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After sending a follow-up e-mail, two weeks after the first interview i've gotten the following answer:

Thanks for staying interested in the position. Yes, I have discussed your application with the other two committee members. Although your combined backgrounds in both computational chemistry and chemical synthesis render you uniquely fit for the position, the timing did not work in your favor as we were not able to schedule an interview with you for now. I really wish I had better news for you--I was truly impressed by your confidence and competence in that conversation we had. Obviously, I also highly rate your ability to learn and adapt, given that you had to pivot during the pandemic. While you should feel free to explore other opportunities, I will check back with you if we decide to schedule more interviews.

Best wishes for a healthy, safe, and successful 2024!

What should I do if I want to keep connected with them and be considered for future opportunities?

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  • 7
    Why was it not possible to schedule an interview?
    – Jon Custer
    Jan 9 at 21:15
  • 1
    Simple, they have a better candidate. Jan 10 at 5:23
  • It sounds like the person who interviewed you was very enthusiastic about you, but the company as a whole wasn't? In fact their message kinda sounds like "I personally really wanted you to be hired, but actually we didn't have a job opening"
    – Stef
    Jan 10 at 16:25

4 Answers 4

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I think this is just a very polite "thank you, but no thank you". You can reply politely thanking them for the opportunity to interview and mention that you remain interested if something changes, or another opportunity comes up.

That's it. If they really want you but you came up just short, and some new position opens up, then you may be in luck and they will reach out.

You should live your life as if this door is now closed. Move on, look for other positions. If somehow it opens up again, great! Reevaluate then.

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  • That is what I am going to do, thanks! Jan 10 at 4:35
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A simple thank you is appropriate along with a statement that you remain very interested in the position. Add a request to keep you updated with any changes.

It is an odd response from them, though.

Don't give up any other opportunities and if it is a question of a decision made annually then follow up in several months with a request for any updates. Or, in general, about midway to the next decision point if you are still open to the position.

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    It sounds like OP made it onto the long waiting list. Jan 9 at 19:19
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As per my experience, I think the email you received is a gentle way to say we have moved forward with the other candidate for the position you applied. If you are especially fascinated by this organization as a workspace (also called a dream workplace), you may collaborate with them in research, grants, or even do 1-2 seminar presentations per year. That way they will remember you professionally and have a better chance to get hired in the future if you apply. Another way is to keep your eyes open for new positions and apply.

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    "I think the email you received is a gentle way to say we have moved forward with the other candidate for the position you applied. This in turn is a really gentle roundabout way to say "You didn't get the job."
    – DKNguyen
    Jan 10 at 0:20
  • 1
    Sometimes, we don't like ways too roundabout. Jan 10 at 4:33
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    @WentongZhou Yup! Unfortunately, this is the language of Academia in the US--they convey the toughest message most beautifully. I hate this but this is called diplomacy and a very common approach in America almost in every field from academia to local and global politics. We just get used to with it. Good luck for your future job search. Jan 10 at 5:59
  • @Dr.Baje is it really common to use obvious lies such as "uniquely fit" or that absurd "timing" excuse to make it more beautiful? I would find honesty more beautiful...
    – wimi
    Jan 10 at 18:42
  • @wim It's not necessarily a lie. Yes, you may be "uniquely fit" for the position but your "timing" is absurd in the sense that a "better candidate applied for the position you applied at your timing". None of them are lies. I don't agree rejection should be framed in such a way that people remain hopeful to hear again from the rejected position. But people tend to play diplomatically. This is hard, I know. I am learning it the hard way and sharing it with those who wish they knew these things a lot sooner than they learned the hard way. Jan 10 at 18:51
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At minimum thank them for their time and think of a concise compliment about something you enjoyed about the interview.

Keep looking elsewhere and if this opportunity opens up again then I am sure they wouldn't mind if you re-applied.

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