what to do when you don't get the job

Finding a good job takes time—but also an emotional investment. After an interview goes well, you usually get psyched up and imagine yourself being offered the position. But not everyone gets the job. The sad truth is that good candidates can get passed over. Sometimes you come really close… but ultimately the position goes to the other person.

The process by which employers choose employees can leave us feeling confused and, when we aren’t hired, doubting our worth, our value, and our ability to ever land a good job.

So, what should you do when you are the candidate that gets the “we’ve gone with someone else” call?

  1. PAUSE (and feel your emotions)

    Allow yourself to have your emotions AND don’t let them overwhelm you.

    Take the time to grieve the future that was lost in not getting the job. You might feel anger, sadness, or frustration—any or all of these emotions are okay to feel. It’s an important step in your healing process to grieve this opportunity you really thought was the next step in your career.

    Acknowledging and naming your emotions will help you to honor your experience, but not let it stop you from moving forward fully and confidently.
  2. Reflect

    Take some time to reflect on your experience and think about what you did that you were proud of.

    • Did you craft a powerful resume or cover letter?
    • Did you demonstrate an interest in the interviewer and their experience of the company?
    • Did you tell great stories in the interview?
    • Were you at ease in talking about your skills and your brand?

    Whatever the “wins,” make sure you own them. If you made it to an interview, let alone the final round, you clearly did something well!

    In addition, take some time to think about what you’d do differently.

    • Were there some interview questions that stumped you?
    • Were you overdressed or underdressed?
    • Did you not plan for traffic and arrive late?

    Think of the whole process as a learning opportunity that will make you into an even better candidate the next time around.

  3. Follow-up

    Send a thank you note. Most people understand that you should send a thank you note after an initial job interview, but it’s also a great idea to send one when you don’t get the job.

    This can really help you stand out in a good way. It’s also another chance to repeat your strong points (that align with their company values, vision, mission, etc.), and, if you’re interested, to leave the door open for future opportunities.
  4. Analyze

    1. Make a list of what you loved about this job opportunity.
      • Was it the actual position or the company itself that you were really excited about?
      • Was it the short commute?
      • Was it the opportunity to work with a group of like-minded people?

      The more detailed you can get here, the better.

    2. Next, think about the parts of the job/company that you didn’t like. During the job search process it’s common to gloss over the parts of a job/company that you don’t necessarily like. Now is a great time to go back and highlight those things so that you can make an effort to avoid these in future job searches.
    3. Now, consider this list of likes/dislikes and create a description of what you want to do in your days, the kind of place you want to work, and the basics of money and other details for any position you apply to in the future. You can get creative and use your list to do some targeted Google searches and networking for that dream job.

  5. Move on

    It’s important not to dwell on the loss but to be gentle with yourself if you are struggling to move on. If you were talking to a younger version of yourself, you wouldn’t say, “Just get over it!” You’d likely say, “I believe in you” (and so do we!).

    Then, move onto the next application, and remind yourself that the hiring process often takes time. You’ll be able to focus better on the next application if you can get excited and motivated for it.

Try to look at this experience as something that’s pointed you in exactly the direction of where you’d like to go. You didn’t get this job, and, yeah, that sucks. But you now have a better idea of how you handle the interview process, what you want from a new job, and what you need to do to show up at your best.

Your new future awaits and the possibilities are limitless!

We believe in you,

Your Coaches and Allies at Carpenter Smith Consulting

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