Thoughts on this gutsy post-interview follow-up email?

Edward Thorp's picture
Rank: Monkey | 56

Got this email a couple of hours ago and still have mixed feelings about it. What are your thoughts? Reconsider this kid for an off-cycle or is this email a little too much? (Let the comments determine this kid's future)

Hi [my name],

Hope you are doing well.

I received notice today that I did not make it to the next round for the summer analyst internship. Which is understandable considering I was unable to correctly answer the technical questions I was presented with. However, I do believe that my performance during the interview was a poor representation of my actual technical understanding. I would like to reiterate my interest in [Bulge Bracket]'s New York office, as well as ask you if the team has offered off-cycle internships in the past or if it would be something it would be open to considering.

Sincerely,
[intern's name]

Comments (105)

Most Helpful
Sep 20, 2019

Kid has balls IMO - easier to just take the rejection as an opportunity lost and not follow up with the interviewer(s), but he / she took the initiative to reach out and ask for another shot.

Maybe an additional technical screen to see if he / she can check the boxes where they previously messed up would suffice.

tldr: give the candidate a shot

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Sep 25, 2019

I did a follow email just like that, nobody gave a sh!t...

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Sep 26, 2019

sadly true

Sep 27, 2019

This is something I would never do, and if I were to, I would ask for feedback rather than another shot. If you don't have off cycle internships, I wouldn't make a spot just for him/her. You make the choice, either to offer advice and painlessly reject or give another test. However, if you can't make the technicals in the first round, not sure how one can impress even further.

Array

Jan 2, 2020

This is wrong advice. Asking for another shot may be fine. Asking for feedback is not.

Sep 20, 2019

The e-mail is relatively succinct and shows a blend of confidence and humility.

Is their intuition correct about why they got dinged? That is the main thing that feels awkward.

I am also a bit confused why they conflate the terms "New York office" and "the team" in the last sentence. I also wouldn't start and end the same sentence with "which" and "with" in a formal, recruiting e-mail.

I guess I have mixed feelings as well. On an initial read, it looks fine and worth a response.

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Sep 20, 2019

Tim tebow type beat

Array

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Sep 20, 2019

Can't hurt. At the worst they'll say no, and come away thinking you really want it and have the initiative. Best case scenario you get a different opportunity with them off cycle or a different recruitment cycle. Go for it

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  • Associate 2 in CorpDev
Sep 20, 2019

Kid has got stones and self awareness at the same time - rare qualities that co-exist in the right proportions, I'd give him a shot.

Actually, that's the first time I've seen anything like this - mildly inspiring...

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Sep 21, 2019

100% agree here. Also, he was able to come up with a somewhat out-of-the-box alternative (as most BBs do not typically offer off cycle, at least as far as I know). If your firm is open to off cycle hiring, give the kid another shot.

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Sep 25, 2019

That was how i got my first internship tbh. Didn't get it the first go my sophomore year, sent a follow up to keep in touch with the interviewer, we did a few phone calls, got the offer a year later

Sep 21, 2019

Give them a shot. IMO it isn't even gutsy because they were humble about their faults.

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Sep 21, 2019

I think this is a decent email. Could be slightly shorter but overall its to the point.

I vote yes, give the kid a shot if he really did interview well in every other aspect

Sep 22, 2019
imsurance:

I think this is a decent email. Could be slightly shorter but overall its to the point.

I vote yes, give the kid a shot if he really did interview well in every other aspect

Sep 21, 2019

So it's possible to get rejected and get another chance to interview is what you're saying?

Array

Controversial
  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Sep 21, 2019

Oh pls give me another shot your mighty Highness. I will forever be in debt to your haughty ass

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Sep 21, 2019

You can teach and tune technical skills, you cannot teach resiliency, motivation, and humility. Give the kid a shot.

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Sep 21, 2019

I'd give this kid a shot. He owns up to mistakes without coming off as a pansy. Best rejection follow-up I've ever seen.

Sep 21, 2019

Why the mixed feelings? I feel like its a good email. Not pushy or gimmicky at all. Just telling you what's up . . if you bring me back I'll nail it next time.

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Sep 21, 2019
PteroGonzalez:

Why the mixed feelings? I feel like its a good email. Not pushy or gimmicky at all. Just telling you what's up . . if you bring me back I'll nail it next time.

This. I would add my translation to add "if you bring me back I'll nail it next time and I WANT THIS"

It's a fantastic email and would push the kid to the front of the line for an opp I might hear about elsewhere. I don't sit in such a seat, but knowing me, I'd reply and tell the kid where he messed up to help him out with the next interview.

Banking is a sales job at the end of the day. Admitting mistakes, but following up and keeping a potential lead warm is one of the core skills especially as one gets higher and higher up.

Things like CAPM or whatever can be taught or learned on the job. Humbly following up and trying to keep things warm does not come naturally to many and is frankly, often sorely lacking at the mid and even higher levels in our industry, especially on the sales (note, not just sell, but also including say, IR roles at HFs/PE Funds) side. It's shocking, frankly.

I view such emails warmly as a recipient and as a low cost call-option as a sender. Probably amounts to nothing but you never know.

TLDR - bring him/her back if an opportunity arises.

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Sep 21, 2019

It is good that he/she is humble, responsible, and aggresive, however they do not give any reason why it was a poor representation. The questions I'm thinking are Did they know the answer and not prepare? Did they crack under pressure? Did they actually not know the answer? (all of which they should be cut for)

Assuming you did not tell him/her the answers to the techincals in the interview, call them on the phone and ask them the same technical questions on the spot. If they have an actual interest and desire to learn, they would have tried to right their wrongs immeadiately and teach themself with a textbook or a link on google. If they answer correctly, reconsider, if not tell them to study more.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Sep 21, 2019
LarrySilverstein-ish:

It is good that he/she is humble, responsible, and aggressive, however they do not give any reason why it was a poor representation.

Was thinking the same thing. Also, talk to the person who interviewed this candidate if you can. You don't want to waste your time if the interviewer asked him simple questions and he couldn't even tell you what EBITDA stands for.

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Sep 21, 2019

Maybe sender could have elaborated but there's also an interest in keeping the email short. And attempting to justify it can easily come off the wrong way like making excuses.

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Sep 30, 2019

In an email such as this I would argue it's better to leave out the explanation simply because an explanation can easily be perceived an an excuse. Better to leave that as part of the discussion in the event that they are given another shot.

Sep 21, 2019

1) At least he admits he fucked up. That's good.
2) He gets the concept of creating opportunities when you have none. That's also good. Before the email, his chances were zero as he got rejected, now let's say he has 1 out of 100? Still worthy it.

Sep 21, 2019

In my opinion, it depends how hard the questions were.

Colleges do an absolutely awful job of teaching students relevant skills. So if you asked him tough questions about, say, option valuation or LBO's, it's understandable that he may have missed a few. If he had a solid GPA and seemed like the type of kid who can pick up on things quickly and learn those concepts, I would give him a shot.

If he bombed easy questions, such as "What does CAPM stand for" maybe save the opportunity for someone else.

Sep 21, 2019

I'd respect the email, and I'm surprised by the overwhelmingly positive responses. At my firm, that email would have been instantly deleted. Markets don't give second chances, and other applicants got it right the first time.

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Sep 21, 2019

See that's my issue this whole "markets don't give second chances" stuff. And this is not to pick a fight with you or others on this board since you have your own modus operandi (totally cool if that's what works for you).

Frankly, the whole "not giving second chances" sentiment is false. I see markets giving second chances all the time to people and to companies/countries (Argentina, anyone?)

There are plenty of traders/HFs that have blown up and have re-launched under a new name or PMs (who lost a lot of someone else's dough) who manage to re-appear at different firms and manage big books. Plenty of bankers screw up and seem to find a spot elsewhere. I've seen this as a trader/PM and as an allocator.

As the latter, I have seen the "toughest" guys come back and literally beg for a second chance and capital. More often than not, they get it, though there is usually a personal relationship or a tough seed/early investor agreement.

Nick Maounis of Amaranth comes to mind immediately as one of many examples. To younger types who may not be familiar, google "Amaranth Advisors"

One could make the argument that my argument is not apples to apples and I understand that. My view is that one can make money in Argentina, or by giving another PM/proven banker or whatever another chance.

Whereas the kid is a lottery ticket. In the end, the kid will have to deliver some value above what he/she is paid (that's the whole point of the job thing, right?). By writing this email, the kid has shown he has a key attribute needed to potentially become a good mid/senior level banking professional. Something very few at that age or even later on, show.

Ramble over

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Sep 21, 2019

+1 banana, I agree but my firm has different views. Sorry if I triggered you ;).

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Sep 22, 2019

There is a massive difference between an experienced investor having a bad trade, no one is perfect, and giving a kid with no experience, ie zero value add, as second chance that messed up an interview. Reality is too many good candidates at the entry level and you're looking for reasons to say no, not yes.

Sep 22, 2019

On an unrelated note, your Amaranth reference made me nostalgic and I got lost in a google wormhole reading about Brian Hunter and his "rogue trading," interesting guy

Sep 23, 2019

Truth... This obnoxiously hardo sentiment of condescension that seems to prevail over much more valuable long term skills than simply knowing a certain answer off-cuff is endemic of a much larger issue and it speaks more to the failings of those judging this type of email than it does about the interviewee.

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Sep 23, 2019

Markets don't give second chances? Lol... Sounds an awful lot like someone who doesn't understand markets

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Sep 24, 2019
Jim Simons:

Markets don't give second chances

Good lord - they most certainly do

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  • Intern in IB - Gen
Sep 22, 2019

I've sent similar responses before to bankers and none of them cared. And I go to a target school with relevant experience (mm PE/BB AM sophomore summer)

Sep 22, 2019

Weird flex but ok

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Sep 22, 2019

You can learn finance, but you can't grow a pair overnight. The kid is genuine, resilient, and clearly isn't scared of facing another no. Dude's got character. Hire him and train him.

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  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Sep 22, 2019

What's up with these responses?

There's a long line of kids who are humble, hungry, genuine AND will get the technicals right on the first try. Props to this kid but I would never stick my neck out to give him a second chance at my own firm.

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Sep 23, 2019

Good thing you don't have your own firm then

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Sep 25, 2019

You're still young... the years will humble you.

Sep 22, 2019

OP, what's your position in the interview process? Did you interview him/her or are you on the HR team getting this email?

I agree with the other monkeys. While it will set a bad precedent and you'll get every other banker's flooded, markets don't forgive but they reward first movers. Give him/her another shot!

AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD GIVE US AN UODATE ON THIS STORY WHEN IT COMES

Sep 22, 2019

I applaud the kid for trying - and, yes, the tone of the letter is spot on, combining a dose of mature humility with bushy-tailed optimism.

That said, I wouldn't give them another chance. There's a lot of humble, mature students who probably would nail the technicals chomping at the bit for the same opportunity he's had. All you'd do by inviting him to apply to the off-cycle internship / forwarding his CV / putting in a good word would reinforce, for him, the view that being technically good is immaterial to "hustling" (and I hate that f*cking term).

Sure, some of you may argue that being able to network and forge relationships is what truly determines someone's success in this industry... But this isn't about this kid's success. It's about him being of use to the firm's analysts / associates during his internship and, as a consequence, maybe being given the opportunity to walk in their shoes one day.

I'd politely go back to him, thank him for his enthusiasm and say you appreciate him following-up, but that the opportunity's gone on this occasion. Wish him the best of luck with his future efforts, and leave him from your thoughts. This, I think, will do him more good in the long term than a chance at redemption. Lest we not forget, implicit in his email is the suggestion that industry experts with likely decades of experience between them couldn't distinguish between a good candidate on a bad day, and an average / bad candidate on a day they didn't get lucky.

Also, his grammar is poor.

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Sep 23, 2019

You're wrong about your notion of "all it would do."

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Sep 23, 2019

Didn't once say, "All it would do" - said, "All you'd do".

And perhaps I am wrong: I'm more than happy to put my hands up and say that's probable considering what I've written is clearly subjective. Maybe the candidate would take heed from this episode and double down on learning the nitty gritty of the business. But it's easier to assume a worst case scenario and I don't think the candidate's performance to date merits OP sticking their neck on the line / making the extra effort, even if only to a slight extent.

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  • VP in IB-M&A
Sep 22, 2019

Sorry, I'm a little surprised by the positive responses as well. I led analyst recruiting for my group at a BB in NYC, and we actually get these type of emails a lot. 99% of the time they get deleted. The best that I could do is refer him or her to another group (preferably another bank all together) if they were really that strong, but just wasn't a fit for my team. This is super rare and usually never happens if they missed technical though. There's just too many candidates who are better prepared. Also, and this may a little cynical, but the email comes off a little desperate. Again, for feel to disagree, but my understanding is that this wasn't even a final round interview where the person was super close to the end? I would just cut my losses and be better prepared technically for other interviews.

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  • Analyst 2 in PE - LBOs
Sep 28, 2019

A little desperate? You should see the emails your MD's are sending to clients/potential clients.

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  • VP in IB-M&A
Dec 25, 2019

Care to give an example?

Sep 22, 2019

Love the cheerleader responses of participation trophy generation.

Its really just a supply and demand issue and there are way to many kids without mistakes. Email doesn't hurt to write but its like a 99% failure rate. So if it makes you feel better fire away but don't expect anything. Learn from it and move on to the next.

Sep 23, 2019

Lol ok

Sep 24, 2019
ke18sb:

Love the cheerleader responses of participation trophy generation.

Who implemented and gave those "participation trophies?"

Hint: it wasn't millennials

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Sep 22, 2019

LMAO at the responses regarding technicals. Technicals? These people at the Wall Street bulge brackets are underwriting the We Company at $47 billion. They fcking underwrote Uber at $82 billion and Beyond Meat at $12 f*cking billion(?)! You should be ashamed to be associated with this.

Obviously, technical knowledge is not a prerequisite for working at a Wall Street investment bank. If the kid was a smooth talking salesman thn I'd say he has a future on Wall Street. If he had command of the technicals then I assume you'd want him nowhere near the ears of the IPO investors.

Sep 23, 2019

Wework didn't ipo there. And until you understand the mechanics of short selling and borrow rate. It's a technical issue that causes beyond meat to trade like that.

Wall St rejected Wework. The only person to fund Wework in the last 7 years is softbank. Everyone else has rejected them.

Uber's interesting. Not a believer in their business model but they do have potential.

Array
Sep 23, 2019
traderlife:

Wework didn't ipo there.

Right, it got rejected by intelligent people (one IB and a bunch of investors). The underwriters were happy to underwrite it to any insane valuation..because the technicals don't matter.

traderlife:

And until you understand the mechanics of short selling and borrow rate. It's a technical issue that causes beyond meat to trade like that.

What a cop out for a completely obscene valuation that is about 12 times more than it should be.

traderlife:

Uber's interesting. Not a believer in their business model but they do have potential.

Uber's only potential is autonomous, at which point it has no competitive advantage. Its valuation made (and still makes) zero sense.

Sep 28, 2019

JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Benchmark, fidelity and T-Rowe are all pre IPO investors in WeWork (is this where the famous bankingism attention to detail would be used ?). JPM was also preparing to lead arrange a $4-$6bn syndicated loan for WeWork. JPM and GS initially were using a $25bn valuation then $20, $15bn. Dimon and Solomon spent significant time kissing Neumann's ring for the business (clearly they didn't do good diligence on him and should have dispatched lower underlings for the job).
So not sure why you are so willing to give the "street" a pass. The banks were all in chasing We despite the recent string of tech bubble post IPO meltdowns.

And it's not solely liquidity and borrow costs that Keep beyond meat where it is. it's as much the FOMO of the next big thing and PC virtue signaling that keep investors throwing capital at these businesses.

Sep 23, 2019

Thank you... Finally a voice of reason... Also, pretty sure most of the hardos here would miss some form of technical... I'm amazed by how over-inflated many finance professionals are in their sense of technical competence. This is definitely a supply and demand issue but the attitude is really what is irksome about all this...

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Sep 22, 2019

Not too much IMHO but I don't think he/she deserves a second shot. This is a lesson learned and the world doesn't really give second chances in general.

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Sep 23, 2019

Right... The world doesn't give second chances... They've never happened.

Sep 24, 2019
WSO_Monkey123:

the world doesn't really give second chances in general.

Except it does, constantly. And third changes. And fourth. Etc.

Sep 23, 2019

This thread is a good read for anyone who wants to network anyway. There are people who will give this guy a chance, others who don't. It's a numbers game. Roll the dice. Someone with his attitude will keep rolling the dice until he meets one like those in this thread who would give him a shot. He'll be fine regardless of what OP decides in the end.

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Sep 23, 2019

This

Sep 24, 2019

This..

On another note, I can't believe this has elicited so many responses (and many of them anonymous)... hmmm

Sep 23, 2019

Don't be a prick, give the dude another chance. You're not losing anything
We've all needed a little push at a point in our lives.
This person is genuine and believe me he will do whatever it takes to prove he got what it takes to succeed at the job

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Sep 27, 2019

Believe you that he will do all thats its necessary to succeed? He couldnt even do what was necessary to answer technicals in an interview and they arent rocket science....

Funniest
Sep 23, 2019

Plot twist: the kid who wrote this email saw your thread and is making fake accounts to influence your decision

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  • Prospect in Other
Sep 23, 2019

At the end of the day the best talent is realizing that there are better options then spending mid 20s grinding for 90-100 hours and always on call for pay that is OK at best. This is why people who fail technicals are being reconsidered.

TLDR the investment banking model of business is soon to deteriorate @Derkdicerk

Sep 23, 2019

Where do you think the most qualified candidates are going to now?

Sep 25, 2019

Don't think the business mode necessarily fails, but it just falls off from being the most prestigious post undergrad role to maybe #3 or #4 in line. It might come back in the future yet again as cultural preferences shift.

Sep 26, 2019

What are those jobs/industries in your opinion?

Sep 23, 2019

I like it. It's a professional email and I like the resiliency. I know I'm all too often discouraged by a poor first call with a potential counterpart and feel the temptation to just chalk it up as a "poor fit". This kid seems to have a second gear that most lack.

Sep 23, 2019

For the many recent commenters saying things like "everyone else is good too, why does this guy deserve a second chance": nobody is proposing is proposing a re-interview for the same job he just got rejected from. OP asked if (i) this kid should get reconsidered for off cycle or (ii) is the email too much.

The email clearly isn't too much.

As for off cycle, presumably the talent pool is already a miscellaneous group of people from various non-traditional circles. Could be non-target schools, people transferring from other careers, etc. Not sure why anyone would oppose also including a kid who missed on his last interview but wrote a short, non-awkward email (80% of candidates lack this skill) looking for another shot.

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Sep 23, 2019

Agreed

Sep 23, 2019

It's a long email for what he/she is asking, but I would give the kid a second interview to prove the points he/she made in the email.

Sep 23, 2019

I'll take a different tone here. As many have correctly pointed out, you can teach anyone technicals. That is missing the point, though. Technicals are not asking in interviews because IBs expect you to know them prior to starting, but rather because the candidate pool is so large that IBs need an easy way to weed candidates out, and this kid helped the bank very much by failing to answer some technicals.

I would not give the kid another chance because he's missing the point. He thinks that technical knowledge is what is important in IB, when it's not. Furthermore, he does not understand the basis of IB: this is a client-serving industry. If an MD showed up to a pitch 15 minutes late and without the pitch books, do you think a client would go, "Well, it's not really a representation of him, so we'll give him another chance"? Absolutely not. Similar to the pitch being the one and only time for the MD to shine, an interview is the one and only time for the candidate to shine. Say you give this kid a chance....when will he next show up unprepared?

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Sep 24, 2019
Sil:

I'll take a different tone here. As many have correctly pointed out, you can teach anyone technicals. That is missing the point, though. Technicals are not asking in interviews because IBs expect you to know them prior to starting, but rather because the candidate pool is so large that IBs need an easy way to weed candidates out, and this kid helped the bank very much by failing to answer some technicals.

I would not give the kid another chance because he's missing the point. He thinks that technical knowledge is what is important in IB, when it's not. Furthermore, he does not understand the basis of IB: this is a client-serving industry. If an MD showed up to a pitch 15 minutes late and without the pitch books, do you think a client would go, "Well, it's not really a representation of him, so we'll give him another chance"? Absolutely not. Similar to the pitch being the one and only time for the MD to shine, an interview is the one and only time for the candidate to shine. Say you give this kid a chance....when will he next show up unprepared?

This has definitely happened and happens far more often than many think here. Typically said MD/BSD etc can't yell and scream because he is in front of us (the client). Often a little joke is made, a self chuckle ensues, maybe the analyst is gently blamed (to us - not sure what happens the minute they leave our office), alongside the weather and uber/cabs etc.

Then the MD/BSD etc starts pitching. He (it's almost always a dude) has memorized it anyhow and 90% of the content in pitch books and the pitch in general is useless and a waste of time (though this is fodder for another thread).

Once again, having seen this in numerous iterations (ie."second chances") are why I take "a gentler" "softer" "sucker-worthy" whatever you want to call it, approach in this case.

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Sep 24, 2019

I have never heard of someone getting an interview retry. Can't support your comment enough and feel like everyone is missing this point.

Array

Sep 23, 2019

This email is grammatically incorrect.

Sep 23, 2019

I wrote that. Give me a second shot bro, I already searched up the answer I got wrong I'll get it right this time. You wont regret it!

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Sep 27, 2019

Jesus "bro". Your missing the point... ya got it wrong the first time. If I could go back and redo a modeling test, I would be in a different seat too. You were unprepared. Take your medicine, learn from it, and go nail the next one.

Sep 23, 2019

Very clever move by the candidate. Since the person is already rejected, there's nothing to lose by shooting this email.

Worst case, they get a 'no'. I don't see how this can be negative.

Sep 24, 2019

Asking for advice on an anonymous blog regarding how you should frame your personal opinion of someone's character is your first mistake in judging character (as politely as possible).

My personal opinion - this seems like a candid kid making a completely reasonable gesture. Judging from you even posing the question, I assume he was a nice enough guy. I don't think this is as existential a question as @Jamoldo" 's Adderall masterpiece (little dramatic dude lol). You certainly wouldn't be a revolutionary to send back a nice email saying "sure thing. let's stay in touch and I'll pass you to HR that can speak to that more intelligently blah blah".

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Sep 24, 2019

Ritalin - get it right

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Sep 25, 2019

I'd give him another shot for sure. Sometimes, people swing and miss. Do another round of techs and if he's got the juice, you've got a great candidate.

Sep 26, 2019

I did once and it worked. Really depends on how you got rejected in the first place. Just making sure you don't look desperate.

Sep 27, 2019

Tough cookies but if everyone got a second chance, the process would be never ending. Would've rather seen a follow up email stating that it was a great learning experience and any feedback / insight would be helpful as you look for next role.

Too cutthroat up here to feel bad for a kid that blew an interview. We've all been there at one point or another... onward and upward but this wouldn't be sufficient in my eyes for a true redo.

Sep 27, 2019

I am so curious to hear how many follow-up emails have been sent out as a result of this thread to interviewers

Array

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Sep 27, 2019

Is anyone else bothered by the rejected candidate's use of a preposition to end the second sentence?

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Oct 2, 2019

Oh for sure. That is something up with which I will not put.

Oct 4, 2019

Thanks Winston!

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Sep 27, 2019

kid's a winner.

Sep 27, 2019

I may have failed on the technicals but I can assure you that I am the right candidate, especially given my attention to detail in crafting the next email. Is it necessary to wear a tie on my third try?

Sep 28, 2019
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Sep 28, 2019
Nov 12, 2019
Jan 31, 2020
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Vincet Voluntas - Will shall win