What If You Didn’t Get the Job?

Waiting to be interviewed

You were excited after hearing about the job opening.  You talked to your family and friends about this career opportunity, you researched the company, you prepared for the interview, you practiced your responses to possible questions, and dressed for success. You know you have the experience they are looking for and meet all the qualifications written in the announcement.  You are invited for a second interview and tell yourself, “I got this!”  You feel pretty confident that you will hear back from them soon with good news.

Two days later, you get the call, you didn’t get the job.  What happen? What do you do now?  Here are five action steps you can take to stay “TAPPED IN” and turn your disappointing situation around:

  1. Feedback: Timing is important. This step is better to do right at the time when you receive the call to let you know you didn’t get the job. Tell them you are always looking for ways to improve and develop. Ask if they are willing to provide you with feedback regarding how you could improve as a candidate. What were their observations?  Given that you thought “I got this”, it would be important to get another person’s perspective. Don’t put them on the spot or ask them to justify their decision, you only want to learn from the situation and appreciate their willingness to provide you with the gift of feedback.
  2. Follow-up: Send a Thank You Note expressing your gratitude for being considered and your understanding of how difficult it is to make hiring decisions. Address the note to the person(s) most involved in the process. You never know, the person they hired may not work out or may not stay in the position and you may be the next in line for consideration if you left a good impression. Don’t burn bridges, you want to keep the doors open.
  3. Self-Reflection: Thinking and writing about your experience can be educational and emotionally healing. Take time to think about the total experience, then write down your responses to the following questions:
  • What did you do well, before and during the interview?
  • Were there questions asked you should have been better prepared to answer?
  • What did you personally learn from the process?
  • What did you learn about yourself and others?
  • Taken into consideration the feedback you were able to receive in step one, what could or will you do differently next time?

4. Job-Reflection: No job is perfect, now take time to think about the job you didn’t get. Divide a sheet of paper into two columns. Under the column on the left, list the things you were looking forward to that you particularly liked about the job. Under the column on the right, list those things that concerned you about actually getting the job. Be honest with yourself when you complete this task.  Don’t forget to identify the “must haves” you want your next job to have, were any of those missing? This will help you get clear on what is important to you as you continue with your job search.

5. Continue your Job-Search. It’s always disheartening when you don’t get the job.  If you are actively applying for jobs, rejection is nearly inevitable, we have all been there.  Even if you don’t get a job offer, there was a benefit to getting this far in the entire process.  You learned some things and have identified the changes you want to make going forward.

These action steps should help you to bounce back and remain “TAPPED IN”, I am convinced there is a job out there for you.  Remember, there is no such thing as failure, only feedback. Use the lessons learned to course correct, don’t let this situation stop you in your tracks.

2 thoughts on “What If You Didn’t Get the Job?

  1. Thank you Dr. Hubbard for these 5 action steps. I recently went through this situation. Unfortunately, I did not ask for feedback right away. I will focus on Self-Reflection and write the answers to your questions. Thank you so much.


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