We have all heard many numbers related “rules of thumb” throughout our lives. To help write this post, I tried to look up a marketing ratio I’ve heard through the years- That’s that it takes an average of six contacts with a customer to make a sale. (According to Google Answers, the only research one could find that supports this particular number is a data piece from the Direct Marketing Association in the 1960’s). Regardless of the source, I have often used this ratio to discourage job seekers from crossing a highly desired company off their wish list once they interview for a position, but are not selected. Far too often, once a candidate finds out that a hiring decision will go in another direction, he or she mistakenly eliminates that company or agency from their target list and focuses elsewhere. Here again is where need to understand what sales and marketing professionals must learn in order to succeed. It often takes several contacts to land a sale. Just ask any sales professional you know how much success he would have had if he never followed up with potential customers that turned him down once.
The next time you’re a runner-up at for a job or company you really wanted, why not let the company or hiring manager know how impressed you were with the job, company and opportunity? Then add that you want to stay in touch to learn firsthand about future opportunities. How can you do that? Well, after a turn down, rather than being angry or feeling rejected, try drafting a letter similar to this:
I want to express my gratitude to you as well as (Company Name) for allowing me the opportunity to interview for the position of (XX). I came away from the experience with a highly positive impression of you, your company and the staff I met. The work you are doing is something I would love to be a part of at some point in my career. (Expand on particulars).
Obviously, I was disappointed by not receiving an offer. I wish you and the candidate you selected the best in a successful transition. I also want to try and stay in contact with you. Based on my impression of you and your company, I am certain you will have continued success and growth. With this most surely will come new opportunities. I hope that by staying in contact, I will be able to position myself to take advantage of future opportunities.
I can cite countless instances where sending such a letter has resulted in a subsequent hire-sometimes even for the position one originally interviewed for, when an unforeseen development happened to the selected candidate. Each time I present the concept of such a follow up letter to a group, members can also cite examples where they have seen it succeed.
Employers know when they have had a difficult selection and enjoy knowing that their company has made a positive impression. Plus, the next time a need arises, it saves much time and expense to it with a candidate already screened and interviewed. Sending such a letter offers a great chance for a win-win result.