You find an internal listing. You prepare for the interview and nail it. There’s no way you’re not going to be chosen for this position. After all, you fit and surpass every single criterion listed on the job description. Oh, and your mom’s first cousin knows the hiring manager’s best friend. You’re a shoe-in, right? Well, not always.
Often times no matter how perfect you are for that job or promotion, you get the dreaded from email or call from HR telling you the hiring manager liked you, but went with another candidate. There are a lot of reasons this could happen. You might not have been as perfect as you thought, or they might already have had someone slotted for the job.
After the initial disappointment, you might think to yourself, or even say out loud to colleagues, “I heard the hiring manager is a terrible boss. I would never want to work for someone like that, anyway.” This is an example of the ice cream syndrome.
The ice cream syndrome is when a child is told they can’t have what they want, and they respond with “Well, I didn’t want it, anyway.” In simplest terms, it means being a sore loser. Instead of going down this path, put a smile on your face and simply say, “Thank you for the opportunity.” (Click here to tweet about the ice cream syndrome.)
Keep these tips in mind:
Enhance your reputation — don’t diminish it
If you’ve searched for a job, you know it’s a frustrating and difficult process. Waiting to hear from HR is enough to make a sane person go crazy. When you finally get the call, the news might not be what you hope to hear.
Although your first inclination is to be short with the person, stop yourself. Instead, say “Thank you for getting back to me, and please think of me in the future.” In a corporate environment, everything you do affects your reputation. If you’re ungrateful, it’s more likely you’ll make a bad name for yourself.
Don’t aggravate recruiters, impress them. Make sure you present yourself in a positive light at all times. Your reputation precedes you, so give yourself every advantage.
Losing graciously may eventually get you a future opportunity
You didn’t get the job, and someone else with less experience won out. This is the corporate world. Get used to it. Although they have nothing to do with the ultimate decision, internal recruiters are the gatekeepers.
If you make friends with a recruiter during the interview process, they may be able to present you with opportunities in the future. Even if you didn’t get the job you wanted, consider sending the hiring manager a thank you email and ask them to keep you in mind for the future. Few do this. Demonstrate to the manager you’re someone who learns from every opportunity and continues to look to the future.
Show your company they missed out on someone great
If someone else on your team gets the job over you, congratulate them. This may not be easy, but managers will take note. Being a team player says a lot about a person and ultimately helps you succeed.
Skills and knowledge are important, but attitude goes a long way. Demonstrating to a recruiter or hiring manager you’re grateful for every opportunity may lead to more opportunities in the future. Losing is part of life. Do it right and opportunity will knock at your door.
Lainee Beigel is the founder of Career Esquire. She assists professionals with networking and interviewing skills, as well as career path guidance.