I'm *not* going to stand outside holding a boombox over my head.
August 23, 2012 8:53 PM   Subscribe

How to get a company to reconsider me for a job?

I went through a series of interviews for a management position with a really cool company recently. Before the in-person round, I'd done a bunch of research on them, played with their product, and had a great phone interview with the hiring director. I thought the in-person interviews went well. I met with some members of the team that would potentially report to me, the director I'd talked with on the phone, and the VP of the division (who gave me positive feedback during his portion of the interview). I was really digging the company and the opportunity, and had high hopes that I'd get an offer.

Today I found out that they'd rejected me. The director offered to talk with me about it, and I took her up on it. She said that essentially the team didn't think I was a good fit, that I didn't seem that interested in the job. She said that she had sensed some hesitation on my part, and that I should think about what I project while interviewing in the future. However, she also seemed to say, several times, that she actually liked me for the position (at one point she said "I think we'd work well together"), but the rejection was based more on the team's perception, and since they are heavy into teamwork, valuing employee opinions, etc, it was a group decision, and the group decided "no". She's new to the company herself, and I believe she's being sincere, that the main issue was a seeming lack of passion or interest on my part. In fact, she encouraged me to look for other positions in the company, and repeatedly asked me to stay in touch with her.

I'm not a particularly demonstrative guy. In past interviews, I've come across as desperate, and this time I was really trying to project confidence and ease. I had told several of them that I wasn't actually trying to leave my current job, that I was happy, but that this opportunity came up (I was referred by a current employee) and looked interesting. I can see how I might have given the impression of being indifferent.

So now I'm thinking of trying to ask for another shot. Either by just sending her a well-written and compelling email describing my passion for the company and the team and asking her to share it with the group, or offering to talk with some of them again, or something else. I don't want to waste anyone's time. But I really like this company, and would like to try something a little off the beaten path to see if there's any room for them to reconsider.

On the other hand, I don't want to be creepy stalker job search guy who doesn't take "no" for an answer.

So. Is this just so crazy it might work? What might I do to be creative about asking for another chance?
posted by Gorgik to Work & Money (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Honestly, I'd say something like "I'm sorry I gave that impression! I'm actually incredibly excited about $Company, and I wish I had made that passion clearer during the interview. Please, do let me know if another position opens up that you think I could be a good fit for, because I would really love to work here." At this point, getting them to try and give you this job instead is a losing proposition, if for no other reason than they've probably offered it to someone else.
posted by KathrynT at 8:57 PM on August 23, 2012 [14 favorites]

Did they choose someone instead of you? Often not getting a job is less a rejection of you than an acceptance of someone else. You can be great, but if someone else is just a little bit better, then they might get picked. If they've already offered the position to someone else well, then, of course it won't work, the position is taken. Otherwise, if she's said she likes you, as long as you're not crazy about it, you can't get any more rejected than you are now, so go ahead and ask if you might be able to come in one more time.
posted by brainmouse at 9:00 PM on August 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

I don't think you want to work there. Not every employee is a fit for every company, that's just how it goes. That they'd take the time to have a director discuss the rejection with you feels like an amature move to me. They don't know what they want, and you're better off without them.
posted by colin_l at 9:01 PM on August 23, 2012 [3 favorites]

I second what brainmouse said. It's not actually that uncommon for a rejection discussion to take place depending on the size of the company and the position in my experience working in HR. That said, she liked you for the company just not that role. I think asking for a second shot at that role would be too much and I strongly discourage you from doing that since you've made a nice connection with her. The time to restate your "passion" for the role was when you had the rejection discussion with her. Now, that time has passed. Trust me when I say that companies will absolutely go for the employee they want to hire with gusto. I've been asked to convince people to come to our company over another several times (even though our company was very progressive and cared about the passion of the employees).

Look for other positions in the company. Connect with other employees (linkedin or networking), continue to research the company and the upcoming roles. Check news and updates on the company and when you see another opportunity, grab it. Staying in touch and looking for other opportunities is strongly advised in not only my opinion but hers.
posted by MyMind at 9:19 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Hmmm. You sound like you really liked this company and wanted this job, and I'm going to assume that your enthusiasm for it came through in your interviews. Surely. So it's puzzling that the director thought that you weren't all that interested.

It could also very well be that they had someone in mind already and that the interview process was something of a formality. (A very elaborate formality, in this case.) They might have needed a reason to turn you down, and "not being a good fit" is a vague, amorphous, all-purpose reason. Someone else was a better fit, possibly because they already had an "in." I have sat on hiring committees where this was very definitely the case. And I suspect that I have also occasionally been the beneficiary of such a process. It's not necessarily an underhanded thing, and it's not completely false: the ability to fit into a particular workplace culture has a lot to do with one's productivity and effectiveness as well as that of one's co-workers.

That said, if another opportunity does come up at this company, by all means, apply. For one thing, now that you're something of a known quantity, maybe you'll be the one with the "in."
posted by tully_monster at 10:32 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

One of the "team members" you interviewed with blocked you. The director lady sounds like she feels bad about it, but she can't alienate that person by going over his or her head.

Something similar actually happened to me once- the company I was interviewing at employed an arrogant, incompetent former co-worker of mine, and he apparently bad-mouthed me to them. The person recruiting me was obviously kind of puzzled and embarrassed, saying things like "I actually liked him a lot." Sounds like something similar went down here.

I say let it go. "Showing enthusiasm" is for children. Grown-ups hire professionals to do professional work.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:46 PM on August 23, 2012 [3 favorites]

Just as an addendum:

I'm not a particularly demonstrative guy.

I used to have a similar problem. The best thing to do is just ask questions. Come up with any stupid shit to get them talking about themselves. This is what people who want "enthusiasm" are actually asking for- for you to kiss their ass and pretend to be fascinated with who they are and what they do. It can feel a little degrading, but it works.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:49 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Adding to what drjimmy11 said, the secret to accomplishing that is to go in with the mindset that you are interviewing them to decide if you want to work there. In my experience, those interviews where I can sort of get control in the first 5 minutes and do most of the questioning tend to go much better than the traditional interview where they just fire questions at you, most of which are already answered on your resume.
posted by COD at 5:59 AM on August 24, 2012

I know someone who didn't get a job, and sent a letter to the hiring manager thanking them for the interview, and saying that they were still very interested, loved the company, and would love to know when another position opened up. 3 months later, the company fired the person who had originally gotten the position, and called my friend to offer them the job. Had they not sent that letter, the company would have likely opened up the position to new applicants.

So, send them a letter (a physical card, not email) thanking them for the opportunity to interview, and that you really loved the company and the environment there. Say that you'd love to be considered for any future positions, since you really want to be part of their team. There's no downside to this, but I can guarantee that 99% of people don't do this, and it will help to get them to remember you.
posted by markblasco at 7:40 AM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

I disagree with some of the comments suggesting that enthusiasm is for children. It's also for people who want to get hired. If I'm interviewing two candidates with similar qualifications and one can convince me that he or she really wants *this* job instead of *a* job, it's going to settle the tie. Sure, it may not always be completely genuine, but it shows that they're willing to put in effort to learn about the company (which it looks like you've done here) and it also suggests that they want to do this job, instead of it possibly being something they're settling for. People who genuinely want to be here tend to perform better than those who think they are settling, and I think that goes for most work environments.
posted by craven_morhead at 7:58 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Follow-up, if anyone's interested: The whole story is more complicated than I was able to post here (which is probably true for lots of askmes), so I can understand why some might think they don't know what they want, or why I should just walk away. I chose to send a carefully crafted follow-up email along the lines some suggested here. I heard yesterday that they've reconsidered and have now asked me to come back in for another round of interviews. Exciting stuff!
posted by Gorgik at 4:57 AM on September 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

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