About the Author: Ali Turner is a recent liberal arts graduate, professional writer and career blogger. She’s also an managing editor of CampusestoCareers.info, an online publication that helps young people make informed decisions about their career and education path. Topics Ali has covered include is a liberal arts degree useless and how to make money while in college.
No one likes getting the call (or even worse, the impersonal email) that lets them know they didn’t get the job. If you’re anything like me, you build yourself up after every interview, just to be crushed when the company chooses to go with another candidate.
This let down has happened to me more times than I care to admit, and it never gets easier. However, I have learned that I don’t have to take rejection lying down. Even if you didn’t get the job, there are some things you can and should do to improve your chances for next time.
Find out what went wrong.
Have you ever gotten rejected from a job you thought you were sure to get? This happened to me during one of my first job interviews out of college, and it taught me one of my most important job seeking lessons.
I thought the interview went extremely well, so I was completely shocked when I got the rejection email. I had absolutely no idea what went wrong.
After a few minutes of contemplation, I worked up the courage to contact the person who interviewed me and ask her why she didn’t hire me. She responded almost immediately with tons of tips on how I could improve my interviewing skills.
It may be uncomfortable, awkward, or even downright humiliating, but you’ll never know for sure what went wrong if you don’t ask. Contact the interviewer without being accusatory or rude. I usually start my email with something like the following:
“I wanted to thank you again for the opportunity to interview with your company. If I could have just a few more minutes of your time, I’d like to discuss why I wasn’t chosen for the position so I can improve my chances during my next interview.”
I have learned a lot about my interviewing strengths and weaknesses by simply inquiring. Not every interviewer will respond, but you have nothing to lose by asking.
Discover who you’re up against.
These days, almost everyone is on LinkedIn. When I am rejected for a job, I wait a few weeks and then search on LinkedIn to find out who was hired for the position. A quick Google search almost always reveals the name of the person who was hired, and the candidate’s LinkedIn page tells me everything I need to know about his or her professional background.
It’s not stalking (really!), it’s just smart. You will find out a lot about what companies are looking for this way. For example, I learned from doing this a few times that companies were looking for certain computer skills I didn’t have. I was able to spend some time on my own learning these skills so I could be more competitive in the future.
Practice, practice, practice.
After every job interview, I used to write down the questions I had trouble with so I would be able to better prepare an answer for my next interview. I would then practice my answers to these questions with a friend. Not all the questions were repeated, but many of them were. This extra preparation and practice helped me a great deal in future job interviews, because I could feel myself performing a little better each time.
Getting rejected after a job interview is never fun, but it doesn’t have to make you wallow in despair. Remember, you have only failed if you didn’t learn from the experience. If you’ve been rejected, there’s plenty you can do to move forward, grow, and increase your chances of landing your dream job the next time around.