When a Rejection Holds Promise

The job you want may not be a fit, but if the bosses like you, stay in touch.

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Suzanne Lucas
I had an internship for a large accounting firm. I applied for a regular position and did not even receive an interview for the one position availabl e. The start of the rejection E- mail seemed like a stock standard reply, but the second half spoke of specific things in my application, my strength as a candidate, and said that I should apply again for positions with the firm in the future.

Do you believe the Recruitment Partner was being genuine about me re-applying or just trying to apply salve to the wound? Logically, seeing as time is money, surely the Recruitment Partner would not waste time sending a quasi-personalized email, but still I do not really want to latch onto false hope. If I am not a suitable "fit" for the firm , then I understand what can you do if the hole is round and you are a square peg? However , I do not really know what I should do in this scenario.

I believe you are in a unique situation that is probably causing most people's jaws to drop. While others are complaining that their applications aren't being acknowledged—even after the interview stage—you got a personalized E-mail without even an interview. 

Take the partner at his word. You weren't a fit for the one position that was open, but he believes you will be a fit for future positions. This is a wise person. Finding the right people can be a challenge and so he is making sure to keep potential hires close. You've been working there, albeit as an intern, which has given everyone a chance to see how you work and what you are capable of. The end result of this is this partner can see you in this firm. 

Does this mean you will absolutely get a future job there? No. Does it mean you should keep in contact? Absolutely. Should you call weekly asking if a job has opened up? No, that will put you in the do-not-hire-under-any-circumstances folder. 

Go get another job. You definitely don't want to wait around for this one to open up, and any such waiting will make you less desirable to the firm. But, the partner took the time to write a personalized E-mail. Trust me, that doesn't happen very often. You have potential here. It may take a couple of years, but by keeping in contact and updating them on what you are doing, your name will come up when there's an open position you'd fit. 

I know not getting the job is a bummer, but you've at least received valuable and positive feedback that you are a great candidate, for another job.

Suzanne Lucas has nine years of Human Resources experience, most of which has been in a Fortune 500-company setting. She holds a Professional in Human Resources Certificate from the Society for Human Resource Management. She blogs at Evil HR Lady.