No one likes rejection. Yet, the hiring manager only can choose one individual for the position…unless multiple positions were announced. You get a notice in USAJobs telling you that someone else was selected for the job. It wasn’t you! You believe you have done everything right. You are disappointed. You notice the hiring manager on the elevator. You have rehearsed your question. Nervous, you are ready to ask her why she didn’t select you.
Not so fast! You will need to remain professional. Wish her a nice day and exit the elevator with a smile. You get to your desk and have a seat. Don’t log on just yet! Reflect! Pose the following questions to yourself:
- Is it a possibility the selectee was more qualified?
- How well did I perform on the PBI?
- Did I engage in negative narratives?
- Does my personality fit in the cultural framework of the department?
- Black listed by the decision makers?
You could be an outstanding candidate, but another prospect was more closely in line with what they were looking for.
The P word!
As I mentioned in a previous article, the P word is not a nice word. Politics! Pre-selection! Ill-fated words within the workplace.
As much as I love being a government employee, sometimes the government gets dirty. Sometimes, well…lots of times hiring managers know from the moment the position is announced who they were going to hire.
Unfortunately, there’s almost nothing you can do when this happens. If you didn’t get the position, it could be because you never had the chance in the first place. A pre-selectee, conscious of the charade was simply waiting for the process to take its course.
Often times around the virtual water cooler, there is chatter when a position announcement emerges from USA jobs. Here are some signs when it looks dirty:
- You are told: Don’t waste your time applying. That job belongs to Mickey Mouse
- A strong internal or external candidate that they probably knew
- A relative, a friend, a friend’s friend was promised the position
- The hiring manager owes a favor
- Behind-the-scenes factors at play
- Other selectee might have a leg up on a personal level (same college as the hiring manager or of a senior level staffer)
- An inexperienced Intern or Fellow who excels at Excel
- Manager heard negative gossip about you
According to USA Today some hiring managers will never tell you why you didn’t get the job. Regardless, the key is to act as professional as possible even when you are disappointed maybe even angry. You don’t want to burn bridges. You do want to regroup and do the following:
- Use it as a learning experience
- Practice the areas of responses that didn’t go well so you can be better at your next interview
- Conduct a reconnoiter to ensure the P word is not a factor (sometimes difficult to decipher)
- Gracefully move on to other opportunities displaying your worth
- Reinvent yourself in your current position
- Keep your head up high!
This article is based solely on the author’s opinions and experiences.
June Bridges Cox is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.