Rejected at Interview? It's nothing personal.

  | James Innes

Getting a call or email saying you have failed to get the job after an interview is never a nice experience. Often it can feel like a personal slight, especially if this has happened several times. The temptation is to get depressed and frustrated, and to allow your confidence to suffer.

Don't take it personally. Try to take the positives from the experience and move on to the next opportunity. If you didn't get the job, then it probably wasn't for you anyway.

There can be several valid reasons you didn't get the job, the most likely of which is that there was another candidate who just matched the requirements of the job better, or who had more relevant industry experience. It is not uncommon, for example, for companies to have an internal candidate in mind for a job and to benchmark their capabilities against external candidates. If this is the case, there is nothing you can do about it. There is an inherent bias towards the internal candidate and, unless you were significantly better than them, they are likely to go with the tried and tested as far as they are concerned.

Try and learn from the experience. If possible, ask for feedback, so you can learn if there was something wrong with your interview technique, or there were questions you should have asked. Not all interviewers will be prepared to share the reasons for rejection with you, but when, and if, they do, their feedback can provide valuable learnings for the next time.

Don’t look back in anger! Dwelling on the job you failed to get is wasted emotion. Far better to invest your time preparing for the next opportunity. Adapt your CV so that your skills and experience best match the new position on your list, research the organisation and prepare for a new interview. Treat each interview on its own merits. Even if you have failed several interviews before, remember that, provided you are well prepared and your skills and abilities match the position being filled, you have as good a chance as anybody at winning the job. Sometimes, succeeding is simply a question of trying again (and again!).

As with many skills in life, interviews are a matter of practice. The more interviews you do, the better you get. So even if you didn’t succeed this time, you got some more interview experience and you’ll be better prepared for next time when you might come out the winner!

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