What To Do If You Don’t Get That Job

By Barry Chignell

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What To Do If You Don’t Get That Job

Interviewing for jobs isn’t the nicest experience in the world and is often stressful. There are countless articles online about what to do and what not to do when preparing for, and attending, an interview.
But what’s the best course of action if you don’t get the job?

Here’s what you can do to turn a seemingly negative experience into a positive one that you can learn and prosper from.


Take some time to go through the interview and make note of any obvious mistakes you may have made. It’s quite likely that you’ll know straight away when you’ve said the wrong thing or done something that could have damaged your chances, but sometimes it takes some reflection to spot an error.

It’s important to try and go through the process from the interviewer’s point of view. By seeing things form the other side of the interview table you may realise that assumptions you made were unfounded or things you may have said could have been misconstrued.

  • Were there any questions which you may have misunderstood?
  • Was there anything distracting you, either physically or mentally?
  • Did you say anything that could have cast doubt on you as a candidate?

There are a number of things that you definitely shouldn’t say or do during an interview. These include:

  • Arriving late
  • Criticising your past/current employer
  • Being argumentative
  • Being overly interested in sick leave and holiday policies
  • Not turning your phone off
  • Not researching the company

Try not to get too down about the rejection

Just because you didn’t get one job doesn’t mean that you’re destined to always fail. It’s often the case another candidate was successful for reasons out of your control and with multiple applicants interviewing for one vacancy, there will always be those that aren’t successful.

The deciding factor may have been that the successful applicant may have had slightly more experience in one of the ‘desirable’ requirements but were your equal in everything else.

Using the experience to improve your technique to do better next time turns the process into one which is positive and can be used for personal growth.

Ask for feedback and take action

There’s nothing wrong with asking the interviewer for feedback, it will be seen as a proactive and sensible thing to do.
It might be the case that a generic rejection notification has been sent which offers no specific feedback. This will offer nothing for you to work from and it’s up to you to request additional information form the employer.

Extra feedback may also uncover areas for improvement that you would have never considered. Body language is often subconscious to those doing it but obvious to someone else. If this is included in the feedback then practice on improving whatever trait it is that’s mentioned.

How you ask for feedback is also important. You need to use your own judgement when contacting the employer as to who you request the feedback from. In some cases this will be a member of HR as they were the one to book the interview and handle the correspondence. In other cases it will be the interviewer directly.

Don’t come across like you’re expecting them to justify their decision. Instead make it clear that in order to improve your technique you’d appreciate further critique regarding your application and interview.

Most businesses will be happy to provide this information and are fully aware that their recruitment processes form part of their employer brand. If they don’t provide any feedback, then move on and don’t waste time chasing.

When you receive constructive feedback make sure to act on it. Ignoring what the business tells you will simply mean that you’ll make all the same mistakes again at the next interview.

Using the feedback given you can rehearse an interview with a friend or partner. This will allow you to hone your technique, increasing your confidence and chances of future interview success.

Remember the ‘talent pool’

In order to optimise recruitment processes, many companies now keep talent pools of applicants. If you’re confident that you interviewed well, or you have feedback to this effect, then you will be included in this talent pool and be considered for future vacancies by the brand.

By utilising a talent pool, companies are able to negate the need for recruitment agencies for certain vacancies. This means that they’ll be able to contact you directly should a suitable position open up.
For this reason, it’s important to stay in contact with the brand. The easiest way to do this is online via sites like LinkedIn or Twitter (assuming the business has a social presence).

Interacting with brands online will keep you on their ‘radar’ and display that you have an ongoing interest in them.

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