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Advice for the Silver Medal (Winner) Loser

I just spoke with a good, lifelong friend who is battling unemployment. My message was one of encouragement. Mary had been a respected worker, colleague, and dedicated employee prior to COVID unexpectedly ripping through her employer’s business. Mary and my buddy John are not alone—there are thousands of you.

After a recent “really great” interview, Mary received the “congrats, you took second place” email again. I had some sage advice for my friend:

  • Differentiate yourself from all of the other “silver” award losers.
  • Send the company representative a thank you for the consideration and opportunity to apply email, handwrite the note better yet.
  • Reiterate what you liked about their position and how you could add value.
  • Keep the letter upbeat and sincere.
  • Let them know you are open to consideration if another opportunity arises within their company.

Consider this that you may not have thought about… When a candidate that has been chosen for a position does not pan out, the company just resumes a new search. They rarely reach back out to the people they have already rejected, no matter how much they liked them. They just don’t, and it is understandable as they are a bit sheepish of the mistake they were a part of. (We should have hired our silver candidate!). Staying in touch with a note as I mentioned above keep that conversation open and eliminate their hesitancy when it comes to you. Your exceptional follow-up skills will create a positive relationship.

The person the company selects may not work out, may take a counter, or even quit. Who knows? How many rejected candidates take the time to say “Thank-you”? It sucks looking for a job. I encourage you to embrace your unemployment and search for ways to differentiate yourself.

Written by: Mark Rowbottom

President, ROW

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