The Wall Street Journal shared a heart-warming tale of Abhijit Phadnis who messed up a job interview, asked for feedback, convinced them he could do what they wanted and ended up with the job. It's a great story. But you shouldn't bank on it happening to you. Here is (probably) went on behind the scenes, and why you should be cautious about trying to get a do-over.
He knew he was rejected.
This should be obvious in every job, but it's not. Recruiters often don't get back to candidates, so you never even know whether you've been rejected or are still under consideration. This may seem like such a little thing, but it's pretty critical. Phadnis would never have known to ask if no one told him he wasn't still under consideration.
No one had filled the role.
Often, candidates aren't formally rejected until someone has accepted the job. Hiring managers are loath to turn away qualified candidates and then have the person they want most turn them down. Therefore, in most positions, if you find out that you haven't been hired, it means someone else has been. No matter how persuasive you are, they aren't going to rescind the offer from someone else.
The hiring manager made the mistake.
While Phadnis feels he erred in not highlighting the right skills, the reality is the hiring manager failed here. When he asked for feedback, he learned that his "interview answers focused too much on his past work on various teams, and failed to explain how his individual skills fit the job."
He, of course, could fix that, but he shouldn't have had to. If the hiring manager wanted to know about individual skills, she should have asked him to focus in on that in the original interview. She didn't, so he didn't know what she was looking for. This happens all the time in job interviews--most people aren't skilled interviewers and haven't quite nailed down what they want. It's often why so many companies do multiple rounds of interviews: the first round helps the hiring manager figure it out.
Now, if the hiring manager had asked questions designed to elicit information about his individual skills, and he hadn't answered those, he would rightly have been rejected. You can't bank on the hiring manager making this type of error.
Does this mean there is no hope?
Of course, there's always hope, but job hunting has a mix of skill and luck involved in it. In most cases, you're not going to get a chance to present yourself again, once rejected. Once the hiring manager says no, it's no for this job. It's possible you'll be considered for a different position later, but this one is gone.