3 Things to Do When You Didn't Get the Job

There's nothing more frustrating than investing in an interview process, only to be rejected by the prospective employer. Before you sink into an abyss of self-recrimination, think constructively about the situation. You might find an opportunity amidst the disappointment.

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(Photo Credit: Mike Licht/Flickr)

1. Recognize that you're going to feel bad for a bit.

What's worse than giving up and hiding under the covers with a bag of M&Ms? Trying to convince yourself that you're not going to grieve. It won't work, and you'll feel worse than you would have if you hadn't tried to suppress a completely natural reaction.

2. Don't beat yourself up.

"[W]hile you may think you were turned down because your resume wasn't quite impressive enough, in reality the company could have made an internal hire or discontinued the job listing altogether," writes Melody Wilding at The Daily Muse. "Even if you know you were turned away because you weren't the best fit for the role, be careful not to overgeneralize the situation -- accusing yourself of being incapable of ever getting a job."

Wilding suggests reframing the narrative in a more positive way. For example, if you didn't get the job, and wish that you'd done something differently during the interview, tell yourself that you've learned something for next time. (While understanding that there's every chance that their decision not to hire you probably had nothing to do with missed opportunities on your part.)

3. Follow up with the employer.

Once you've calmed down, consider dropping a line to the hiring manager to thank her for the opportunity to interview, and to wish the team the best of luck.

It's fine to ask the company to keep you in mind for other positions, but career experts advise you never to use the thank-you letter as an opportunity to ask what you did wrong.

"Never ask why you didn't get the job. It could put the hirer on the defensive and make them feel uncomfortable, pretty much ensuring that they won't contact you about other possibilities," executive coach Ronald Kaufman tells Forbes.

Tell Us What You Think

Have you ever written to an employer after not getting the job? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

2 Comments

  1. 2 Arie 26 Feb
    I have asked follow up questions about why I didn't get the job and got feedback about the application process.  The employer did say he'd be willing to give feedback about the interview before I asked and I didn't really learn much about why I didn't get it that I didn't already know.  However, it at least was confirmation and it did show what I needed to change to do better in the next application with them. So I don't agree with the 3rd point.  I see the follow up note after you didn't get it more as asking why you didn't get it letter that says BTW thanks for the interview opportunity, not vice versa (i.e. an interview thank you note that asks what went wrong).
  2. 1 Bee Li Choong 04 Feb

    When I don't get the job, it means that the organisation has no idea what I'm capable of achieving. It takes more than interviews to put me off. Am confident to know that my years of experiences ,performance profit achievements and the number of talented people that I have motivated when they were too put down,and has pulled themselves up and achieved in a positive manner, makes me the happiest person on earth. It's not about a job but a job well done!Organisations that lack the foresight to see potential in each and every individual has no idea that there is talent lurking right in front of their eyes. Sad!

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