I’ve had several interviews lately and on a recent day, which I now think of as “Black Thursday,” I got not one, but two rejections. The first one, from Company A, wasn’t a complete surprise. Although I was a good fit for the posted job description, during the interview it became clear they were looking for specific skills and experience that I just don’t have. The second rejection, from Company B, was painful. I had been called back for a second interview, I had made nice connections with everyone I met, I had good answers to their questions, etc. How could they not hire me?
So what should you do when you don’t get the job? Here are my suggestions:
Recharge: Do something nice for yourself, because this kind of rejection really hurts. Allow yourself to do something that will make you feel better. I called a friend for some sympathetic conversation then went for a walk outside in the sunshine. If a cozy afternoon nap, a therapeutic bowl of ice cream or a nice long bike ride will lift your spirits, I say go for it.
Review: Take a few minutes to do an interview “autopsy.” Did they ask a question you weren’t prepared for? Did one of your “success stories” come out wrong? Did you say something you wish you hadn’t said? Identifying what you could have done better is good preparation for next time.
Remember: Sometimes, no matter how brilliant you are in the interview and how perfect you are for the job, you just don’t get the job offer, and most of the time you’ll never know the real reason. I don’t think it’s a good idea to ask for feedback because there’s almost no chance you’ll be told the real reason you weren’t hired. It’s also possible that there’s no specific reason; you just weren’t perceived as the best “fit” by the hiring manager.
Finally, get back out there and continue looking for your next great job. Even though rejection hurts, every interview helps you get better at the process of interviewing, and every “thanks, but no thanks” rejection gets you one step closer to your great new job.
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