Four Reasons to Follow Up After Not Getting a Promotion

Sculpture of depressed figureGetting kicked to the curb hurts, doesn’t it? No matter who is doing the rejecting of you, no matter the rationale (even if the person doing the kicking is completely right), it just makes you feel like: a) burying your head and having a full-blown pity party, or b) completely trashing the person with a few choice words.

Obviously, a tiny bit of that is not unreasonable. After all, rejection smarts! But think long-term — what do those responses really gain you?

I’ve talked on this blog about my husband’s journey from being a welder to becoming a supervisor. After deciding to try for a supervisory position at his company, he was shot down on his first attempt. Of course, he wasn’t happy about the fact that he didn’t get the job, but he wanted to advance in his career. Spinning his wheels day after day wouldn’t help him achieve that objective, so he took a different course of action:

He made an appointment to talk with the hiring manager.

As a result of choosing to follow up on the rejection, several positive things happened:

  1. He got more face time with a key decision-maker for that plant. What a great way to build on a professional relationship by giving the hiring manager more of an opportunity to get to know him!
  2. He found out what exactly were the hesitations about his candidacy. Who better to give him that information than the person who ultimately decided to reject him? And, instead of discounting the hiring manager’s opinion, my husband really listened to what was being said.
  3. He was able to fully share his goal of being more of an asset to the company. Notice that my husband didn’t make it all about his personal goals. He stayed company-focused in the conversation.
  4. He got the buy-in needed to support his career aspirations. As a result of that conversation, the hiring manager provided the opportunities necessary for my husband to grow his strengths and limit his weaknesses.

It still took a couple years before he landed that promotion, but that one act literally set him on the path he needed to be on to achieve his career goal.

Could it have turned out differently? Sure, the hiring manager could have been a jerk to my husband. But think about it: if that would have happened, it would have been something worth knowing about the culture of the organization. Decisions on a personal level (e.g. whether or not the company was the best fit for him) could have been made based on that knowledge.

Either way, it’s a win. Smarter career choices are easier to make when you understand the dynamics of a situation.

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