How To Bounce Back From Job Interview Rejection

Handling job interview rejection. You’ve had your job interview, you’re checking your emails, the post box and your phone. Then it comes through – “Dear John, we regret to inform you  …” –   the polite rejection. This is not what you expected, you know you’re the right candidate for this job.

Job rejection shock is a hard fact of life. It doesn’t matter how good a candidate you are, one or more rejections are inevitable. Even in good times organizations usually have a number of candidates to choose from and in today’s job market supply clearly exceeds demand.

What are your options now? What do you do when facing rejection? Take these simple steps and come away from the experience wiser and better equipped to manage your next job application and interview. 

Contact the employer immediately

Phone or email and ask politely for constructive feedback. Ask questions like, “Where did I fall short of the requirements?”, “Can you give me some advice that will help me with any future applications?”  Avoid sounding defensive but rather focus on the future and suggest to the company that they can assist you by providing you with honest feedback. Listen carefully to their answers, thank them for their time and input and make good use of their advice.

Conduct an audit of your job interview keeping their feedback in mind. Ask yourself these questions:

Did I do my homework ?

Did you find out sufficient information beforehand about the organization and the job. Did you know all about the job you were interviewing for – the tasks, responsibilities, skills and abilities it involved?.  How much detail did you have on the organization? Did you know your strengths, weaknesses, selling points, suitability? Was the position a good fit with your skills and abilities?

Did I make a good first impression?

First impressions are critically important in job interviews as they set the tone for the rest of the interview. Did you arrive on time? Were you appropriately dressed? When you saw how the company employees were dressed did you feel comfortable with what you were wearing? Did you greet the interviewer with a firm handshake and use the correct name?

Did I listen carefully and answer questions appropriately?

Were you clear about what the interviewer was asking you? Did you respond with the relevant information? Did the interviewer have to repeat the question to get the information he or she wanted? Were your responses fluent and well organized or did you stumble over your answers? Did you get the job interview questions you expected or were you taken by surprise?

Did I show my enthusiasm for the position?

Did you use positive words and project a positive message with your body language? Did you display confidence in your ability to do the job or were you nervous and unsure? Alternatively were you too pushy and dominated the discussion?

Did I have informed and relevant questions to ask the interviewer?

Did you prepare good and insightful questions to ask about the company, the job, the management and the industry? Were your questions based on solid information you had gathered during your interview preparation or did you quickly think up something to ask when the interviewer said, “Do you have any questions?”

Did I have the right documentation with me?

Did you have a portfolio with you that included references, work samples, extra copies of your resume? When the interviewer asked for a document were you able to produce it?

Did I close the interview and follow up appropriately?

Job interview rejection can be the result of the final minutes of the interview.  Had you addressed all the interviewer’s concerns before leaving?  Did you restate your interest in the position and close with an expression of appreciation for the interview opportunity?  Did you follow up with a thank you letter within 24 hours of the job interview?

Thinking through your job application and interview in a constructive and proactive way will allow you to work through your disappointment at job interview rejection and shift your focus to the next opportunity. Build on what you have learned and try to keep positive. Keep looking for the right opportunity and stay determined. Getting the right job requires dedication, a planned approach and a great deal of focused effort – it’s a job in itself! 

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