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Job rejections

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Monday Morning Sportswriter, Oct 4, 2014.

  1. Monday Morning Sportswriter

    Monday Morning Sportswriter Well-Known Member

    We've probably all gotten the silent treatment from a potential employer after applying for job. But what about the times you didn't?

    For whatever reason, I was thinking back to those rejections, and how the guys on the other end could not have been nicer and more encouraging.

    First time was in the mid-1990s, when the Dayton Daily News AME emailed (even then!) to tell me that despite my "obvious enthusiasm and talent" (I never forgot those words), they were looking for someone with more than 18 months of newspaper experience. He sent some suggestions on things to work on and urged me to stay in touch. And that for a job I didn't even interview for.

    Second was the Journal News in Westchester, when a newly minted assistant was put in charge of hiring his replacement. I interviewed and went on my honeymoon. When I came back, I found the nicest letter in the mail, sent from his home address, explaining that HR had blocked my hire because I'd badmouthed my current employer, then telling me some things he'd learned about how HR works and tips for the next time. That came in handy a while later, when another Gannett paper asked me the same questions.

    And a hiring editor at Sports Illustrated sent me the most lovely rejection note in the mail. Hand-written, explaining who got the job and why (a no-brainer), encouraging me to not get down about it. He said he'd see if there was anything else he could find, and a few weeks later, I was offered the same job at Time magazine.

    Anyone else out there handing out nice rejections?
  2. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    In the early-80s Steve Doyle at Orlando sent me a terribly condescending rejection letter. Roy Exum in Chattanooga sent me the greatest rejection letter ("We know all about you! We'd like to have you, but . . . ").

    In college, I applied for an internship at the Philadelphia Inquirer and was told I was "overqualified." Huh? Just because all my clips were from the local Knoxville newspaper?

    In the summer of 1985, Paul Anger tells me I "came in second" for a job at the Miami Herald. In November 1985, I was told I "came in second" for a job at the L.A. Daily News.

    A month after that, ASE in L.A. gives my name to Fred Turner in Fort Lauderdale (a place I never sent anything to). Spent the next 26 years there.
  3. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    I "came in second" when the Missourian was hiring an SE in 1992 or so.

    Then I "came in third" when it was hiring two sports staffers a couple years later.

    Then, having cast off in another direction, I burned my bridge: "Just suppose you were hiring 500 people. Would I be 501st?"
  4. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    FWIW, the last two people I hired for big-boy jobs were people who "came in second" for previous openings but both were hired for better jobs about a year later.
  5. Bronco77

    Bronco77 Well-Known Member

    Had a frustrating experience with Doyle. Sent him some clips, and in his response he said he really liked my work and asked that I send more samples in three to six months. So I did -- and his response this time was, "No openings now, none expected in the near future, and we'd probably look at people with more experience than you if anything does open up."

    Got a lot of form letter-type responses: "No openings now, but we'll keep you on file for future reference."

    The oddest experience was Newsday: Went for a tryout, thought it was OK even though I was very nervous -- even wrote a back-page headline they raved about. Never heard from them.

    Probably the nicest and most encouraging letters were from Southern California: Bob Wright in San Diego and Herb Stutz at the L.A. Times' Orange County edition (I did interview with Herb a year or so after the initial contact, but so did about four other people, and I got a "you came in a strong second" phone call).
  6. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Nicest was Chris Simmons, of the Harrisonburg (Va.) Daily-Record. I applied for a job there coming out of college, never heard anything back, but my trip home took me right past Harrisonburg. So I called and asked if I could come in for an interview. I had no ties to him, the paper or the area. He had no obligation to anyone to give me the time of day, and every right to tell this young punk "don't call me, I'll call you."
    Amazingly, he didn't.
    Even though, looking back, I had no chance in hell at the job (and deservedly so), he still took the time to meet with me and give me a "job interview." It helped me to at least understand how the interview process worked, what sorts of questions would be asked, etc. Afterward, he even answered a follow-up e-mail and offered some helpful criticism.
    That was 16 years ago. I'm sure he wouldn't remember me as I've never seen him before or since. But it's something I've never forgotten. I've also heard on this board that he's helped others the same way. Chris has a great reputation in this business and deserves every great adjective you can heap on him.
  7. 3_Octave_Fart

    3_Octave_Fart Well-Known Member

    The nicest was a team president who met with me and said they just couldn't take on personnel.
  8. steveu

    steveu Well-Known Member

    Just interviewed for a job in Baltimore by phone. Not sports-related, but community content and digital with some sports. Matt Bracken told me there were a couple other candidates who had more ideas on how to improve the website and make it stronger, which is what I appreciate hearing. I want to know what I've done right and wrong after the interview process is completed.

    Matt even forwarded my resume and a good word to the SE in Baltimore. They had someone leave, but not sure if the position is being filled internally or what.

    I think we can all agree, on here, Phil Kaplan at Knoxville is the best at keeping us in the loop.
  9. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Then-Washington Post sports editor Emilio Garcia-Ruiz gave me a very thoughtful and accurate review of my clips upon rejecting an internship application. He let me know where I stood (among the semifinalists not called in for an interview) and why. His simple writing tips still stick with me As some of the best constructive criticism I've ever received.
  10. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    I was in SoCal and applied for a job in 2000 at the Contra Costa Times. Did a phoner with Jerry Micco but they hired internally, IIRC. Couple of months later, I'm on the desk and get a call. It's the SE at the Miami Herald, saying my resume was passed on by Jerry Micco to him and would I be interested in a job on the Herald sports desk. Seven months later, I was off to South Florida.
  11. Uncle Frosty

    Uncle Frosty Member

    Got a two-page, handwritten note from a bureau chief at the Wall Street Journal who said, in essence, I was a no-talent hack who would never amount to anything.

    It was personal and it was vicious, but it really motivated me to get serious about my craft.
  12. DeskMonkey1

    DeskMonkey1 Active Member

    I once got a nice rejection letter where the executive editor emailed me back and said he liked me work but that I simply needed to spearhead a few more major projects. Upon telling him my bosses refused to give me more responsibility (I was more professional in my wording) he gave me a few pointers on what I could do outside of my main job.

    Got another one from an SE who told me he wouldn't consider me because I was applying from a sub-50,000 circulation paper. Nevermind the only reason I worked there was because I was laid off from a 100,000+ paper less than a year prior.

    Got another one a couple of days ago that might warrant it's own thread: "Your boss is sandbagging you. Since I know him personally, I can't hire you. But you need to know this." I'm exaggerating the bluntness but that is what he told me.
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