You spent ages tailoring your resume, you put your full effort into writing a top-notch cover letter and you put your most charming self forward in your job interview. They’d be silly not to hire you on the spot, right?
Unfortunately, even when you feel like you’ve done everything you possibly could have to land a job, it doesn’t always pay off. This doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s anything wrong with you or you’re entirely unemployable, so there is no point beating yourself up! There may just have been somebody in the running who is better suited to the role, or perhaps you didn’t champion your most valuable qualities as much as you could have.
Receiving a job rejection can be pretty disheartening and it’s tempting to give up there and then; however it’s better to see it as a learning opportunity. Always ask for feedback after a job interview, so you know where you may have gone wrong or how you came across in the interview, as you may be able to improve on these areas next time round.
If you look at rejection in a more positive light, here are a few lessons that you can learn from it:
A level of confidence is certainly a good quality to demonstrate in an interview, as the interviewer wants someone who is self-assured and can communicate professionally; however there is a line to be crossed between confidence and arrogance. Don’t enter the interview with the assumption that you’ve got it in the bag or that they would be silly not to take you on, as this kind of attitude isn’t very attractive in a potential employee and you are likely to rule yourself out of the running! Though it is important for you to share your top skills and achievements, be modest when discussing them, as no one likes a show off!
While you want to demonstrate that you have the qualities that the company is looking for, they also want to learn a bit about who you are as a person and how you would fit in with the rest of the team. Be genuine and show your personality. If they then decide that you wouldn’t suit the culture of their company, then trust their judgement as they could well be right and you don’t want to end up in an environment that makes you unhappy.
In the large part, job interviews are about learning about your strengths and what you could bring the job; however it is also quite common for interviewers to quiz you about what you feel your weaknesses are, so be prepared to provide them with an answer that is honest, but you can turn into a positive. Being able to identify your weaknesses is a good thing, as it demonstrates self awareness and the motivation to improve yourself.
Always ask questions in a job interview. It should be a two way process, so that you can learn everything you want to know about the role and the company and it demonstrates that you are truly interested in the job. Though you will be given the opportunity to ask questions at the end, asking questions throughout the interview will show that you are listening to what your interviewer is saying and also allows you to take a bit of control over the conversation, to steer it in the direction you would like.
If you’ve been invited in for an interview, they have probably already read your resume, so there’s no need to repeat it word for word. They want to learn more about you and what you are capable of, so elaborate on your past experience and achievements in more detail and share specific examples and stories that they could not learn from a document. They also want to get an idea about your communication style and work ethic from your interview, so try to come across and approachable and professional.
Rather than seeing a job rejection as purely a negative experience, try to look at it in a more positive light. For example, if you were rejected on the basis that the interviewer didn’t think you were a good culture fit, they may have saved you from starting a job where you would struggle to fit in. And if you were turned down based on a mistake you made, you know what to avoid in your next interview! Not every job that you interview for is going to be a good fit, so think positively and get back on the horse! Sometimes rejection is a blessing in disguise anyway!
Don’t just assume that the job is yours after a seemingly successful interview. You may be a good candidate, but there could always be an even better candidate competing for the job and other factors such as a decision to delay the hiring or scrap the role entirely could also lead to a rejection. So if you’re looking for a new job, try not to pin all your hopes on one role and make use of the time waiting for a response by looking for other opportunities. There’s nothing wrong with keeping your options open and the more jobs you apply for, the higher your chances of being offered one.
Not everything is meant to be, so don’t get yourself down if you aren’t offered the first job that you interview for! Most people will face rejection and some point or another, so persist with your job hunt, take on board any feedback you have received and your time will come!
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