Along your path to landing a new job, being rejected for a role you just interviewed for can be a major setback. While it can be discouraging to be passed on for a position after you’ve invested so much of your time and effort into it, it’s important to remember that there’s always something positive to take away from an unsuccessful interview. For example, it’s a great opportunity to reflect and think about how you could have done things differently.
Whether it’s fine tuning your resume strategy or perfecting interview responses, here are 4 do’s and don’ts for handling a job rejection:
1. Do make it a learning experience, but don’t be a sore loser
Think about what went wrong during the pre-screening or the interview stages. For example, maybe the questions you asked weren’t specific enough to the role, or you were too vague in your responses to “out of the box questions.” To ensure you’re learning from the experience, think about ways to improve how you emphasize certain aspects of your professional profile (i.e., technical skills, soft skills, etc.) with different employers.
On the other hand, don’t use this rejection as a reason to think you might not be a good fit for the type of role you want. Often times, job seekers make the mistake of letting one bad interview influence how they think and act with prospective employers moving forward. Don’t let one bad experience discourage you from pursuing your career goals.
2. Do keep in touch with the employer, but don’t act immaturely
Send a concise ‘thank you note’ to all parties involved in the interview. Thank them for taking time out of their schedules to meet with you, and write that although things didn’t turn out the way you had hoped, you’d appreciate if they kept you in mind for any similar opportunities that may arise in the future.
However, don’t bash the employer on social media or speak to another employee within the company about your unhappiness with their decision. In addition, don’t blame the interviewer, the company, or the types of questions they asked as the reasons for why you weren’t chosen. Nothing says “I’m an unprofessional job seeker” like speaking negatively about a company’s hiring procedures (publicly or to higher authority) simply because you didn’t get the job.
3. Do address your pain points, but don’t dwell on them
You should ask for feedback about your performance if you can. Whether it is from a friend you talked with after the interview or your interviewer(s), try to get an idea of what your challenges were and seek out recommendations for improving those areas.
On a related note, don’t assume you did everything perfectly. For instance, some hiring managers prefer candidates that provide additional documents (i.e., presentation, written assignment, etc.) before an outlined deadline, while other employers might prefer a candidate that follows instructions exactly how they are given. Therefore, think about how the interview process will differ amongst the type of employers you’re interested in working for, and how you can better tailor your approach for your next interview.
4. Do keep your job search moving, but don’t settle
Finally, you should continue to search for new opportunities that you feel will be the right fit for you. Rather than settling for the first company that offers you a job, put more focus on finding a role where you truly fit into the company culture. Why? Spending the time to find a company culture that you mesh well with will make all of the difference in building the right professional connections and skills towards a successful career path.