Q. I was interviewed by a company in July. I went back on three different dates for several interviews. The company said it had many candidates applying for this one role. I found out in August that I didn’t get the job. I am crushed and angry. I spent so much time with this company and even shared some of my past work with them. What should I do about getting my work samples back?
A. There are two issues to address here. Let’s start with your anger. It’s normal to feel disappointed and angry if you don’t receive a job offer, especially after you interviewed multiple times. You must have a been a final contender.
You can’t, however, let your anger fester, or you may bring those feelings to your next interview. No one wants to hire a hostile and bitter candidate. I have interviewed candidates who have trouble shaking feelings of resentment and it’s not good. You can share and vent these feelings with your spouse, partner, friend, therapist, cat, dog, or parakeet. But you shouldn’t let them out during events like networking meetings or interviews.
Now, regarding your work samples. When sharing work samples, it’s best to make high-quality copies in advance. You can leave the copies with the company and retain the originals. If you have only originals to share, taking them with you after the interview is probably prudent. If the company is still in possession of your work samples, I would suggest e-mailing a quick note asking them to be left at the reception desk, if possible. Or if you are comfortable with the company mailing them, that might be another option.
On a related note, I have had clients reconsider runner-ups. Ensure that all of your communication with this company is positive and professional. On more than one occasion, I have observed a client reconnecting with a candidate from a past search for a role (maybe even a different role) within the company. Burning bridges is rarely smart.