I feel like I’m really good at going on job interviews. I don’t mean to sound braggy, I actually find it kind of hilarious. I rock phone interviews. I wow the recruiter, and I make the hiring manager excited to meet me. I do really well in a Skype interview. Those things get me to a lot of in-person interviews where it’s just down to me and one other person. So while I’m really good at going on interviews, I’m not very good at actually getting the job. (Which is totally fine- I’ve gotten all the jobs I was meant to have and obviously I don’t want a job where it wouldn’t be a good mutual fit).
Because of this, I’ve had a lot of experience dealing with the aftermath of the “sorry, we went with the other guy” call/email. Sometimes it wasn’t a big deal because I didn’t feel very confident leaving their office (like the most recent interview I went on). Sometimes it was a bummer because I felt like I was qualified, but ultimately I was ok (like an interview I had with a major tech company a few years ago). And there have been one or two times where I was genuinely disappointed and might have shed a tear which seems very dramatic, I realize, but at the time I was just really upset (like an internship I really wanted in college).
Disappointments are always going to be a part of life, but I wanted to share some tried and true ways to handle the situation when you’ve gone through an interview process and don’t end up getting the job.
Let yourself feel disappointed. || It’s totally understandable to feel kind of down when a recruiter says sorry, but no. It’s ok to feel sad and even feel a little bit of a loss. If you’re like me, you immediately start planning you *new life* that will come along with this new job, and it can be terrible to let go of that.
Do something to make you happy. || But don’t go too crazy, now. Do something to perk yourself back up once you’ve heard the news. Get an ice cream cone. Go for a nice long walk. Buy some new stationary and send a card to a friend. Just a little something to get your spirits up.
Reflect on the parts of the interview that went well. || Think about the questions that you ROCKED. What were they? How did you answer them? What made you so confident for those portions of the interview? Write down your great answers so you can remember them for future interviews.
Reflect on the parts of the interview that did not go well. || If you can pinpoint certain parts or questions that were difficult for you, think about why. What were the questions? Were there any that you were not prepared for? How could you have improved your answer? Why didn’t you feel confident for those portions of the interview? Write down the tough questions so you can work on better answers for future interviews.
Ask for feedback. || This part isn’t necessary, especially if you know why an interview didn’t go well, but asking for feedback from the manager or recruiter (whoever you talked to) is one of the most important parts of a “failed” interview. They’ll usually be willing to tell you an area of weakness you can work on, a skill you should gain, if there was something else specific that made you seem like a less than ideal candidate, or if simply the other person was just a better fit.
Move on to the next one. || No minor setback is going to hold you down! Take what you’ve learned, and use that to improve yourself for the next time you have a job interview. It might not seem like it gets easier, but hopefully you’ll feel more prepared and land the job of your dreams!