How to Cope With a Job Interview Rejection: Learning From Mistakes

By David

June 24, 2013   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Job hunting can be a grueling and demoralizing experience. The troubled job market worldwide has created an overabundance of qualified candidates, many competing for the same job. Hunting for a job not only means having the right qualifications, developing a sterling resume, a killer influence letter, and razor-sharp interview skills, but also having to outdo the other candidates — many of whom may be more qualified on paper than you.

Unfortunately, even after all that, rejection is possible, even likely. Rejection can be tough to deal with, especially when a job you really want (or need) is on the line. So how can you deal with that rejection and turn it into something positive?

Attack it Head-On

Although results (and circumstances) vary, it is sometimes possible to turn a “no” into a “yes” and turn a rejection around. If your potential employer calls you and tells you they’re going with another candidate, ask them why and try to find an opportunity to highlight the skills that could give you the edge over the other candidate. Don’t make emotional appeals or come off as desperate — give the employer a real, tangible reason why they really should hire you instead.

Develop Your Plan

While it might seem awkward to ask an interviewer for feedback, a good strategy for honing your job interview skills is to get an honest assessment of your performance. If the interviewer is willing, ask them to list what they felt your strengths and weaknesses were in the interview, so you can use that data to fine-tune future interviews. Make sure the interviewer knows you want constructive feedback, even if what they have to say may not send your self-esteem soaring.

Practice Your Pitch

Once you have some data on how you could have improved your interview, use it to prepare yourself for the next application process. Sit down with some note paper, figure out the strengths and weaknesses in your skill-set, and figure out how you can maximize your positive attributes and compensate for your weak spots. If you have the time and the resources, consider shoring up some of those weak spots with some software training, online classes, or research to get yourself up to speed.

Don’t Blame Yourself 

It can be hard not to get down on yourself when you make every effort to land the job of your dreams, and still get rejected. But in truth, sometimes a rejection is not about you at all. Often, perfectly qualified candidates, who might be perfect for the job in question, get turned down due to circumstances that are entirely invisible to the applicant. An employer might be able to better relate to another candidate, or have some sort of past history with that candidate, or any number of a thousand small things that can lead to not getting hired.

Don’t Make it Personal 

Even more important than not taking your rejection out on yourself is not taking it out on others. Don’t get defensive with the interviewer, or turn to social media to publicly complain about the employer for rejecting you. Don’t burn your bridges by showing resentment or anger at being rejected. Try to stay in touch with that company, if you can. You never know if that other candidate might not work out.

Most of all, the best thing you can do after getting turned down is to stay positive and not get discouraged. Keeping your energy positive is vital to maintaining your sense of well-being, which you will need to perform effectively in a job interview scenario.

Written on 6/24/2013 by Jenny Beswick. Thank you to Jenny Ann Beswick and her advice in this article. Jen applied for many International Vacancies and experienced some rejections but eventually found her dream job. If you are searching for the right career opportunity and are rejected don’t give up; change tactics and search social sites as more opportunities are out there if you look!

Photo Credit: Gvahim


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