What if you didn't get the job?

So after an online chat, two in-person interviews and a test (which you felt you really aced), you didn’t get the job. Ouch. Nobody enjoys rejection and it would be tempting to just stay in your current job, hold a ceremonial burning of your CV, and consider yourself done until retirement.

But, as they say, persistence pays off and this really is one of those times. First, take a minute and a walk around the block to wash the feeling of rejection away and start again.

Clearly it wasn’t the job for you. So read on for ways to turn this negative into a positive.

Was it something I said?

Not every job application is answered with a polite, signed letter of rejection. Many are answered with nothing but silence, never to be heard from again.

But if you’ve missed out on a job after one or more interviews, you could call or email your

interviewer, thank them for the opportunity and very respectfully ask why you were not chosen.

If an employer is prepared to impart such information, and you’re willing to scoff humble pie for just a few minutes, you could gain gold dust in constructive criticism far beyond “not being the suitable candidate”.

Hopefully you will genuinely learn more about how you did including:

  • If you’re lacking a particular skill set, qualification or experience.

  • If you didn’t come across well in one part of the interview, hadn’t adequately researched something or didn’t ask the right questions .

Or, you might feel better if you learn that they hired internally or had a decade more experience than you.

Reflect on your own performance

If nothing else, you can consider your time in the interview room a learning experience. But you can also gear yourself up for a better interview next time by reflecting on your performance, the questions asked of you and how your answers stood up.  Ask yourself:

  • Were there any sticking points? If so, evaluate what they were, research them and rehearse an answer for next time.

  • Were you missing any qualifications and if so, can you gain them?

  • Were you asked for any skills or experience which you did not have?

Upskill for the next round

If some gaps have emerged in your skill set, experience or interview answers, then spend time remedying these. You can do this by:

  • Taking on a volunteer role to give you, for instance, managerial or financial management experience.

  • Doing an online course to gain skills or certificates.

  • Shadowing a colleague or someone senior to you in your current job.

  • Participating in online forums.

Keep the door open

Even if you didn’t get the job this time, the employer could have another job opening in the future. This is why, when you’re turned down for the job, it’s critical to stay polite, even- tempered, and friendly in your response..

Make it known that you would be interested in hearing from them in the future by sending an email to thank them for their time and ask to be updated on any future positions, and stay connected with the HR manager or other contact person, either with a regular email or online.

Put yourself out there

Rather than waiting for the right job vacancy to appear and applying with a great CV and catchy cover letter, you can also get proactive by creating a digital presence and personal brand. This can get you noticed by recruiters and employers before they’ve even written a job vacancy ad, perhaps before the position even exists.

For more info on this check out Be the hunted – not the hunter.