Didn’t get the job – why?
For most people, job interviews are deep whirlpools of emotion. You put a lot of effort into the preparation, you put yourself on the line to try and land the role, then there’s the nerve-wracking wait afterwards to find out how you have done.
Then the moment finally arrives …
“I’m sorry—we’ve actually made an offer to another candidate.”
It’s a phrase any job hunter hates to hear and you begin to wonder, “Where did I go wrong?”
Of course, most of us already know the tried-and-true etiquette for landing your dream job: Don’t forget the cover letter. (PLUG ALERT: We have a blog for that – When to update your CV)
Make sure your social media accounts are up-to-date. (PLUG ALERT: We have a blog for that – Social Media Etiquette)
But what other little hobgoblins of job seeking can really trip you up?
So, was it your fault? You go into post-match analysis mode and dissect the interview from start to finish. You agonise about what happened in your interview post mortem. What went wrong? What’s wrong with me?
But it is vital that you realise the way you handle the knocks is just as important in your job search as your interview skills and your CV. If you let rejection eat away at your confidence, it’s going to affect you negatively in future interviews.
It can be easy to lose faith, but it’s crucial that you stay positive and productive.
Here are the main things to remember:
It’s not personal
Try not to assume that the ‘no’ means you’re a personal failure. It simply means someone else was more appropriate or a better fit for the role – it doesn’t mean you didn’t perform well. If you prepared as well as you could and gave it your best shot, there’s nothing more you could have done. Many other factors could have been at play – you could have lost out to a strong internal candidate. Once the interview has finished, there’s no point worrying about things you can’t control.
Keep an open mind
Every interview is a new opportunity to blow your potential employer away with amazing you – don’t let past experiences affect you. Carefully tweak your CV for each new job opportunity and fully research and prepare for the next interview. Learn from past mistakes, assuming you actually made any, or if you went into the interview unprepared or feeling below par.
Stay calm, composed and confident – each employer has a different idea of what makes the best candidates. A lot of it is subjective – if you and the interviewer instinctively like each other, you’re very likely to do well. You may well click with your next interviewer, so stay positive.
Always something to learn
At the very least you should feel as though you have learned something through the interview process. We all learn from our experiences, and interviewing is no different.
However, if you performed to the best of your ability, displayed all your relevant technical expertise, demonstrated your competencies and communicated in your most engaging manner in an interview but were still turned down, then you can take comfort from knowing that it was the wrong firm for you.
You may find your mind unable to rest until you establish a logical explanation for the rejection. Thorough feedback may not be provided, as candidates are often rejected because of an interviewer’s gut feeling – despite meeting technical requirements. Instead of dwelling on your disappointment, keep your mind focused on other opportunities and continue to present yourself to the best of your ability. If you find you are facing continuous rejection then use it as a means for developing resilience. But ensure that you also take action to remedy any personal shortcomings brought to your attention from feedback.
Get it off your chest
Talk to someone who will just listen
If you thought the job interview went well and that you had a really good chance of getting the job but were rejected, you may feel disappointed and upset – and this is okay!
Following your interview, talk to a friend or family member to get your feelings off your chest. Talking to someone will help you regain your focus on your job search and set you up for a strong start with your next job interview.
Most of all, stay positive – the right job is out there for you and the next interview could be the one that sends your career into overdrive. Each “No” brings you closer to that YES – the job you’ve been waiting for. Chin up – and good luck out there!
Stay tuned in this three-part series! Coming next week … Didn’t get the job – how do I bounce back?