As a recruiter you can always tell a lot about a candidate based on how they handle adversity. The toughest part of what we do is telling candidates the bad news that a company won’t be moving forward with them. How they react to this information is a myriad of responses. It ranges from anger and frustration to understanding and disappointment, and everything in between. Recently, I experienced a stellar example of a candidate’s response, that completely turned the tide for a job opportunity.

This candidate’s positive reaction to bad news turned lemons into lemonade. I had a very strong contender whom the Vice President of a client decided not to pursue after a few rounds of interviews. This person wrote a very gracious letter to this hiring manager thanking him for his time and wishing him long-term success. When this note was brought to me by this client, it gave me the opportunity to ask him to reconsider their candidacy. He agreed to re-engage, and he knocked the interview out of the park. An offer was quickly extended and accepted, and because of this person’s graciousness, they start their new job in July.

The long-term lesson is that every interaction is an opportunity to extend your network. Writing a note after being rejected for a job may lead to other prospects within a company, or a hiring manager’s network.