What to Do When You Don’t Land the Job

Learning that you didn’t get the job, especially one you had high hopes for, can be discouraging. This feeling is often amplified if you’ve been job hunting for a while and facing multiple rejections.

While the typical advice is to “move on and keep going,” actually doing that can be pretty challenging.

Here are some thoughts and strategies to help you navigate this tough time:

Reflect on Your Interview Performance

If possible, seek constructive feedback from the interviewer. For instance, a candidate I once interviewed asked for feedback, and I advised her to rely less on her notes to avoid appearing scripted. She appreciated the insight and planned to be more spontaneous in future interviews.

I advised another candidate to share more examples from his professional experience rather than his volunteer work to showcase his skills better. He found this advice valuable for improving his interview performance.

Even if feedback isn’t offered, conduct your own self-assessment. Consider if there were aspects of your answers, attire, first impression, or questions that could be refined.

Remember, sometimes you may have performed well, but another candidate simply had more relevant qualifications or experience.

Handle Feedback Gracefully

When you do receive feedback, accept it with an open mind. Even if you disagree, thank the person for their input and refrain from reacting negatively or arguing. Doing so would only portray you as unprofessional.

Here’s an example of a professional response I received from a candidate after informing her that she wasn’t selected:

Dear Mr. Walsh,

Thank you for your call and the feedback you provided. Although I am disappointed that I was not chosen, I trust the company has selected the right candidate. Please keep my resume on file for any future opportunities that may arise. It was a pleasure meeting you.

Best regards,

Candidate’s Name

Network with the Interviewer

If you left a good impression, the interviewer might still be a valuable contact in your job search. Connect with them on LinkedIn and keep in touch occasionally. This can open doors for future opportunities, as they might consider you for other roles or recommend you to others.

Move Forward with Positivity

Avoid dwelling on past interviews. Holding onto these experiences can hinder your performance in future ones. Maintain your momentum by approaching new opportunities with energy and optimism. The right job for you is out there; persistence and a positive attitude will help you find it.

Rejection is never easy, but with the right mindset and strategies, you can turn it into a stepping stone towards your next opportunity. Keep pushing forward, and you’ll eventually land the job meant for you.