Nobody likes getting the ‘thanks but no thanks’ from a potential employer. Sometimes though, no matter how hard you try, these things happen. It’s disappointing, but it doesn’t need to be a waste of time.
Making the most of not getting the job
I don’t want to downplay how discouraging it can be when you don’t get the role you applied for. We have all experienced it, and yes, it can be a real knockback. That said, I also don’t see it as a waste of time because there is often a lot to be learned from the experience. The more you know about why you didn’t get a job on this occasion, the more chance you have of getting the next one. So, what can you do that will help you turn the rejection into a positive for your career?
Most employers will give some feedback, and you should really pay attention to what was said about why they didn’t choose you. Anything that came up as a negative will give you a list to work on. If it was experience, then that will resolve over time or tell you where to expand your knowledge. If it was a skills-based issue, then add it to the list of areas where you need to develop your training. Whatever the reason, you will be being handed a roadmap to follow when it comes to the next application.
Interestingly, many candidates actually get a bit of a boost from the feedback even though they didn’t succeed on this occasion. It’s often the case that a small thing made a big difference in the end. We regularly hear that a little bit of experience or a minor skill was the only difference between candidates. While it isn’t much of a comfort to miss out on the role by a whisker, you will at least know you are definitely in the running for any similar opportunities in the future.
What else can you do?
If you don’t get any feedback or the feedback isn’t very helpful, don’t stop looking to improve. There are still a few things you can do to work out what happened.
- Go back over your CV and application information and check it says everything you want to tell potential employers. It’s easy to miss off a small and sometimes seemingly unimportant item that could tip the balance later.
- Think about the interview but try to see how things looked from the other side of the desk. Did you ask and answer questions well? Was the tone friendly or more formal, and did you respond with a similar tone? Were there any moments where you felt you could have said more or done more (or perhaps even said less if you are a bit over-talkative sometimes)? Think about how well all the conversations went and try to find anything that may have affected the outcome.
- Did you do your homework and research the company enough? If you didn’t, then the potential employer may well have picked up on it. It’s best to really get to know the business and, even if you already do know them, take the time to make sure you are up to date.
- Did you overreach your current career level or overestimate your suitability for the role? When you make the decision to apply for a new job, you are usually looking for something better or a job that will enhance your career. There is nothing wrong with wanting to take the next step as long as you are ready for it. Sometimes, we can get a bit over-optimistic and accidentally exaggerate our suitability a little.
- Did your online presence come back to haunt you? Remember, you are very visible on social media, so it may be worth looking through what public information there is about you. Anything damaging or not particularly flattering is probably worth deleting or hiding.
- Was it just a case of personalities not quite gelling?
Sometimes you can breeze through the interview, smash the whole thing and still not get the job because it was between you and another candidate, and they came across as a better fit for the team. It happens; there is nothing to be done about it, and, honestly, it may well be better to find that out now rather than later.
Learn and move on
Finally, don’t take it to heart. Pick yourself up, learn from the experience and move on to the next opportunity. In the end, we all face rejection now and again, and it could just be that this was not your day. Review, renew your approach, and let’s see what we can do to make the next interview the one that gets you the perfect job.