The High Road Approach

A hiring manager, 3rd party recruiter or HR professional encounters many difficult assignments. Other than letting an employee go, the most difficult among these assignments is informing an interviewee that they were not selected for the job opportunity.

The most common responses they hate to hear are often the most common questions an interviewee wants to ask:

  • Why was I not selected?
  • What did I do wrong in the interview?
  • Do you have any advice for me to do better?
  • What was the exact reason why you chose a different applicant?

These questions are often left unanswered for many reasons, but typically due to the legal department’s risk mitigation policies related to sensitive topics such as discrimination.

Stand out by taking the high road 

  • Why was I not selected?
  • What did I do wrong in the interview?
  • Do you have any advice for me to do better?
  • What was the exact reason why you chose a different applicant?

Understanding this dilemma, The Barrett Group created an innovative methodology for helping clients navigate this exact situation. We call this “The High Road Approach.”

Consider these two crucial reasons this method has helped our clients toward success:

  1. The High Road Approach Establishes A Path For Future Opportunities. Many clients who take the high road approach end up being selected for the position if the employer’s first choice washes out during the offer negotiation or probationary stage of onboarding. From time to time the employer is so impressed by your sophistication and political savvy that they change their mind and offer the position to you anyway.
  2. The High Road Approach Expands Your Sphere of Influence. Our clients often receive referrals for totally different opportunities either within the same company or a job located in the interviewer’s sphere of influence. These referrals are to jobs in both the unpublished and published job markets.

How to implement the High Road Approach

The approach to use is simple and quite profound, considering it is the road least traveled. By using this methodology, you can develop a networking relationship with the decision maker. Upon establishing this relationship, your connection may eventually volunteer the answers to the questions you wanted to ask.

The approach begins with a simple letter sent by email or traditional mail:

Hi <Name of person in the hiring process assigned to deliver the news>,

Although I am disappointed for not being selected for the opportunity, congratulations on filling the position!

In the interest of staying connected, I will send you a LinkedIn invite. I have learned that amazing opportunities can come from networking relationships, contacts shared and from professional associations.

Please feel free to reach out to me if you would like assistance with anything or just to stay in touch.

I will circle back around to you in a few weeks to see how you are doing.


Your first and last name
(xxx) xxx-xxxx

An additionnal High Roach Approach goes a step further.

Find out who got the job and take them to lunch. You have more in common than you realize- you obviously wanted the same position. Turn the disappointment of not getting the job into a networking opportunity.

“I can think of at least five clients who ended up landing a job because they scheduled this lunch,” noted Waffles Pi NatuschVice President of Client Services and Client Concierge at The Barrett Group.

When you find yourselves in a position of not getting the job of your choice, make the most of it. Take the High Road Approach and you may be surprised where that new road takes you.

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