How to Cope When You Don't Get the Job

Consider the experience a chance for growth.

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Chrissy Scivicque
Chrissy Scivicque
You just got the phone call. They liked you a lot. The interview went well. But they've decided to go in another direction.

You're disappointed and confused. You were perfect for this job. You have everything they're looking for and more. How could any candidate be a better fit?

Instead of getting all worked up about it, take this as an opportunity for growth. Here are a few tips that may help:

1. Remember it's for the best. The people making this decision know what they're looking for much more than you do. Whether you see it or not, they don't believe you're a match. Trust that they know the role and their organization well enough to gauge the fit. It's better that you know now. Wouldn't it be awful to start a new job only to quickly learn that it's not for you? The decision-makers are trying their hardest to make sure it's the right thing for everyone involved, and they've likely saved you a lot of trouble. Now you can move on and find something that better suits your skills and personality.

2. Next time, don't get your hopes up. An interview isn't a job offer. It's an invitation to be considered. Even if you're certain you've aced the interview, don't put all your eggs in one basket. Keep the job search moving along. Convincing yourself that this is "the one" only sets you up for heartache later on. Wouldn't you rather be pleasantly surprised than disappointed? Once the interview is done, it's out of your hands. Stay positive, but don't dwell on it and don't hold your breath.

3. Be thankful for the practice. Interviews get easier the more you do them. You'll get more confident with each one. This was just another opportunity to practice your skills—and practice makes perfect.

4. Ask for feedback. There's nothing wrong with asking what influenced the decision. If you have the opportunity, ask for feedback. A few helpful questions include:

  • What were the deciding factors?
  • Is there something specific that made you feel I'm not the right fit for this role?
  • Would you have liked to see something different from me during the interview or in my skill set?
  • Would you be willing to share what differentiated the successful candidate?
  • 5. Don't second-guess yourself. Critically evaluate your interview performance and make sure you really feel confident in how you presented yourself. Make a few tweaks here and there if needed, but don't second-guess yourself. These things happen. You can't win them all, especially in a job market like this. Do what you can to make yourself more competitive, but don't obsess. The next time you walk into an interview, keep that same level of confidence you had before.

    Chrissy Scivicque, the founder of EatYourCareer.com, believes work can be a nourishing life experience. As a career coach, corporate trainer, and public speaker, she helps professionals of all levels unlock their true potential and discover long-lasting career fulfillment.