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 assignment is informing an interviewee that they were not selected for a job.

The most common responses the hiring manager hates 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 may be left unanswered for many reasons. But typically they remain a mystery due to the legal department’s risk mitigation policies related to sensitive topics such as discrimination.

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

How to implement the High Road Approach

The High Road approach is simple and quite profound, considering it is the road least traveled. By using this methodology, you continue to develop a networking relationship with the decision-maker. After 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 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

Stand out by taking the High Road

Consider two crucial reasons this method helps our clients toward success:

  1. The High Road Approach Establishes A Path For Future Opportunities. When our clients take the High Road, many end up getting the job! Many times, the employer’s first choice washes out during the offer negotiation or probationary stage of onboarding. If the connection is left open, the employer may be so impressed by your sophistication and political savvy that they change their mind and offer the position to you anyway. After all, you did interview for the job!
  2. The High Road Approach Expands Your Sphere of Influence. Our clients often receive referrals for totally different opportunities. These may be 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.

An additional High Road Approach goes a step further.

Find out who got the job and take them to lunch. You have more in common than you realize. For one, 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. You may be surprised where that new road takes you.

By: Dan Resendes

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