As every job seeker knows, not every interview ends in a job offer. When the rejection letter comes, you feel disappointed that you didn’t get the job, and you move on. Then, you apply for another job, try to learn from your mistakes and get some tips on how to boost your success rate.
In other words, you should not allow interview “failures” to lower your confidence or hamper your efforts to seize future opportunities.
Here are a few ways to deal with unsuccessful interviews:
It's okay to be frustrated
First, it is understandable to be upset or angry when you encounter failures. It is a part of life and you just have to learn how to handle it.
It can be healthy and productive to get upset and vent your frustrations, provided that you do it privately or with a friend. Explain your feelings, such as why you feel that whatever happened was unjustified. After venting your feelings, take some time to calm down.
Don’t burn your bridges
After the interview, be courteous. Thank the interviewer for his time even if you feel the interview did not go well. Even after the company informs you that you were unsuccessful, send your interviewer a Thank You note. You never know when you will cross paths with him again. Many sectors of the economy are relatively close-knit. In other words, employees of one firm may be quite familiar with employees and managers of another firm in the same field.
If you applied unsuccessfully for a different position within your company, do not let the rejection adversely impact your performance — you don’t want to end up losing your current job.
See it as a learning experience
You learn and grow from your experiences. Failure can teach you to be a better person. Politely ask the company representative or interviewer — if you have access to him — for feedback on why you did not get the job.
Remember that it is difficult to give bad news, so don’t get upset if you don’t get a straight answer. If they do give reasons, it is important to pay attention and keep an open mind. This will tell you if you have a second chance or not. Ask why you were not the strongest candidate and use the answers to prepare yourself for next time.
Once you have gotten over the disappointment, put yourself in the shoes of the interviewer and think about why you had failed. Ask yourself: What could I have done differently? What did I learn from the interviewing process? How would I have handled certain questions differently?
Jotting down the answers and the lessons you learned from the experience transfers your thoughts to paper and is a good way of letting go.
Digest the facts
Moving forward to seek new opportunities involves overcoming the challenge of knowing that you can do everything right and still face rejection.
First, you don’t know who the other candidates are. Perhaps someone else has that X factor that gives him an edge over you. Second, sometimes what the hiring committee members say they want in the job description and who they hire may differ.
The truth is that hiring decisions are often subjective. Interviews are about finding the right “fit” and that is not quantifiable. Rejection is a natural part of the interview process. Don’t take rejection as a judgment against you — it is not personal.
Sometimes, people fail to see the positive side. The fact that you were shortlisted for the interview from a bigger pool of applicants counts for something. Obviously, you met some of the requirements the interviewers were looking for.
Getting rejected can be a blessing in disguise. A much better opportunity could be waiting for you. Engage in positive self-talk and encourage yourself to do better. Don’t drown your sorrows in food, alcohol, cigarettes or expensive shopping trips — even after a few rejections. You will be unhealthier and poorer — and still be without a job.
A successful person understands what failure really is. Failure is merely feedback and that feedback calls for adjustments. Your success mechanism cannot work without that feedback.
Always remember that if you have worked hard for the interview and are rejected, that organisation is losing someone who has a heart for them, and you are losing an employer who doesn’t. Most successful people have suffered some kind of failure before they experienced success. As motivational speaker Robert H. Schuller says: “Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure, it just means you haven’t succeeded yet.”