What to do when you’re turned down for a job? 😑 Get angry, then get pumped πŸ’ͺ

Hola πŸ‘‹ A friend of mine recently told me about a role they got rejected for. It hurt because they'd invested time in the company and made it through several rounds of interviewing before learning another candidate was offered the job. 

So, I thought it'd be a good time to share what you should do when you're rejected for a role. 

This is for those who've gotten past the phone screening stage, who've invested time researching the company, dressing up in their power outfit and interviewing like a boss.

This is for those who've waited patiently for a response, with a strong feeling they got the job, only to hear back and see the words "we've decided to move forward with another candidate..."

Get angry.

It's ok, honestly. Let the anger out. You've put in the work and were told you're not the best candidate.

I want you to understand that this doesn't mean you're not a good candidate.

You are still a skilled professional, it just so happened that there was another skilled professional who got the job. This was never about you personally, even though it may feel that way. Your feelings about this are normal.

Just like any other time you get upset, take a moment for yourself: go blow off some steam at the gym, scream into a pillow, or take a 30 minute walk.

I'm a member at a kickboxing gym and I routinely slam the heavy bags in fury after a day that doesn't go my way.

Everyone needs a healthy outlet for these emotions, so find one that best suits you. 

Write a response.

This is NOT the response you are going to send back to the hiring manager. This is an email venting all your frustrations; an email just for you.

Explain why you still think you're a good fit for the role. Explain what you think about their interview process and how you'd improve it.

Mention how much you thought their office artwork was cheesy and why you're better off not working there, anyway.

Let it all out and don't hold anything back. Then hit 'Save Draft'.

File away the response.

(I mean, if you really want to then fine, but as they say, it's a small world.)

Get some sleep.

Now that you've vented, get a good night's rest. There's no point in dwelling and giving it more energy than you already have.

Let sleep reset your brain and get ready for a new day ahead.

Think about what you may learn from this.

With fresh eyes and a cup of coffee in-hand, make a list of all the things you stand to learn from this experience.

  • What could you have done better in the interview process?

  • Would they be willing to share feedback with you?

  • Could they make recommendations on what skills you should develop?

  • Could they potentially introduce you to someone else who's hiring in the future?

  • Is there another way you could help them in the future?

Just because they said 'no' now, doesn't mean it'll be a 'no' forever. If you decide to approach this with a positive attitude, you could turn it into an opportunity for the future. 

I've been rejected for roles in the past, but by cultivating a relationship with my interviewers, I've gained a greater sense of where I need to develop my skills and have been introduced to other companies I was interested in.

Add them on LinkedIn.

Why not? You have everything to gain by cultivating new relationships.

Of course, don't just add them in order to keep asking for a job. Rather, find ways to be useful to them over time.

If there were challenges they mentioned in your interviews, see how you could solve them by sharing articles and resources you find online. Or introduce other potential candidates that may help their business grow.

When connecting, you can include this simple note:

Hi Miss Moneypenny. It was so nice to meet you! Though I won't be joining the team at this time, I'd love to keep in touch and see how I can help you in the future. 

The worst that will happen is they don't accept your connection request - leaving you exactly where you are now. 

Write a new response.

Open a new email draft, this time actually addressed to the hiring manager. Thank them for the opportunity and ask them what would have made you the ideal candidate for the role.

You'll be surprised how many people actually get back to you with some constructive feedback.

Here's an email script I used recently that you're welcome to repurpose:

Hi Miss Moneypenny,

Thank you for getting back to me. I completely understand your decision to move forward with another candidate.

Though I won't be joining the team at this time, I'm thankful for the opportunity to have met you and the team.  

I've sent you a connection request on LinkedIn and would love to keep in touch. 

If you're comfortable, could you share some feedback about my interview with you? I'd love to be clear on what your team values most and how I can improve. 

Until next time, thanks again!

Richard Gawlas

Let a friend read it. 

It can be difficult writing diplomatically after you've been burned, so having a friend do a quick read to make sure your anger isn't seeping through could be the difference between getting a response and not.

Hit send.

And boom goes the dynamite. You've done everything you could, gave it your all and wrapped up this chapter in a neat little package. Now it's time to...

Move forward.

The best way to get over one job opportunity is to look towards the next one. Don't get hung up on the loss, get excited about the growth. 

You've got this. You may go through several rounds of rejection like this, but the great thing is you only have to nail it once in order for it to work. Keep your eye on the prize.

Here are some photos of my dog to make you feel better πŸ•πŸ˜

Wishing you an AH-MAZING week ahead. If you're feeling really down over a recent rejection, tell me about it. I'd love to hear what you're doing to move forward. 


Richard Gawlas