Unsuccessful - how to cope when you hear this word

Man in despair
Man in despair

Being told that you have not been successful for an interview can be very disappointing; even if you didn't really want the position it can still be upsetting to know that you were not chosen. There are times when you may have felt that the job had your name on it, you studied hard in preparation for the interview, you built a wonderful bond with your employers and your answers could not have been better only to find out that someone else will be starting in the role.

On hearing the unfortunate news there are two things you need to do (1) ensure you remain professional when speaking to the employer (2) regain the confidence to carry on. 

Remaining professional

On finding out that you did not get the job thank the interviewer for their time and let them know that should any suitable positions come up for you in the future that you would very much like to hear from them. As a result of this positive approach you may be offered a position in future.

Asking for feedback

If the interviewer phoned to tell you the results of the interview it is acceptable to ask for immediate feedback.  Here are some ways to phrase the question:

o    “Can you please provide me with some quick feedback”

o     “Is there anything I could do better at interview next time?”
If you have received a letter or email advising you that you have been unsuccessful you might consider calling your interviewer or sending an email asking for some feedback.

Whether asking for feedback over the phone or in writing you need to be mindful that the employer may either be too busy or reluctant to provide constructive criticism. It is best not to send more than one email asking for feedback or to ask more than two questions on the phone unless the employer seems very keen to talk.

Accepting feedback

At the time the employer contacts you to explain that you were unsuccessful they have made an absolute decision. This means that you will not be able to change the decision. It is therefore unwise to tell the employer that they may have made the wrong decision or to continue to talk about your strengths.

Listen to each piece of information that the employer has told you and consider whether you will make any changes to your skill set or interview approach before applying for further positions.

Regaining confidence

Everyone can feel disheartened by the interview process whether they are new to the world of work or experienced. It is beneficial to realise how you are feeling and accept the feeling as being normal, then use the feeling to boost your future.

1.Avoid comparing yourself to others; remind yourself of your strengths.

2. Re-evaluate your interview approach

3. Re-evaluate whether you are applying for the correct positions

4. Do something that makes you feel happy - this could be something active, having a coffee with a friend, reading a book or watching a film for escapism.

5. Picture yourself in your new position as a successful professional

6. Apply for more positions. Ideally you need to have several applications on the go so that you can always be optimistic about more possible futures. Set yourself goals for writing applications, networking and following up previous applications.


If you need help with any of this I can suggest .... Coaching