But then at some point whether a month, six months or a year or more later things change.
We may be at a different place in life, gained more insight or experienced a change which makes that original opportunity seem like a viable option now.
Great – now what?
It isn’t like you can call them up and say, “Hey, I changed my mind, you don’t suck nearly as bad as I originally thought – you can hire me now.”
Well, you could but I would not suggest it.
So how do you handle it when you want to re-approach a past opportunity?
First – be prepared. There are several avenues this could lead:
- They don’t want you anymore
- They don’t trust you
- They are willing to talk to you
- They are overjoyed that you finally reached your senses
There is a chance that you missed the boat. Sorry cupcake, you snooze you lose.
Be prepared for that rejection. If it happens then be professional and thank them for the original offer and the opportunity to reach out and connect again. Introduce the idea of staying in contact to see if the waters might be lukewarm or if they have frozen over.
You may be met with the sense of distrust, as in why are you just now coming back? Did you try something else and we are a runner up, second best your last option?
This can be tricky because you do not want to come across as any of the above but you also do not want to swoon over them so much that you seem desperate.
In the cases of them being distrustful or at least willing to talk to them be prepared to explain yourself. Think about it as going back to someone you dated before but didn’t realize how great they were until you broke up with them. Do you think telling them your reason for coming back is because “I was an idiot” is going to be enough? I don’t think so.
Be prepared to open up a little and be a little vulnerable. You may take some shots and have to defend yourself, but remember, this is what you want so it is worth it.
If something was happening in your life at the time that prevented you from accepting the position then let them know – without going into too many personal or graphic details. This is still a professional transaction.
Perhaps you were tending to a sick relative or going through a personal issue. Keep it brief, relevant and short. I completely sympathize if you were taking care of a relative with cancer, it has stricken too many of my loved ones; however, as a hiring manager I don’t want to relive it.
Maybe you took another job. Oh boy, that can open the door to the arrows being thrown. Think back to the girl thing again – you dumped this one for another and now you are coming back? Oh, there are going to be some digs there. It all comes down to the same thought: how can I trust that you will stay?
Be prepared to answer that question. Yes, you thought the other job was a better fit; however, when you were fully immersed you realized that the philosophy of the company was in direct conflict with what you were told. Be honest but also respectful to the last position.
If they are overjoyed that you are back do not be smug. Be prepared to accept graciously.
But the question is how do you approach it to begin with?
Make the contact. They are not mind readers for crying out loud. And you rejected them, remember? They are not going to keep coming back checking on you to continue to get rejected.
Reach out by phone or email to approach the idea of getting together for a short call or cup of coffee. Test the waters to see if they will even talk to you.
Let them know where you are and what you want. You want to go forward with the opportunity, if it is still available and you are still a candidate.
The opportunity may have passed but do not let that discourage you. You found that another opportunity wasn’t the right fit and they may find the person they brought in instead of you is not the right fit – in time.
Keep the door open. Get to know them and the company. It is like building that friendship to earn their trust to take them out again. Being a one shot and done does not demonstrate your sincerity in wanting to join them.
You may be disappointed at the present moment, but just as things changed for you it may change for them, too.
Remember – you will never know unless you ask so put your ego aside and make the call.
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Certified Professional Resume Writer
Career Polish, Inc.