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Job seekers send out about 250 resumes, and companies have to sift through all these resumes. Highly qualified candidates may not get an interview, or even if they do they are rejected in favor of a slightly better match. This means rejection is often not because of a personal dislike. Can these "close but not quite" application be turned into networking opportunities?

From the applicant's perspective: If you got an interview, you get to talk to people at the company. Even if the company rejects you, individual people may still have liked you. Is there a nice way to reach out these interviewers post-rejection to build a network and otherwise stay in touch? Your goal is to build a meaningful, professional relationship with a moderate amount of people, not simply to get contacts.

From the companies employee's perspective: Work means you are busy, but you should still network! Fortunately, there is a shortlist of applicants with skills matching your career goals. They are a "bird in the hand", but then the company sends all but one of them a rejection letter. What is a good way to reach out to the disappointed applicants? Presumably, you have a better chance with the ones who you got to interview?

Reaching out post-rejection is a delicate process (in both directions). Doing so requires decoupling "rejection by a company" (which may simply be a matter of a "coin-flip" between two similar candidates) from a more personal social rejection. But presumably there is still a way to do it?

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    I have edited out all the links, your question does not need explanation of those topics, they are well known here. Unneccessary links make your question feel "spammier" than it should be.
    – nvoigt
    Commented Aug 5, 2023 at 5:41
  • LinkedIn is the (unfortunate) answer. Commented Aug 5, 2023 at 6:14
  • And LinkedIn shot it's own feet off when it started soliciting endorsements for skills people never claimed to have. It may be "necessary" these days, but I touch it as infrequently as I can and wash my hands afterward.
    – keshlam
    Commented Aug 5, 2023 at 8:49
  • How about creating a facebook page for this type of networking (if there is not one created yet) ? Commented Aug 5, 2023 at 15:38
  • You can also create a new website or mobile app for this type of networking, which may turn into a big commercial success and a really wonderful job for you. At this new website, people can share their experiences, and learn from other people's experience to improve their own job search skills. Commented Aug 5, 2023 at 15:42

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Generally the folks reading the applications are not particularly interested in adding random people to their networks. Unless you are particularly interesting, there's just no significant advantage to them in doing so.

Networking is badly oversold in any case. When it happens naturally due to shared interests it's a fine thing. But you can't manufacture it out of nothing. There are just too many people to try to turn every random encounter into something valued enough to make a difference. If you can find something to collaborate upon, even if it's just membership in the same user group, that may have some value. "I applied for a job at your company last year" is really not a basis for ongoing friendship.

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  • "When it happens naturally due to shared interests it's a fine thing." That's generally how I try to "network". Doing so is healthy for many reasons, not just getting a job. If there is no good strategy for getting a (first) job then having healthy shared-interest relationships may be the "less bad" strategy?
    – user86150
    Commented Aug 5, 2023 at 6:28
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    I don't grant the "if". But that's been addressed in other Questions
    – keshlam
    Commented Aug 5, 2023 at 8:39
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    @KevinKostlan but what is the "shared interest"? From the companies point-of-view staying in contact with someone who applied some time in the past, just isn't that compelling. The best thing for the company is to do what Hilmar suggests. If you think there is no good strategy for getting a first job, I'd ask a question about that specifically here Commented Aug 5, 2023 at 11:37
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    @mattFreake: "The companies point of view" isn't just the company. It is also the individuals who work at said company whose career goals may differ. If an employee really likes an interviewee (personally, natural match of interests, etc) but they don't fit the business unit, why not reach out?
    – user86150
    Commented Aug 5, 2023 at 18:35
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    The interviewer has spent the last week or three talking to candidates on a pure evaluation basis. They aren't looking for contacts; they are focused on finding the right person for that job. If you aren't a good fit, and aren't someone exceptional enough that they'd try to pass you to another manager, they have no reason to want to remain in contact. I meet people I like every day, including some in my profession; most aren't people I'd actively invest effort in staying in touch with.
    – keshlam
    Commented Aug 6, 2023 at 3:28
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In most good companies there will be no need for personal contact or small talk. If the candidate is great but not hired I would put a recommendation on their file (which many HR recruiting system actively ask for) and in my own personal list of interviewees (which has become quite large and valuable over the years). This way the candidate will be on top of the list, next time a related job opportunity pops up.

If I really like them but they are not a good fit for the open role, I typically shop the candidate around with other hiring managers.

I know a fair number of examples where candidates were hired this way: either for a different roles or on the 2nd or 3rd opening.

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I always keep the CVs of the candidates in the shortlist for the future. I tell them that I have done so and if there is a future vacancy I will contact them.

And thats what I do. Why advertise again and waste more time looking at the CVs again. I contact them first before I advertise the position.

But, why would I want to network with hundreds of people for no reason?

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