The interview process for a new job can be grueling. In some cases, it can involve endless interviews, assessments, case studies and more. One job seeker who was told it would take around ten interviews pulled out of the running. He then shared his frustration in a LinkedIn post that went viral. With over 2 million views, 40,000 reactions, and 3,800 public comments, the support for his experience was palpable.
If you’ve had multiple rounds of interviews with weeks or months going by, you know how nerve-wracking it can be. Then you finally get the call. You think, “this is it, I got it.” And instead, it’s a flat rejection. Or worse, you hear nothing at all. So, naturally, not getting selected after all that effort can be frustrating and disheartening. Especially if you felt it was the perfect fit.
The question is, what do you do now? If you didn’t get the job you were hoping for, these dos and don’ts will help you turn disappointment into opportunity.
Don’t dwell in self-pity
There’s a saying—hardship is inevitable, but self-pity is optional. While it’s important to acknowledge your feelings, wallowing in a negative mindset will only set you back. It can even lead to mental and physical issues like depression and heart disease. Our perception creates our reality. So, by changing your viewpoint, you can change the experience.
Don’t quit trying
Having one bad date doesn’t mean you give up looking for your soul mate. It’s the same with interviewing. While it feels like a setback, it just means there’s something better out there for you.
Reflecting on the process is good. However, overanalyzing can be detrimental. Instead, try focusing on the bigger picture by writing a thank you note and planning your next move. Think of the process as a learning experience so you can make improvements for next time.
Don’t limit yourself
There are more than 11 million open positions in the US right now. You’re only looking for one. Don’t limit yourself by thinking you need to stay in the same industry or job function. You can change your career path at any age. Instead of focusing on the qualifications you don’t have, focus on the skills that can transfer to a new profession. Some examples include communication skills, adaptability, project management and critical thinking.
Do acknowledge your emotions
It’s never a good idea to sweep your emotions under the rug. Instead, acknowledge that you feel disappointed, sad and maybe even angry. Next, confide in family and close friends. Then commit to developing a resilient mindset and moving on.
Do ask for feedback
It’s good to ask for feedback post-interview with one caveat—consider the source. In the current job market, feedback is offered sparingly for many reasons. For one, recruiters may receive hundreds of job applications, making it difficult to provide feedback for each one. In addition, like many departments these days, the HR department may be strapped for resources. Most commonly, companies are concerned about saying anything to candidates that they could interpret as sexist, ageist, racist or any other form of discrimination. In the end, offering little to no feedback is safer for the company from a legal perspective.
Do reflect on the process
Reflect on the process to determine areas where you could improve. For example, did you do enough research beforehand? Did you prepare intelligent questions in advance? Was a practice interview part of your preparation strategy? It’s also a good idea to lean on your tribe. Share your job interview experience with people you trust and see what they think. They may have a different perspective and can give you honest feedback.
Do shift your perspective
Usually, it takes a lot of “no’s” to get to a “yes.” That’s why persistence is key. Focus not only on what you want to improve but also on what you did well during the interview process. Write those things down. Even just getting the interview itself is an accomplishment to be proud of. Who knows, you may even have the opportunity to interview with the same company for a better role in the future.
A rejection from a potential employer could hit you like a ton of bricks. But it doesn’t have to define you. Most often, things happen for a reason. Look at it as an opportunity for something better, and soon the right role will come along.