Q&A: Networking After Job Interview

Say you get turned down for a position at a company that you are very interested in. In the e-mail notifying you, they tell you were one of the top candidates, and they were very impressed with you. Is it poor etiquette to, in your reply, ask to job shadow the interviewer?

I guess is what I am asking is: What is the best way to stay connected or continue to network with that person?

Staying connected with hiring managers with whom you had a good rapport is smart networking. It’s also something that not a lot of people do for two reasons:

  1. Job seekers don’t know that it’s OK to ask to stay in contact with a hiring manager.
  2. Making the connection can be awkward.

In your situation, do not ask to job shadow the employer. Instead, connect with him/her on LinkedIn. Then ask if you can do an informational interview.

Asking to job shadow at a company where you were just turned down for a job might feel like you want to follow around an ex-boyfriend right after he dumped you.


Instead, call or e-mail the interviewer and ask if he/she would be willing to do a 20-minute informational interview with you.

One of the most helpful informational interviews I ever had was with a company that turned me down for a job — I didn’t even get an interview. I called the hiring manager and:

  • thanked her for reviewing my resume
  • emphasized that I was not asking them to reconsider me for the job
  • said I was still interested in working in their department
  • asked what were they looking for in a successful candidate

The manager told me the qualifications and experience of their top candidates. This information helped me know how to market myself to that company the next time they had an opening.

<< Related: What to Ask During an Informational Interview>>

Communications and marketing strategist Adaobi Okolue says to wait at least one month after your original job interview to ask for the informational interview. I agree with her.

“(The hiring manager) is in the middle of the hiring process for this new position and will probably have to devote time to train this new person,” Adaobi said. “The manager might not have the time to do an informational interview right away.”

Bottom line: Staying in contact with a person who turned you down for a job can be tricky. But it’s worth it.

The interesting thing about new hires is that most join a company with a 90-day probation period. If the new employee doesn’t work out for any reason, you want to be on the hiring manager’s mind. You want to be the first person he/she considers to replace that new hire.

Even if that position does not reopen, the hiring manager will keep you in mind for other positions. He/she might also recommend you to other managers at that company or other organizations.

Take the risk and reach out to that hiring manager. As long as you are respectful, professional and not too pushy, you will likely add a valuable contact to your network.

Keep looking up,

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