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Bouncing Back Better – The Strategic Win Of Being A Silver Medalist In Job Hunting

Written by: Natalie Gray, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Natalie Gray

Feeling disheartened after missing out on a job you were almost sure you'd get? You're not alone. In the competitive world of job hunting, being the runner-up—or what's known in the industry as a "Silver Medalist"—isn't necessarily a bad thing. It could be your secret weapon for future success. In this blog post, we'll delve into the concept of 'Why Being a Silver Medalist in Job Interviews Could Be Your Winning Strategy', and a game-changer in your career journey.

A mann with medal.

What does it mean to be a silver medalist?

Imagine acing your interviews, discussing salary expectations, and even discussing start dates, only to receive that dreaded call: "We've chosen another candidate." While it's a tough pill, you can still read the signs. You may actually be a ‘Silver Medalist’, a term used to describe highly rated candidates who narrowly missed the top spot. Often, the decision might have been between you and one other candidate. There's always a chance they might not accept the offer, leaving the door open for you.

The silver lining: Opportunities await

Being a Silver Medalist can open doors within the same company. Here are some scenarios:

  • The 1st place candidate rejects the offer: leaving the door open for you.

  • Shared Profile: Recruiters may share your profile with other departments.

  • Contract Roles: You could be offered a temporary position until something permanent opens up.

  • Location & Grade: Opportunities may arise in different locations or job grades.

  • Future Opportunities: Stay optimistic, as companies often revisit strong candidates for new roles that emerge later on. There could be ongoing discussions about adding a second position within the team you applied to. Additionally, if you were narrowly outperformed by an internal candidate, this frequently leads to a vacancy elsewhere in the organization—a backfill position. In such cases, your profile might already be on the shortlist for consideration!"

(note: as my role of Head of Talent Acquisition in Big Tech Cisco, Facebook and I have personally witnessed all of the above scenarios)

The unexpected upside

Being a Silver Medalist can sometimes lead to even better opportunities than you initially applied for. You could be kept in 'reserve' for future roles, and you might even receive a call offering you a more senior position. This unexpected upside showcases the importance of staying positive and open to future possibilities.

Signs the opportunity isn't over

  • The job listing isn't immediately taken down after your rejection.

  • The hiring manager connects with you on LinkedIn.

  • You receive a personalized call outlining your interview strengths.

  • The recruiter suggests you connect again in a month.

These signs indicate that the door may be open, and you may still have opportunities within the organization.

Your game plan for success

  • Ask Open-Ended Questions: Encourage more thoughtful responses during interviews. This shows you're a good listener and more likely to be better at collaborating in diverse teams

  • Stay Connected: Keep in touch with the recruiter and hiring manager. Sending thank-you emails to the recruiter, organizer, and hiring manager and connecting with them where possible can keep you at the top of your mind for future opportunities. Ask the recruiter what the best way to stay connected for the future is, and keep your eyes open for adjacent roles. Please inquire if there was one thing you could have done differently. Sometimes, a recruiter will offer a top tip or simply tell you it was between you and an internal candidate, and you just got pipped at the post.

  • Feedback: Always ask for feedback to identify areas for improvement. This shows your commitment to personal growth and keeps the lines of communication open.

Remember, feeling like the process was going well wasn't a misjudgment on your part. Securing the position of a Silver Medalist, especially when competing against six, seven, eight, or even ten top candidates, is an achievement in itself. It's a testament to your capabilities and something truly worth celebrating. Don't let the experience get you down; instead, view it as the significant accomplishment that it is.

Final thoughts

Being a Silver Medalist is not a setback; it's a setup for something even better. The journey to your dream job is filled with learning experiences and opportunities for growth. Remember, it might have been a close call between you and another candidate, and circumstances can change quickly in the corporate world. Keep your options open, maintain a positive and proactive approach, and your dream job might be just a phone call away!

By embracing the role of a Silver Medalist, you position yourself as a resilient, adaptable, and persistent candidate—invaluable qualities in today's job market. So, take heart, Silver Medalists. Your time to shine is coming; when it does, you'll be ready to seize the opportunity with both hands.

Connect with me on LinkedIn and visit my website for more info!

Natalie Gray Brainz Magazine

Natalie Gray, Executive Contributor, Brainz Magazine

Natalie Gray is a skilled Leadership & Career Development Coach; her unique no-nonsense approach helps clients get clear on their vision, take action, and stay committed to progress. Natalie uses her extensive senior leadership experience in fast-paced global corporations to help executives succeed in their business and career goals. Following ICF endorsed professional coach training, Natalie draws on her talent for helping others connect the dots in both their personal and professional life, enabling clients to move forward with confidence, clarity, and a holistic strategy.

With 15 years of experience in innovative, growth-driven organizations such as Facebook and Cisco, Natalie is ideal for drawing on her business knowledge, extensive training, and natural communications skills. With Natalie’s understanding of growing and excelling in complex organizational structures, she helps clients see their opportunities from a different perspective, drawing upon her industry insights to uplevel her clients.

In short, Natalie brings out the best in people, ensures revitalized progress, and helps clients get to clear, measurable results.



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