You’ve been shortlisted and interviewed for the job of your dreams, and you’re really hoping you have this one in the bag. But then you get the disheartening news that you’ve been turned down, and your hopes and dreams come to a screaming halt.
If you have never experienced this situation before it’s likely you will at some stage in your career – particularly when there’s so much competition in today’s job market. When you find out you didn’t get the job you had really hoped for, it can be incredibly disappointing and put a dent in your confidence. And dwelling on the feelings of loss can make it difficult to refocus on other opportunities.
So if you find yourself in this predicament, here are some things you should do to help you move on:
As hard as it might seem, it’s important to remain positive and consider it as a learning experience. Think about why you might have been unsuccessful and try to take away some valuable lessons that you can apply to future interviews.
If you feel like you did everything you could within the best of your abilities, there’s also a chance the interviewer just made a poor decision when choosing who to hire. It’s not always because of something you did wrong. See the rejection as a short term disappointment, don’t blow things out of proportion and avoid blaming yourself. Focus on the practical things you can do differently next time … and move on.
Ask for Feedback & Thank the Interviewer
To help you figure out what it was that let you down in the interview process, you should always ask the employer for feedback – both positive and negative. In fact, even if you get the job it’s still a good idea to ask your new employer what went well and if there was anything they were hesitant about. Not only do you gain a better understanding of the things you need to improve on, it shows the employer you are serious about your personal development, that you are proactive, and willing to accept constructive criticism.
Getting feedback from an employer is not always easy though – and this is why so many people don’t even bother to try. But once again, reaching out to the employer shows that you are professional in your approach. Don’t underestimate the value of this activity.
Try phoning or sending an email – the latter is often easier. However, just be aware that some employers are not willing to give you much information for fear you might get upset, start an argument, or lodge a formal complaint. So do your best to reassure them that you just want feedback so you can determine ways to improve your chances at future interviews.
Once you have the feedback, be sure to work on any shortcomings that were highlighted to you (particularly if you find yourself being rejected on more than one occasion – there are obviously some things you need to work on).
Be Gracious (Not Mad)
During your phone call or in your email to the interviewer, you should also thank them for shortlisting you for the role, and for the interview opportunity. Explain you gained some valuable insights from the experience, and tell them you would like to keep in touch and be considered for any future openings.
It’s also ok to mention your disappointment, but you should genuinely wish the interviewer all the very best with their new hire. Be gracious and don’t get mad with the person who rejected you. Even if you disagree with their feedback, remain open-minded and tell them you found their feedback helpful. There is no point arguing with them – they are not going to change their mind.
Remember, if you remain professional and leave a good impression you have a better chance of being called up again for future roles. The interviewer might even recommend you to another company – this is not uncommon – in fact, it can sometimes result in landing a role that’s even better than the one you originally applied for! The lesson here is to never burn your bridges.