They loved your CV and you left the interview so confident that you absolutely nailed it.
So why didn’t you get the job?
First and foremost, it’s crucial not to take it personally (unless you chose to respond to questions via the medium of interpretive dance, that is). It can be easy to let yourself feel hard done by or to get angry and upset about what is essentially a rejection. Keep in mind that there is a multitude of reasons as to why you didn’t get the job, some of which are in your control, and some that aren’t. Let’s divide those up.
Reasons within your control
- Your application – does your background, experience and skill set really match the role or were you hoping it did? Sometimes wishful thinking can take over and you can go for roles that others would be better suited to, believing the HR person is feeling compassionate and will for some reason decide to give your CV more of a chance than others more suited to the role. Don’t kid yourself. It’s often for this reason that many choose to use a recruitment agency to help with job hunting. Recruitment consultants are experts in knowing exactly which candidates fit which roles, so if you’re struggling, consider signing up to an agency. It’s their job to only put you forward for jobs you stand a great chance of landing.
- Your interview – Jokes about interpretive dance aside, was there anything about the interview that you could have done better? Did you know enough about the company? Did you stumble on any questions or go off on a tangent with your answers?
- Your demeanour – Were you nervous and was that obvious? Did you convey passion for the role?
It’s a good idea to consider factors, such as the above, and perform a ‘post mortem’ on your application. This way, you may well uncover flaws that you can work at fixing before the next job opportunity.
Reasons beyond your control
- The hiring company knows the successful candidate – There’s a lesson to be learned here in keeping professional relationships healthy and current. The candidate you lost out to could well have had an existing relationship with the company, meaning they’re already in the know about the company culture, history and know a lot of employees. This, you can do nothing about and it’s common.
- The successful candidate had a great ‘personal brand’. It’s one of those recurrent buzzwords but it really does count these days. Creating an appealing personal brand is an asset you cannot afford to be without, and it can be that which makes you stand out from the crowd – crucial for professional success.
- Personal referral or connection within the company – Similar to the hiring company knowing the candidate, the successful applicant may have had a good connection inside the company. Another lesson to learn – keep your contacts both from jobs you’ve had and from interviews you’ve attended. No burning bridges. Ever.
There’s no two ways about it – being rejected for a job is a truly awful feeling. The important part is how you deal with it. If you let it get you down, you will end up losing confidence and drive and may continue to lose out on job opportunities as a result.
So don’t let the rejection beat you – use it as incentive to buckle down, improve your applications and land the job!