You had your heart set on that particular promotion. After all, your years of experience should have automatically made you the top candidate, right? You probably felt like it was your right, your destiny - you deserved it. So how should you react when you are passed over? What do you do when another candidate is receiving the congratulations and shaking hands with the boss? Do you storm into your managerís office? Do you vow to do exactly what is written in your job description and not a muscle more?
While your pain and frustration is understandable, you need to shake it off and prepare yourself for the next time a promotional opportunity rolls around. Donít crawl into a corner to sulk. Here are the steps you need to take to get back on track:
Offer sincere congratulations to the successful candidate. This is especially true if they have now become your new boss. Donít let your pride get in the way. What happens if you choose to show your displeasure? You could be first in line on the way out the door - involuntarily. By congratulating the winner youíre showing that you are a team player and can be gracious in the face of adversity.
Reach out to the interview panel. Whether itís an interview panel or several different interviewers over a period of time, reach out for feedback on your interview. Remember talking about how ďhumbleĒ you were during the interview? Whether it was actually true or not, use the humble approach when you reach out to the interviewers. Do not be confrontational. Ask for a meeting to discuss your interview. Most importantly, have your questions prepared. Walking in and asking, ďso what did I do wrong?Ē will not work.
Questions can include:
- Can you tell me about the skill qualifications of the successful candidate? Donít make it personal. Stick to the skills.
- Can you tell me what you traits/skills you were personally looking for in the successful candidate? Keep in mind that each interviewer may have a different take on what success looks like.
- Were there any questions that I did not answer that could use further clarification? Another candidate may have been selected; however, at least you will know what to expand on the next time.
- Do you have any suggestions on what I can work on to prepare myself for the next promotional opportunity? Keep in mind that some hiring managers may not be comfortable discussing the interview. Do not take it personally. Get the answers where you can and learn from them.
An important point to remember is the decision may not have anything to do with you. There may be someone already tagged to fill the position. In some companies, the interview process is just a formality. Stay on the ďhigh roadĒ with your response and you will be in a better position the next time a promotional opportunity presents itself.