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10 ways to bounce back from bad interviews and job rejection

10 ways to bounce back from bad interviews and job rejection

1. Keep some perspective

Being rejected doesn’t mean that your professional qualifications and personal attributes are anything less than spectacular. Employers weigh many considerations when recruiting staff – many of these factors are beyond your control. Keep it in perspective; their decision doesn’t necessarily reflect on you.

2. Don’t seek professional validation in an interview

Don’t set yourself up for a fall by using the interview process to seek professional validation. It may very well prove to be disastrous. Accept that rejection is part of the job search process.

3. Don’t take it personally

Don’t use the job interview as a measure of your professional worth. The decision to not hire you was based on the company’s specific criteria and needs which may or may not have anything to do with how you showed up at the interview. You may not have been a perfect match for this role; however, it does not mean that you’re not an outstanding professional with excellent attributes and talents.

It’s easy to blame yourself and focus on your imperfections. Focus on what you’re really good at, and what you’re passionate about.

4. You’re not alone

Understand that every day, countless others are sharing your experience. Reach out to others in similar situations. The mutual support and shared knowledge will be enormously helpful. Contacts and job leads, as well as friendships and offers to share technical expertise with each other, result when connecting with others who are on a similar job search journey.

Remember there isn’t a person alive who wasn’t picked last for a team, hasn’t asked someone to a dance who said no, didn’t get cast in the play, or didn’t get every job they interviewed for.

5. Don’t get defensive

If you hear something you disagree with from your feedback conversation, do not get defensive and confrontational. Thank the interviewer for their time, make note of their comments and discuss them with a spouse or trusted colleague or friend to see if they have any merit. When we ask for the opinion of others and disagree with their assessment, it’s common to feel angry, bitter or defensive.

Overcome these negative emotions and concentrate on the learning aspect this situation offers you.

6. Never burn your bridges

When you find out that you did not get the job, be gracious, thank the company for the opportunity, and offer to stay in touch. You never know when you may cross paths with these individuals again.

By conducting yourself in a professional manner and not burning any bridges, you have positioned yourself for another possible opportunity within the company in the future.

7. Leave the past in the past

Accept your responsibility for your part in the rejection and stop blaming everyone else. Without being negative or beating yourself up, acknowledge where you possibly went wrong, and put actions in place to prevent history from repeating itself. Go into your next interview with a clean slate and realise this company wants to hire you, otherwise you wouldn’t be there.

Leave your bad experience and rejection at the door. Don’t let any negative energy accumulate and do not bring up past rejections in your interviews.

8. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – Expand your options and opportunities

If you have been conducting an effective job search, you will have generated multiple opportunities and offers and this rejection won’t matter much, if at all. Of course, you will have your preferences, but never turn down an offer or turn down an interview for a viable opportunity while interviewing or negotiating with other companies.

Think broader about your career and look at related jobs. “When one door closes, another door opens”. It might sound like a cliché, but the lesson it teaches is true: this maybe an opportunity lost, however, it’s your chance to investigate others opportunities.

9. Learn from the experience

Ask yourself questions so you learn from the experience. What would you have done differently? What did you learn from the interviewing process? How would you have handled yourself differently? By asking questions, we focus on learning and growth and put corrective actions in place for moving forward. When weaknesses are pointed out, be prepared to put a plan in place to fix to them. If you do not learn from the experience, the problems will most likely re-occur in the future. Although rejection is sometimes hard to live through, the lessons we learn from it can be invaluable and position us for future success.

It’s hard to ask for an honest and objective review of your interview performance – especially from someone you may have only met once. But in order to do better next time, you need to know if there are areas you need to improve. Ask the people who interviewed you for direct and honest feedback.

10. Stay positive – Use your support systems

After a job rejection, the only thing you can control is your attitude. You can’t manage their hiring process or even influence it in your favour any more. But you can control your reaction to the circumstances. Allow yourself that moment of disappointment and then put on your best face and be positive. This will help you move on a lot more quickly, which is imperative to your job search.

No one wants to hire someone who is negative. As stated previously, rejection is hard enough to deal with but it’s harder when you deal with it on your own. We have the tendency to keep the news to ourselves, either out of embarrassment or fear. However, by sharing your circumstances with others, you will not only find support systems, more importantly you will let your networks know that you are still on the market and available for potential opportunities.


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CareerWise Recruitment. EastGate Village, EastGate, Little Island, Cork.

Phone: +353 (0) 21 206 1900