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What To Do When You Don’t Get The Job

Tips on how to respond when you don't get the job.

Not always getting the job has happened to everyone who has ever interviewed for a job, but it’s still a taboo subject somehow. No one likes to talk about it. Maybe it’s because there’s a sense of shame—as if you weren’t good enough. Sometimes you can’t get out of an interview fast enough when you know they aren’t going to call you. Other times, you’re sure the job is in the bag and then you see that heart-breaking rejection letter in the mail a few days later. Even though not getting the job can wreak havoc on your confidence, there are ways to salvage your dignity before the next job interview.

                Courtesy is the most polite policy. Always follow up an interview with a personal thank-you letter. Most of the time, it won't actually make a difference in the outcome, but occasionally it might. My cousin once sent such a well-written thank you letter for a job she did not get at first that they actually ended up hiring her because they were so impressed! Her confidence and courtesy convinced them that they had made the wrong choice. Always, always, always thank the person for their time. They’ll remember your courtesy at the very least…and there is always the chance that it might just change their mind.

                Acknowledge everyone. Even if you are leaving the interview knowing that you aren’t going to get the job, always make an effort to smile and shake hands with everyone you meet. I once shook everyone else’s hands except for the main hiring manger by accident and I ended up not getting the job even though I was literally everything they were looking for. Never snub anyone—from the receptionist to the chief executive officer. People will be talking about you when you leave and while you can’t control what they say, you can make sure they have quite a few good things to talk about.

                Make a positive imprint. Every disappointment in life is going to chip away at your self-esteem if you let it. Choose not to. Don’t feel like a loser every time you get beat out by someone else. Everyone shines at different times, so keep trying until it’s your turn. Always stay positive and even try to maintain a connection with the company or contact who interviewed you. If you do, they might let you know, before anyone else, if a position opens up. My husband was so impressive at a job interview once that the manager called him three months later to offer him a better paying position at another location because he liked his attitude so much.

There are reasons we don’t get jobs that we’ll never know. Sometimes, it’s policy over person and other times, we simply get beat out by someone more qualified. But the one thing you can always control is how you react. Believe me, when you’re the right person for the job, someone is going to give it to you—even if they have to track you down three months later to do it.

Seth Talmer May 12, 2011 at 11:43 PM
While reading your article where you mentioned to keep or stay in the network you gave up on or didn't get that job i suddenly remembered when Jet Blue airlines called me after i filled out an application and the manager almost hired me on the phone. I didn't accept her offer as the job position was located in Virginia and i didn't feel confident or experienced enough to try that job.
Deena C. Spell May 13, 2011 at 02:21 PM
That says a lot about you, though! Getting hired almost on the spot, you must've given off a very positive vibe.

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