Chapter 6 – Plan B

What is a Plan B?

I have sat on many interview panels where a candidate has interviewed well but has been narrowly beaten by another person. In these situations I always say to myself – “I may have a vacancy for them later on.” Unfortunately when I call them up to give them the bad news they sometimes respond in a negative fashion and can even on occasions be abusive! I then say to myself – “I won’t have a vacancy for them at a later stage.” What I am trying to say here is that you should always have a PLAN B and understand that if you don’t get a particular job the first time around you may get more than you bargained for at a later date. We recently had a case where a person had purchased this information guide and followed my advice to the letter. Unfortunately they didn’t get the job the first time around but a few months later received a letter in the post offering them the chance to apply for another more senior position. Yes, you’ve guessed it; they got that job instead. They wrote to me thanking me for the following advice:

  • If you don’t get the job don’t give up. If you are contacted by telephone with the bad news, by all means sound disappointed but not disheartened.
  • Tell them (as hard as it may be) that you really enjoyed the interview and, if there are any more opportunities arising within the company in the future, could they let you know.
  • Also tell them that you’d still really like to work for them.

You may be saying – “Why would I want to work for them after they didn’t want me the first time?” but I always say that this kind of approach is counterproductive.

If someone is calling you to give you bad news they are expecting you to be disappointed and on some occasions annoyed. If they hear that you are positive and still upbeat in your response then they will remember you!

Interview Follow Up – The follow-up letter

Immediately after your interview it is a good idea to follow up with a ‘thank you’ letter. This will serve a number of purposes. To begin with it will keep you at the forefront of the interview panel’s minds and will also further demonstrate your thoughtful and appreciative nature.

Imagine if you were on the interview panel. At the end of the interview you have 3 people who are all as good as each other and could do a great job for you. The following day you receive a thank you letter from one of the 3 people. It tells you how much they enjoyed the interview and also reiterates the fact that they believe they would be a valuable asset to your company. Now who would you choose as the successful candidate?

On the following page I have provided you with a sample follow up letter. Use it as a guide for writing your own and try to address it personally to the chair of the interview panel.

Sample follow-up letter

Fiction Street,
Fiction Town,

Dear Mr Davies,


I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the interview that took place on the 11/01/2006. I very much enjoyed the experience and wanted to show my appreciation for you taking the time to see me.

I was impressed by the company’s vision and believe that I would be a great asset to your organisation. In the meantime I look forward to hearing from you, but if I am not successful on this occasion please would you consider me for any future vacancies.

Once again thank you.
Yours sincerely,
Mr R McMunn