It can be one of the worst feelings in the world…the feeling of failure. There have been two times in my career that I have failed at a job interview. I felt strong going in, ready and super prepared, but as the interview went on, I could tell that I wasn’t what they were looking for. I had only ever had success in any interview that I had ever been on, so when the interview tables turned to a big fat ‘no’…embarrassed and self-conscious, I had to find ways to bounce back from this failure and gain confidence to try again for the next one.
I think what really made my rejection sting is that I knew that my interview prep was on point. I had thought about every question angle and answer, dressed to impress and practiced speaking in front of a mirror, but then I realized after this particular failure, that I was never meant to be the choice. I had to learn how to accept that fact for what it is and grow bigger and better than before…but that crushing rejection was still hard to take.
The one big thing that I have learned over the years is that timing and interview prep is everything. I know that my interview prep game is strong (and I will share with you how to do this!), but I also know that you have to keep a positive mindset, this position/job is not the only opportunity in the world.
At the time of my failed job interview rejection, I was hurt and a little angry, I knew that I would be a better choice, but as time went on, I realized that the timing was off and it was a blessing in disguise that I didn’t get the position I was hoping for. It would have changed my world as I know it and the things that hold true for me, such as work-life balance with my career, family and relationships would all have taken a toll for the negative and I have since had many other opportunities to learn and grow.
So how do you bounce back after a failed job interview? It does take some time and reflection, but also some resilience to be able to come back bigger and better and get that dream job that you have always wanted. Here is my best advice.
5 Ways To Bounce Back After a Failed Job Interview
Interview preparation is one of my favorite things to teach someone. Often when my friends have interviews coming up, they always ask me what they need to do to be ready. I like to teach a thoughtful and thorough approach so that you feel confident and ready to answer anything. Also read: Rise to the TOP of an Interview in 5 Steps!
Start with getting an interview journal notebook. Write a biography of your career life explaining how each job enhanced your skills and inspired you to the next opportunity this will help you have a clear response to the age-old interview questions “tell me about yourself”, then you just need to practice!
Next, write down a list of your strengths and weakness and a plan on how to improve or overcome those weaknesses…use sentence starters like ” I struggle with…”, “I am working to improve…” instead of “I work too hard” or “I care too much”.
Lastly, do your research on the organization what is its missions, values etc. Think about how to say what value you will bring the organization.
Prepare your outfit the night before and make sure that everything fits without being too short or too tight. Make sure that you have an organized work bag with extra copies of your resume for each interviewer and any other supporting documentation nicely bound and presentable.
How to Answer Difficult Questions
This is where you need to prepare and be creative. Use your interview prep notebook and journal out as many perceived difficult questions as you can and start to write out responses to them. If you have ever been let go from a position-think of how to best respond to that questions and what you learned. They may ask you your thoughts on other organizations, communication methods etc. Be prepared to have a response, but also make sure that the response is not a negative one about prior organizations or positions. Read: 8 Things To Never Say In A Job Interview, No Matter What Position Your Applying For
Revise Your Resume for Perfection
Your resume is the most important document that you can have to represent you. It must be creative enough to stand out but also professional enough to make it to the interview pile. The resume should include some key details on the position you hold and also give a synopsis of your value added for any organization that you share it with. I have created a free R.E.F.I.N.E Your Resume email course that will walk you through how to build, organize and share your resume.
If you need to email your resume, make sure you check out these tips on email resume etiquette: What to write when you have to email your resume
Practice, Practice, Practice
I can’t say this enough. If you have the time, you have practice, if you don’t have the time, you have to make time to practice. Start with your mini-career biography. Stand in front of the mirror and talk it out. Practice in your car, on your commute. Keep your Interview Prep journal close so you can continue to learn and reference it, read it wherever you go and add more notes as you see fit. I have gone to an interview early and sat in my car and read through my notes one last time before going in. You want to feel confident that you know how to answer questions and be you. If you try to perfectly practice every word, it will sound unnatural. just know enough talking points to speak to on any possible question/topic discussion.
Keep A Positive Mindset
One of the more difficult things to do is to stay positive. Rejection will happen but rejection should drive you to keep reaching for more. I do believe that everything happens as it should, so you have to believe that you want to be the best fit for the organization and let the organization be the best fit for you.
The initial failed job interview rejection was shocking. I was so upset that they didn’t choose me. In my mind, it should have been me. I did everything I could in the interview…why didn’t they pick me? But after reflection I learned that it shouldn’t have been me. My path was greater than that job interview and I was okay with being able to live with that decision and move on to build bigger and greater opportunity and bounce right back…and I did 😉
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