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I interviewed for my dream job last December. I had 7 interviews, one with nearly every member of the organization. They all went exceptionally well and I received great feedback. They ended up going with someone else whose experience was slightly more relevant. I was also missing some programming skills. They said they are growing very fast and will likely have more opportunities in the next year. The hiring manager has kept in contact with me since the rejection, even saying at one point "we might reach out again about a job". I have signed up for some online programming courses to be a more valuable asset to this company or one like it in the future.

Is it appropriate to email them and let them know I am taking these steps or should I trust them when they say they will reach back out with another opportunity? I am also trying to find more, non annoying ways to stay on their radar. Any ideas?

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    My advice: Please don't lock in only one target. Always look for other companies which would fit you. – scaaahu Mar 30 '18 at 4:24
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    "The hiring manager has kept in contact with me" What does this mean? The occasional email? Just a single polite post-rejection mail? December is only four months ago. – Lilienthal Mar 30 '18 at 6:56
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Is it appropriate to email them and let them know I am taking these steps

Yes, that's appropriate. It sounds like the contact you had was leaving the door open to future contact. That said, I would keep a few things in mind:

  1. Be specific in your replies. "Hey, you got any jobs?" may just come across as annoying. If you can reference specific topics you talked about, that's better.
  2. Be ready to show some progress. You mentioned you were perceived as short on a certain skill set but you're taking classes. Mention that.
  3. Be ready to discuss what you've been doing in the meantime. If it was JUST taking the classes, because they were full time, that's great. But were you also working? If you simply come across as if you've been sitting around doing nothing for several months, that won't reflect well on you.

Keep the email as short and to the point as possible. Busy people don't like being faced with an unexpected wall of text. If you can manage those three points in one or two sentences, that's great. Three or four paragraphs will probably just get a delete.

Also, in a more general sense, it's best to consider this reach-out as part of your larger strategy of targeting this employer, versus this reach-out being your ONLY contact with them. You hinted at this here:

I am also trying to find more, non annoying ways to stay on their radar. Any ideas?

This will be specific to the employer. The key here is to learn about their hiring channels and use them. Do they have a recruiting page? Keep an eye on it. Do they go to recruiting events at the school where you're taking classes? Stop by and talk to them. Do they have a linkedin profile for the company? Follow it. Is your contact there on linkedin? Add them as a connection. Linkedin (or other professional networking sites) can be a great way to "stay on the radar" without being annoying. Connect with the people who you know at the company, and then make posts that show what you're learning and what you're accomplishing.

I really like seeing a candidate who is making relevant posts and talking about their progress or skills development, but you need to make sure it's relevant and doesn't come across as self-centered or braggy. It's fine to talk about projects you're doing in your classes, and if you see articles or blog posts you learned something from, link to them and post a few sentences describing why you liked them.

Finally, keep your eyes open. It's great to have a dream job and a dream employer, but there are probably lots of other great jobs out there. Going after other opportunities, while staying in touch with your dream employer, can be a great way to contribute to an organization, develop your skills, and maybe find a different dream worth chasing - versus being fixated on a theoretical "dream job" that may never materialize.

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Since the hiring manager has kept in contact with you even after you didn't get the job, it's probably a good idea to send him a very short email every 2 or 3 months.

The idea is to send something brief every once in a while so he knows you're interested and he knows how to reach you, but not to send stuff so often that he feels spammed.

  • Thanks Dan. Is it appropriate to mention that I am working on beefing up my resume with the programming classes? – Christy Lewis Mar 29 '18 at 22:04
  • That's your call. Try to show actions, not words. "I'm going to take this class" isn't nearly as powerful as "I took this class". – Dan Pichelman Mar 29 '18 at 22:41
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One good - no, great - way to keep on the radar is to go to company events. I'm not sure if your company has these events, but most companies have free events - sponsored meetups, information sharing things, demos, appearances at booths and what not.

Turning up shows commitment to the company and gets you talking to the representatives, who are normally important enough that their opinions are valued. I've had several friends get jobs this way, and been informally told that some new hires were made just because those people kept turning up to events.

If you're interested enough in a company to make this not-insubstantial commitment, chances are you're going to be a good hire.

Do they have twitter/facebook pages? Engage (positively) with those.

If you aren't sure if they have any events on the horizon, reaching out to your contact and asking about future events is a great way to stay on the radar and show commitment.

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    Were these non-profits? In most for-profits this would be stalkerish, not impressive, behaviour. It might work sometimes (for all the wrong reasons) but bypassing a company's hiring practices is not a great thing to do. – Lilienthal Mar 30 '18 at 6:55
  • @Lilienthal if it works, why does it matter what the reasons were? And this was both profit &non-profits. – bharal Mar 30 '18 at 17:23
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    Because in my experience this will not work as you're attending events under false pretences. And the issue with still being hired is that you're joining a company or team where the managers are evidently bad at hiring, which means you're likely to end up in a dysfunctional environment. This is something you'd do if you're desperate for a job, not if you're trying to find the right next step in a career. Managers will usually also be able to tell that you're desperate. – Lilienthal Mar 30 '18 at 19:47
  • @Lilienthal you're attending the event to get a job. You're also learning more about the company, and showing a defined interest in the company. I don't see how a manager would be considered "bad at hiring" because of hiring someone with an interest in a company - I want my staff to be excited about what my company is doing, I want them to spend all their time thinking about how to expand the reach of my company. People who don't care about a company vision or direction won't do that - they just turn up 9-5. – bharal Mar 30 '18 at 21:15

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