Have you ever applied for a job that you were absolutely sure was a perfect fit for you? You met all the qualifications, and the interview went beautifully, but…you didn’t get the job.
How does that happen? Why does that happen?
There may be several reasons:
- There may be a flood of applicants for the job (which is very typical these days).
- As qualified as you are for the job, there may be another applicant who has even better qualifications (or an inside reference).
- You may lack an important skill, or be not as strong in a skill as the employer wants.
- There may be a bad reference in your past.
- The interview may not have gone quite as well as you believe it did, at least not from the employer’s perspective.
- There may not be an actual job – the employer may just be on a fishing expedition for reasons you’ll never understand.
- The job may have been eliminated before filling it.
As you can see, there are a lot of reasons why you won’t get a particular job. Your one consolation is that it happens to all of us, and usually more than once.
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There’s no point being angry or bitter of the job that got away, but you can find ways to use the situation to your advantage.
Find Out The Reason You Didn’t Get The Job
Even if the application and interview process went well, employers will often terminate your candidacy either through a form letter (that gives no concrete information), or they will ignore you completely in the hope you’ll “get the message”. But if you do get the word from a live person, you should get as much information as you can. This will be considerably easier if your application and interview was arranged by an employment search firm. Though the employer may not speak to you, they will usually give information to an employment agent.
Though it may hurt to find out why you didn’t get the job, this information can be critical in preparing you for the next prospective employer. If you are turned down because there was a stronger candidate, or because the position has been eliminated before filling it, it may be unfortunate, but it will not reflect on anything personal about you.
If on the other hand, the employer felt that there was a weakness in your skill set, or didn’t feel as well about the interview as you did, these are things you need to know so that you can make improvements in the future.
But most important – something you absolutely need to know – is if you received a bad reference. Out of fear of lawsuits, most employers will not give references whether positive or negative. But there are some who do, if only in an indirect way. Even more important, you may find that a reference that you gave has less than positive things to say about you. If you find that out, you want to drop that person from your reference list going forward.
Ask For Constructive Criticism
It may be that you came very close to actually landing the job, but failed to get it because you’re weak in a certain critical area. For this reason, you want to get constructive criticism that will help you to learn where you are weak so that you can make improvements in future job applications.
Ask For Job Leads!
If the person who interviewed you does make contact with you, either by phone, by email, or by written mail, you should seize the opportunity to ask that interviewer for other job leads.
Just the fact that the interviewer took time to contact you to let you know that you are no longer in the running means that you are viewed as a credible candidate. Take advantage of that status – and also the opportunity to play on the interviewer’s sympathies – to ask the interviewer if they know of any competing companies who are looking to fill a similar position where you might be a good fit.
If the interview went particularly well and you built a rapport with the interviewer, you might even ask if they would give you a referral. You may not get it, but it never hurts to ask.
NEVER Let It Get You Down
If you have ever worked in a sales related job, you are well aware that you have to approach many prospects before you actually make a sale. The same is true when it comes to finding a job. You are being a salesman, and the product you are selling is you. It is the reality of sales that you will not be able make a deal with all prospects, or even most of them. For this reason, you should enter the job hunting process fully prepared for rejection.
You will have to be prepared to accept many rejections on the path toward landing a job, but no matter what, you can’t let it get you down. Upon learning of a rejection, you need to immediately spring into action to land more interviews. Getting down about the rejection, or worse – feeling sorry for yourself – will accomplish absolutely nothing productive.
When looking for a job – as in sales – you should have “several coals in the fire” at all times. That means that you are working on more than one potential job at any given point. More important, you should never view any single job as a make-or-break situation for you. Sure, you may need a job, but you don’t need any particular job. The right one will come sooner or later.
What do you do when you learn that you didn’t get a job you hoped you would?
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