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When No Means Yes in a Job Hunt: 3 Ways It Can Help

Recently StartWire’s job application status update features have received a lot of attention from media outlets, including TechCrunch, Mashable, and Fortune. We’re glad we’re not the only ones who think finding out what’s happening to your job application is a good idea!

But we’ve also heard from several employers that they’d rather not send rejections – and from job seekers that they’d rather not know when they’ve been rejected.

Whether you want to know when you’ve received a “no” or not is a matter of personal preference. Here are three reasons why we think a “no” is better than no answer at all.

  1. A “no” response brings closure.In your dating life (whether past or present), have you ever spent hours waiting for the phone to ring? Even if it never did…Knowing you aren’t in the running stops this waiting process; it makes it harder to say yes to other opportunities that come along while you’re waiting. You’ve just gotten permission to move on.
  1. A “no” response gives you a nudge to ask in a different way.As we mentioned last week, a recent Talent Function infographicin The Wall Street Journal says 25 out of 100 job applications received by companies are actually read by employers. The rest are screened out by applicant tracking systems when they don’t include the necessary keywords – or received after an interview “short list” is developed.If your application has only a 25% chance of being read, shouldn’t you make sure it gets the attention that it deserves? While the job is likely filled by the time you receive your rejection – it doesn’t mean you can’t apply for another job with the same company.

    Consider your “no” your walking papers: Dare yourself to reach out in other ways in the future. Use StartWire’s “Get Referral” feature to see LinkedIn and Facebook connections that can help you. And let them know when you’ve applied for your next job.

    Don’t know anyone? Say hi to a recruiter on social media. Why? Most companies encourage REAL people to respond to user comments on social media. Here’s an interesting stat: 95% of Facebook Wall posts are not by brands (organizations). Only 13% of Facebook users say they post about brands they like. So when you do post up a message on a company wall expressing interest in learning more about jobs – you will stand out and it is more likely you’ll hear back. (In a good way.)

  2. A “no” response gives you the opportunity to ask for more feedback. What can you do to improve your candidacy for next time?

Asking for feedback isn’t fun. But it can be clarifying. Was the job filled by someone who had more experience than you do? Did the employer assume you weren’t interested enough because you didn’t send a cover letter? Were you over-qualified or under-qualified?

All of these responses can actually be helpful because they can show you what to do next time. And in some – very rare but not unheard of cases – they can actually turn a “no” into a “yes.”

I recently watched a candidate who had just been turned down for a job at a Fortune 100, send a thank you note to her interviewer. “Yes,” said the candidate, “I know I look over-qualified for this particular aspect of the job, but the job would have helped me learn _______ which I haven’t done before. I was excited about that.”

That employer reconsidered. They invited the candidate in, and they gave her an offer two days later.

You just never know.

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