Practical Steps to Take After Rejection from a Job Interview

“We decided to go with someone with more experience.”

“Thank you for applying. We have decided to pursue other applicants.”

“I would like to inform you that we have already filled the position.”

Rejection stings, especially so when the reasons for rejection seem vague or cliché. However, the reality is that nearly everyone, including the likes of Jack Ma and Steve Jobs, has faced countless rejections in their lifetime. The key is to deal with the rejection and turn the negative experience into a positive one.

Here are 5 practical steps you can take after facing rejection.

1. Reflect on how the interview went

Think about how the job interview went and consider the following:

Pen these reflections down and think of possible areas you can improve on.

2. Don’t take it personally

A rejection may lead to thoughts like “maybe the interviewer didn’t like me” or “maybe they thought I was too old or not old enough.” As difficult as it seems, you should avoid projecting your impressions and assumptions onto the employer. Often, the reasons for rejection may not be apparent to you.

Instead, focus on your strengths, contributions and value proposition that you can bring to companies.

Don’t be discouraged when you get rejected. Tell yourself, maybe it is not the right employer for me. Just go for the experience, and then say, I will wait for the best employer to come along.

– Pang Li Kin, Founder and Chair, Image Mission

3. Send a thank-you note

You are unlikely to feel kind and generous after getting rejected, but we encourage you to do so anyway. Send a personal thank you note to the interviewer and thank them for their time and the opportunity to learn more about their organisation. Your gracious act can keep you in the minds of employers when a position opens up.

4. Ask for feedback

Although interviewers may not wish to share their reasons for turning you down, there is no harm in asking for constructive feedback. Try saying something like: “If you have any feedback for me, I’d love to use it to improve and become a stronger candidate for the future.” Getting feedback from interviewers can offer great insights into specific areas you can improve on for the next interview.

5. Work out your next steps

  • Consolidate your reflections and feedback and work out the next steps of your job search.
  • Take a fresh approach in preparing for the next interview, or even considering other job roles.
  • More importantly, avoid being fixated on one job prospect.
  • Speak to a Career Coach or a mentor to identify potential blind spots and get unbiased feedback.

Getting rejected is never easy. However, having a growth mindset means taking every opportunity to gain useful insights to improve yourself and your job search. Look up, and don’t stop trying!

Never feel shame for trying and failing, for he who has never failed is he who has never tried

– Og Mandino.