What to do if you don’t get the role

jobseekerseries 17


Don’t be disheartened if you do not hear back from your interviewer immediately post interview. If you’ve been introduced to the hiring organisation by a recruitment company your recruiter is usually highly motivated to get a response for you but clients aren’t always as prompt as we’d like them to be. It may be days, and sometimes even several weeks, before you hear back on whether you have been successful or not – but do make sure you get that definitive ‘yes or no’ answer from your recruiter, or the hiring manager if you have been dealing with the hiring organisation directly, as this will help to shape your next move. Unfortunately, by the very nature of looking at multiple people for a role, disappointment and losing out to other candidates does happen and this may happen to you. Therefore, it is important to prepare yourself for a scenario in which you are not successful so that you are able to process this and not be discouraged in your job search.

In the event that this does happen:

  1. Consider any setback as a learning experience

    As clichéd as it sounds, we all learn from our experiences and interviewing is no different. It is important to take time after the interview to reflect on how things went from your point of view. Make a list of what went well, and what didn’t, what questions you stumbled over, where you felt you connected with the interviewer, and where you felt a disconnect.  Think about how you might have been more prepared. Analysing an interview can be difficult (especially if things didn’t go to plan!) but it is key to your self-development and will benefit you in future interviews.

  2. Take on feedback with an open mind

    You should request feedback (both positive and negative) from the interviewer, their perspective is highly relevant and they will likely point things out to you that you would not have picked up on yourself. All good recruiters will be seeking this on your behalf if they have put you forward to a client.  Unfortunately, not all interviewers will have the time to provide your recruiter, or you, with specific feedback so if they do be gracious that they took the time to provide this to you. Try to not feel offended if you are presented with constructive criticism, the purpose is not to be nasty but to help you realise where you can make improvements and the sooner you do this the sooner you will be on the path to success. Requesting feedback also shows the interviewer that you are motivated to learn and improve yourself and this may pave the way for you to be considered for future roles with the organisation.

  3. Remember that you were not the only candidate that interviewed

    Unless you are in niche occupation, in most hiring situations you will be considered along with a number of other candidates during a hiring process. There may be a candidate that the hiring manager believes has a slight advantage over you for the specific role they are hiring for.  This could be more specific skills, a few more years’ experience or perhaps they have worked with the organisation previously. This could mean that this candidate becomes the preferred, and eventually hired, regardless of how well you perform in your interview. If you are confident that you presented yourself as best as you could, demonstrated all your relevant experience and competencies, and communicated in an engaging manner, but were still unsuccessful then don’t let it knock you, hold onto that confidence and it will serve you well for your next interview.

  4. Broaden your Horizons

    If you have had a few unsuccessful interviews whilst applying for roles of a similar nature then it may be time to step back and consider alternative options. In a tight job market, it can be a struggle to secure employment in just the right area as you see it so you it might be time to explore roles that you have the core skills for, but which may be out of your comfort zone. You may need to open yourself up to the idea of travelling a bit further afield, relocating or even transferring your skills to other types of roles and industries. This could be a good opportunity to grow professionally and broaden your horizons. If you are unsure of what different options there might be out there for you consider talking to your recruiter or a career coach to seek advice.

  5. Don’t take it too personally

    An interview rejection is not a personal attack and you should not look on it in that way. In the end, only one person (in most cases) can be chosen for the role and there is a plethora of reasons why one person might be chosen over the other. This process can often cause tension between hiring managers with varying opinions.

    If it’s not you this time then chin up, stay positive and use what you have learned to make you stronger for your next interview. Your time will come.