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Troubleshooting Your Job Search (Part 4 of 5): How to move on from an unsuccessful interview process

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It’s hard not to take it personally when you receive the dreaded email informing you that you are not proceeding in the interview process, or when the recruiter calls to let you know that another candidate received the job offer.

My intention with this blog series is to provide you with tools for reflection and improvement, but there is no recipe to follow for guaranteed success. When you’re in the midst of a search, all you can do is keep at it—apply for the right jobs, prepare for interviews, and do your homework. Eventually, the right fit will come along.

Remind yourself not to take rejection personally. Feeling discouraged is normal, but don’t let it stop you from taking the next step, and then the next. Below are some reflections that may help you as you move on.

You have competition

While you’re in the interview process, you rarely know who else is in the running for the job. At the end of the process, when you don’t get the job, I encourage you to assume that someone else was just a better fit. It might help you to learn who did get the job, so keep an eye out for the organization’s announcement via email or social media; or visit their “Our Team” page about two months after the process closes.

Blame “bad process”

Because I’ve been doing hiring and recruiting for about 20 years now, I sometimes forget that many organizations have not incorporated “best practices” into their hiring processes. The reason you didn’t get the job may have been due to a poorly-designed or poorly-run process. If that’s the case, you’ve probably dodged some trouble. Save your talents instead for an organization that prioritizes its “people processes.”

The decision-makers are human

Sometimes human beings make wrong decisions! Perhaps you were the best choice for the job. Unfortunately, hiring managers at the organization made their decision based on the information they had available, and they went in another direction. The best thing you can do is let it go.

Preserve your relationships

Especially in the impact sector, I’ve seen candidates interview for jobs they didn’t get—who then had to continue to partner closely with the organization and their new employee. So it’s important to accept loss graciously.

Nothing is final

An interview process can be a good way for an organization to get to know top talent in their field. You might not get the job you interviewed for, but if you’re a good fit for a different role the organization has in the near future, you’ll be top-of-mind. You might be surprised how often a “rejected” candidate receives a call shortly afterward with a different job offer.

Don’t expect feedback

I’ve noticed that university career centers often encourage job seekers to ask for feedback on their interview or their materials. Occasionally a hiring manager or recruiter may take the time to provide feedback, but most of the time, it’s simply not possible. On a basic level, it’s just not going to make it to the top of the priority list during a busy recruitment. From a risk-management perspective, employers can (and should) be afraid that any information provided could lead to an EEO claim. The most mundane reason is that the feedback was probably already offered. As stated in the rejection email, the team determined that you weren’t a fit.

1 thought on “Troubleshooting Your Job Search (Part 4 of 5): How to move on from an unsuccessful interview process”

  1. Pingback: Troubleshooting Your Job Search: Introduction – Jenn Raley Miller, LLC

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