Burning bridges (or not)

Q: I applied for the perfect job. I was interviewed three times by the company. The recruiter told me I was a finalist and the hiring team was very interested. I just found out (from an email!) that I did not get the job. I have no idea why I wasn’t offered the job and now I am spitting mad. I wasted all that time and used personal days to interview on at least two days. I want to write the recruiter a nasty note. Any advice?

A: Yes, I have advice! Put down your pen and hold off on writing the nasty note. A nasty note does nothing except if your goal is to burn bridges, which is a giant mistake in the job hunting world.
First, take some time to cool down. Inserting negative energy into the job hunt is never a good tactic. After you have cooled down, place a call to the recruiter. As difficult as it may be, thank them for their time and effort on your behalf. Explain that you are looking for feedback so you can learn from this experience. Listen to the feedback. You don’t have to agree with the feedback shared, but you should listen. Ask the recruiter to keep you in mind for other opportunities. Do your best to be gracious.

In several instances, when I have conducted a search, I have re-established contact with a runner-up. If you were interviewed three times, you were a strong candidate. Often the employer has several strong candidates and they can only select one. Stay close to this recruiter and this company.
Also remember that this process was not “wasted” time. You developed new contacts and refined your interviewing skills. Yes, you had to use some personal days but this is often the case. A job offer is not guaranteed simply because you have been interviewed several times.

Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.