for your time for my interview. I truly enjoyed our discussion and was especially intrigued by what you said about ______(mention one issue of immense significance about the firm/role/department that the interviewer had brought up during your interview).  As I have a lot of experience with ______, ________, and ________ skills (mention your three most relevant skills that would most likely resolve that issue) and I plan to continue focusing on creating value for organizations in this field who have similar concerns, I hope our paths may cross again. If you require my assistance or believe my input might help you address your departmental objectives in any way, please feel free to contact me at _______ (leave your email or telephone number). I hope you don’t mind if I occasionally keep in touch. Thank you.

That’s it. And then remember to follow-up in the future as noted with either an email or phone call. My future posts will address relevant topics of discussion for future follow ups.

You see my point on how the above is relevant to really anchoring a very positive image of yourself in the interviewer’s mind. Don’t expect a reply, but one is quite likely from the interviewer depending on the rapport built up from first interview.

As I mentioned in the beginning, I have used this several times to keep in touch with every interviewer. Once, one of them moved on to a new role elsewhere, and through our mutual follow-ups, he called me in to help him out in a consulting role that he was working on. It worked out to be a win-win for us both.


Now go for it!

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Category: Career Tips, Social Commentary

About the Author ()

Larkycanuck is the pseudonym for the spirited, spontaneous and zestful Canadian. The Blog is focused on showcasing budget adventure travels for working families. Larkycanuck has traveled to over 15 countries, 38 cities in 10 years. He has never quit a job to do this. He travels with his wife and on some trips with the house rabbit (Pepper).

Comments (8)

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  1. careerbabs says:

    Well done, Larkycanuck. The job search experience can be a frustrating one and you have managed to look at the positive and talk about how one can learn from the experience and how one can use it as part of a network strategy. I will be talking about recruiters, candidates and companies in my next blog for Careerbabs. We all do walk a fine line, that is for sure!

  2. JA jobseeker says:

    Good advice, however, given todays “black hole” of online applications and algorithmic search engines, getting a face to face interview is a victory in and of itself.

    • larkycanuck says:

      Yes that is the tragedy, I agree, and perhaps that is why I felt it compelling to do whatever it takes to keep in touch with the one rare chance I get to meet a potential interviewer.

  3. Gonzalo says:

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    but great topic. I must spend a while finding out much more or figuring out more.

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  4. Darlene says:

    Quick tip…. more images and video clips in future posts. Massive blocks
    of text injure my eyes and I hate it, lol.
    Wall of text hits for 4500 damage…. lol. That joke never ever gets old.
    Good content though!

    • larkycanuck says:

      Thanks Darlene. That was one of my early posts of my nascent blogging days, and now I changed format as you said with pictures after learning and improvising over time.

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