Handling interview rejection
There are very few people who are successful at every interview they attend and, whilst unpleasant, dealing with rejection is an important skill to possess.
Don’t allow rejection to affect your confidence as this may influence how you perform in the future. Instead, try to pick out the positives from the situation and look at ways in which you can use the experience to your advantage in the future.
Here are some other things you should remember if you want to overcome rejection and maintain the positivity and motivation that will help you secure the right job:
Don’t take it personally
It will always be useful to assess your performance in a bid to improve your future prospects. However, it is also important to remember that there may be other factors that led to your rejection. Most offers of employment are not made purely on a single interview. If you tried your best and prepared fully, you may have to accept that you may simply not have been the right person for that particular role.
It is possible that you were seen as an excellent candidate but, ultimately, could not compete with an internal applicant who already had an in-depth knowledge of the business, or someone who had more sector-specific experience. There will always be factors beyond your control and realising this will allow you to move forward with your confidence intact.
Find out why
Don’t simply see a rejection as an indication of your lack of ability. Instead, ask the employer or recruiter for detailed feedback to allow you to improve your performance if necessary.
If you receive only vague or bland feedback, you may want to consider setting up a mock interview with an HR professional, who will be able to give you a clearer idea as to what you are doing right and where you may be making mistakes.
If you are communicating through a recruiter, try to be understanding if the feedback you receive is too vague to be truly helpful. Recruiters can only pass on feedback provided by employers, which can sometimes be neglected as a result of busy schedules and other priorities.
See the individual opportunities
Don’t allow past rejections to stop you from taking full advantage of future opportunities. View each chance of employment as a new chapter, requiring a specific perspective and a fresh approach.
Your CV should be tailored to each new position, as should your research and preparation. Learn from past mistakes but file any negativity away before interview. The reality is that every interviewer is different and a past rejection does not mean that you will not be the ‘perfect’ candidate the next time around.
Rather than spending time obsessing about the reasons behind a rejection, channel your energy into further improving your skill set and enhancing your appeal to future employers.
This will not only reinforce your motivation and morale but it can also help to make certain that your skills and experience are up-to-date and improve your chances of success at future interviews.
You could sign up for a part-time course, volunteer at an interesting company, or take part in a mentorship or charity project. The knowledge or experience you gain may not be specifically related to the next role for which you apply but, it will look good on your CV and could add to your interest-value at interview.
Building up a rapport with your interviewer can give you a much better chance of success, whether this is because they can see that you share a common professional goal or ethos, or because it allows you to feel more relaxed and perform to your full potential.
You don’t need to leave an interview feeling as though you have made a friend for life but it is a good sign if you can exit believing that you have created enough of a rapport that you will be remembered in a positive light.
If creating this sort of rapport seems challenging when you have so many other things to think about, here are a few handy hints to help you along the way:
Hint 1: Research the company
Finding out more about the company for which you want to work will allow you to discover common interests and to speak knowledgeably, perhaps including interesting facts you have discovered and current events that have importance for the business.
This is an easy route to demonstrating your preparation and building that all-important rapport. It is also a good way of avoiding basic mistakes. If your research unveils a company that has an obviously-smart dress code, for example, it would be a bad move to turn up for interview in anything but a suit.
Hint 2: Show your enthusiasm
You want to build up a rapport as quickly as possible but without being overly familiar at the outset. Use open questions to encourage conversation and try to communicate in a friendly and positive way that demonstrates your interest in the role.
Showing your enthusiasm can be one of the most important things you can do if you want to set yourself apart from other candidates with similar experience and skills.
Hint 3: Engage
Try to mirror the body language of your interviewer. This is a sign that you are engaged in the conversation. Don’t be too obvious about it, however, or you risk looking strange rather than enthusiastic.
Listen carefully to what is being said and try and repeat some of your interviewer’s comments with obvious signs of approval – although subtlety should still prevail.
Steer clear of any contentious issues. Don’t talk about religion or politics and stick to relevant topics unless an informal question is asked.
Try to create the impression that you share your interviewer’s thinking, share a common professional outlook and enjoy the same working practices.
Don’t focus solely on rapport-building, however, as you also need to proactively sell yourself. Pleasant conversation alone will not get you the job.
Hint 4: Send a post-interview thank you
Send a thank you email via your recruiter or directly to the prospective employer. This will demonstrate your genuine interest in the role, continue the dialogue, and convey your gratitude for being given an opportunity.