The First Thing You Should Do After a Job Rejection

WorkCoachCafeThe job seemed perfect.  The interviews went well.  The people were nice.  Even the commute was OK.  But, they hired someone else.  AARGH!  For most job seekers, rejection happens far too often.  Since we aren’t accustomed to frequent rejections, it can be very discouraging.  

In a recent exchange of comments on 15 Things I Look for When I Interview People for a Job, one job seeker made this comment:

I have gotten compliments on my CV, provided a portfolio of my work, smiled, and was naturally myself. The interviewer responses were always quick when emailed questions. I thought I did well but I was shot down. It is funny that you think you do most of the right things, but they may be all wrong.

Certainly, we can all probably find ways to improve, but don’t assume – because you didn’t land a job you really wanted – that you are also a failure and will never find a new job.

PLEASE do NOT see rejections as proof that you are “all wrong”

Don’t let any job rejection destroy your confidence.  You may not be perfect – but who is? 

In fact, this job seeker may have done very well, but was aced out because someone else had a friend inside the company who referred them (the candidate almost always preferred by an employer) or someone else had a fabulous reference or excellent “chemistry” with the boss.  Or any of thousands of other things – ALL having NOTHING to do with him!

After my second layoff, one of the outplacement counselors handed out a sheet of paper with “No.” printed on it 100 times, like this:

No.      No.      No.      No.      No.

No.      No.      No.      No.      No.

No.      No.      No.      No.      No.


The instructions at the top of the page said –

There are 100 Nos on this page.  Every time you get rejected or ignored,
cross off a No.  Before you reach 100, you will have gotten the YES that
means you have a job offer.

Each “No” brings you closer to that YES – the job you’ve been waiting for.

A friend, also laid off at the same time (and a recruiter, no less), kept that page posted on her refrigerator, and she did cross off one No for every rejection she received.  She filled several lines before she landed her job.

Sometimes a “No” isn’t really the end.

I remember when I was trying so hard to get into the company that laid me off 13 years later.  I was interviewing for every job there I could find, often referred by a classmate’s kind and patient husband who already worked at this company (highly recommended method of connecting with a job!).

In literally the same mail delivery that contained the offer letter that started my career at that company, there was a rejection letter from the recruiter for a different part of that company.  So I was accepted and rejected in the same mail by the same company!  And, that rejection letter wasn’t the first one I received from the company, either! 

Naturally, I accepted the acceptance and happily went on to work there for 13 mostly fun years.

In “Why NO Isn’t Always the End of a Job Search Story,” Ronnie Ann tells the stories of two people who succeeded spectacularly at employers which originally rejected them.  Read it, and be inspired or, at least, encouraged!

What to do when you get that “No.”

As I advised the job seeker who wrote the very discouraged comment at the top of this post:

Yes, you didn’t get the job. However, try not to think of it as being “shot down.” And, if you like this employer, don’t give up yet!

There are SO incredibly many variables involved in the process that it’s better to think of it as bad luck or a bad match.

Look at it this way – someone with a better connection inside the company or a better response to a key interview question or exactly the right timing in the process (first interviewed or last interviewed or interviewed by the person who ended up as the key decision makers) or who-knows-what got the job. A better job is waiting for you.

NOW, do these 2 things:

1.) Send them a thank you note.

For NOT hiring you? Yes! IF you still might want to work for them some day.

Thank them for the opportunity to learn more about them and the organization. Ask them to keep you in mind for the “next time” they have a job open and to stay in touch.

2.) Ask them for feedback.

Do they see anything you do to improve and become a more viable candidate? If they respond, you could learn a lot from the process.

Meanwhile, look back over the process yourself, and see what you might learn from it. What do you think you could improve? Avoid this kind of employer? Add more achievements to your CV? Develop better answers to the why-should-we-hire-you question? Follow up more quickly or differently? Or do more pre-interview research? Consider questions would you ask next time that you didn’t ask this time?

It may sound crazy, but the thank-you-for-not-hiring-me works! IF the person who accepted the offer ends up going instead to another employer or they don’t work out, the next person on the “almost-but-not-quite” list may get an offer.  You may be at the top of that list if you sent a good follow-up to the rejection letter.

And, while it is not often that someone will share feedback with a rejected applicant, if you feel you have “connected” with one of the employees, see if you can get an idea of what you did well and what you might have done better.  Truly, do seek feedback – don’t try to convince them that they should hire you instead.  If you can get feedback, it is golden for you!  None of us really sees ourselves as others see us, and this is a chance to see how the “other side” viewed you, your resume, LinkedIn Profile, interview answers, etc.

Bottom Line

There are probably things you could have done better, since no one is perfect and we all improve with practice (hopefully!).  But try to think of every rejection as bringing you one step closer to that better job that is waiting for you, just around the corner.

Good luck with your job search!

More on Recovering from Job Search Rejection

After Job Rejection, Why Following Up Gracefully Works

Why You Didn’t Get the Job: 10 Reasons Outside Your Control

Why You Didn’t Get the Job: 10 Reasons You Can Control

Job Offers: 10 Reasons You Didn’t Get the Offer


© Copyright, 2012, Susan P. Joyce. All rights reserved.


About the author…

Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been  observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 2011, NETability purchased, which Susan has been editor and publisher of WorkCoach since then.  Susan also edits and publishes  Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on .


  1. Denise G. says:

    Excellent article Susan. I used to think that people who began to lose self-esteem during a long job search were foolish to do so – because, after all, that’s not a reflection of an individual’s expertise or worth. My own experience has shown me how naive I was.

    After 3 or 4 months of searching, I felt the sting of the current economy. I second-guessed my competency because I was laid-off. My employer *said* it was because of budget and not performance and I clung to that. Encouragement from others gave me much-needed boosts.

    After 6 months I examined my job search strategy. I figured I must be doing something technically wrong. I overhauled my resume. I added multitudes of locations, job boards, and company websites to my search. I broadened my search to include positions from around the country. I began to be more intentional about networking.

    After a year, the self-doubt began to overwhelm me. It MUST be me. Every doubt about my layoff, about what positions I had “dared” to applied for, about how others must view me and secretly wonder about the “real” reasons I was unworthy of being hired – or must not be really working very hard at it – daily lapped at the shores of my identity.

    After 18 months (where I am now), my objectivity is shot. My ability to talk myself out of a funk is stunted. Any question from others on what I’m doing with my days, or advice on how to better conduct my job search, feels like stabbing criticism of my character and reinforces what I fear may be true about myself. Words of encouragement feel like pity and outright lies.

    During this time, I’ve realized how much of my self-worth was tied up in my career and being good at what I do. I’ve realized that I can’t put the rest of my life on hold just because this one part of it isn’t progressing in the way I want. I’ve begun to do more consulting and cling to the positive feedback I’ve received. I’ve had only 2 in-person interviews during this time, but have received very positive feedback. I’m finally a finalist on one of those jobs.

    At this point, I believe I need to make the choice to step forward in the faith that what I’ve known to be true about myself in the past is still true. I am choosing to take whatever life hands me with gratitude. Within the next few weeks, I’ll find out about the current job I’m a finalist for and/or a great short-term consulting gig that I’ve bid for and feel hopeful about. If neither of those pan out, I’ll be shifting to finding full-time clerical work to supplement my savings and keep me going financially. I’m planning on taking a month or two “off” in the larger job search.

    I no longer count on there being anything around the next corner. However, I’m choosing to believe that corners still exist and that I still need to go around them.

    • Hi Denise!

      What a wonderful, thoughtful, insightful comment! You have written about your experiences VERY eloquently! If you don’t make your living as a writer, you should definitely think about it!

      It is SO true about our identity being tied up with our job. I remember meeting some people very shortly after my last layoff. The other people introduced themselves by giving their name, job title, and employer. I actually said, “My name is Susan Joyce, and I’m nobody.” Simply because I didn’t have a job – clearly, in MY own mind – I was “nobody!” YIKES!

      It sounds like you have a solid plan for moving forward. Don’t underestimate the value of the experience you are gaining running your own consulting business – being an entrepreneur (even if done involuntarily) provides excellent “learnings” for any job you hold in the future.

      Good luck with those interviews! Who ever is smart enough to hire you will be very glad they did.

      I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you! Please stay in touch and let me know when and where you land.


      • Denise G. says:

        Thanks, Susan. That means a lot. We talked about me writing for you if you recall!

    • I know it is 2 years too late but I just wanted to say thank you Denise!

      Your comment clearly and succinctly explained the way I felt when I was struggling to get work after graduating from University in 2009.

      I hope it helps others to understand how job hunting can make people question their identity and how hard it is.

  2. Suzanne says:

    I really appreciated your comments. I have been looking for work in my preferred field for 2 years now. I have plenty of work, perhaps too much work, but not what drives me or professionally challenges me.
    I recently applied for the job I have wanted for much of my career with an organization that speaks to me professionally and personally. It was very disappointing that they sent me the dear john email. But am re-living my disappointment over again this afternoon upon hearing who the successful candidate was. I have pretty much given up on pursuing my chosen field and going back to the drawing board. I have juggled 7 different jobs over the past year, all being casual or term. Any advise?

    • Hi Suzanne,

      Don’t give up on that target organization so quickly! And, send them a thank you for the time and consideration showed you, and the opportunity to meet the people and learn more about this organization which “speaks to me professionally and personally.”

      The last job I had, before I started my business, took me several attempts (and dear john letters) before I finally made it through the process and was hired. I received an offer letter in the same mail as a rejection letter from a different recruiter in a different department of the same company. I enjoyed working at that job (and subsequent jobs there) for 13+ years.

      Then, working on getting to know people who work at your target employer. LinkedIn makes it much easier than it was in the past. If you can find an ally “on the inside,” that will be a big boost to your efforts at getting a job there.

      Forgive them for not hiring you this time and for mistakenly choosing that other person. Everyone makes mistakes occasionally, right? Just make sure you’re visible to them for “next time.”

      Don’t give up on this dream too quickly, even if you need to “make do” with a different employer for a while.

      Good luck!

    • Denise G. says:

      Suzanne, I’m not sure if your comment was really meant for me or not? I’ve been thinking about your situation.

      Don’t put everything on hold for the “someday” when you get a job with your chosen employer. At the same time – don’t give up! I don’t know what you’ve tried to get into this company, but some “best practices” around getting in the door someplace specific apply.

      Some ideas:

      * As Susan said – LinkedIn! LinkedIn has an “InMail” feature that lets you send an email to anyone. (They charge $5/InMail I think, but guarantee a response or it’s free.)

      * Send a note to the hiring manager for the position letting them know you’re interested in future opportunities with them. Be direct about wanting to work for the company, and don’t sound desperate. (A fine line, I know!)

      Connect with the hiring manager for an informational interview. Ask them what sorts of skills, education, or work experience would improve your chances as a candidate in the future.

      If the person they hired doesn’t work out, you want to be on their minds as someone to call. Whatever you do, don’t say anything negative about the person they did hire. All it will do is make you look bad.

      * Find a similar company or competitor and do an informational interview with them.

      If you have difficulty believing any company could be as great as this one, write down all the things you think are important. Examples might be “great pay” “important mission” “global travel” “well-known, big name.” Maybe no other company has all the things you want, but you may find one with 7 out of 10 similarities that you could expand your search net to.

      * Use the job title, department title, and bosses job title to search for other organizations with those positions. Explore. Review the typical requirements for those positions. Beef up your resume by articulating those things you do have and work on gaining the knowledge, skills, or experience for the things you don’t have.

      *Connect with a recruiter and work with them to define what you are looking for. They can keep you in mind and/or point you in the right direction.

      I hope some of this is helpful. I encourage you to do the best you can to be satisfied with the “now” while still looking to the “someday.” When you feel the natural anger or sadness about this current loss, try to notice the thought and let it slide on through you and out the other side. (I call that putting temporary Teflon on my heart.)

      And take care of yourself! Maybe you can pare down from 17 jobs (haha 😉 ) to 2 or 3. Consider letting go of the ones that require the highest energy for the lowest return. Perhaps easing the pressure will help the “now” be more manageable and less of a place to need escape from.

      This job was out there…. another one will come.

      • Hi Denise,

        Another wonderful comment! Thank you!

        Just one point – in order to send InMail through LinkedIn, you need to upgrade your account (monthly fee, depending on how much you want to do with it). Through the upgraded account, the cost of a single InMail is $10, but I don’t think they guarantee a response – not that I could find. So, I would double-check for that guarantee.

        For most people the free LinkedIn account is sufficient. The Company Profile section provides an amazing amount of information based on employees (and former employees) who are LinkedIn members – who works there now, as well as who worked there in the past, plus things like where most employees who are LinkedIn members went to college, levels of education, job function, etc. A gold mine of information!

        Good luck!

  3. Hi Suzanne:
    I have been through various interviews for a management position I applied for at a Financial Institution. I have 24 years of experience in the field and seven years of experience in managent. I have been told in two occasions that I was not selected for the position; one because there was an internal promotion and the other because there was an internal employee who was granted a transfer to this position. I recently called the recruiter to let her know I was interested in a job posting for one of their centers. She informed me that the Area Manager in charge of this Center was the same person that had interviewed me and that she will let him know of my interest. Today I received an email from the recruiter, who I need to say has been great throughout the whole process, where she indicates that the Area Manager replied that he hopes to reach a decision on my candidacy for the Manager position within a week. What do you think will I get the job?

    • chandlee says:

      Hi Maria,

      I can’t say whether or not you will get the position as I am not privy to the process. What I can say is that it is a good sign they are evaluating you for the job…Make sure you make yourself available to answer any questions they may have should they be interested in another interview.

      Good luck and keep me posted.

      All the Best,

  4. Hi Chandlee,

    Not really sure where to post this question, but figured this may be a good spot?

    I applied and interviewed for a job at a company that I have been trying to get into since I graduated college 5 years ago. Although it went great, it’s been 6 weeks since that interview and I have not heard anything from the recruiter despite my efforts (follow up emails, even one with an article attached on the company). I keep an eye on the website and have noticed that the position is still up but also noticed that there is a new position posted that also matches my skills closely. I want to apply to this position but am not sure if I should because 1) I don’t know where I stand with the first job and 2) I think this position reports to the same hiring manager as the first position.

    I’m not really sure what to do? Your thoughts would be great!

    • chandlee says:


      The best way to get a response is to go straight to the hiring manager and follow up with them — either by phone or e-mail.

      Reiterate your continued interest in the job for the interview you had six weeks ago, and express your additional interest in the new role — since it also matches your current skills. Let them know you will be applying for the position as well — and clearly outline how your skills fit with the job in your cover letter.

      Be honest that working at the company has been your long-term goal since college — and that you sincerely hope you’ll have the opportunity to contribute to their team in the future.

      Good luck,

  5. Jacqueline says:


    I made it to second and final round interviews after being told I was one of three final candidates. I was told the hiring decision would be made in one month (mid-June), and to be in touch then if I hadn’t heard. I got in touch on the 15th, and the director apologized, saying they had already hired for the position.

    However, he mentioned that the organization would be actively hiring one more candidate for the same position in late August, and requested we get in touch then.

    I guess I’m just wondering how much faith I should put in this request. Is it possible he’s trying to let me down easy? Merely keep me as back-up? This is my dream job, but I’m not sure how I feel about being the latter. I’m of course applying for other jobs to be safe, but should I still have hope?


    • chandlee says:

      Hi Jacqueline,

      I’m with Denise. Do follow-up.

      I came in second for a job once and got hired a year later. It was the best job that I ever had — and remained my dream job until the day I left for more money. Don’t give up…

      All the Best,

  6. Denise G. says:


    My opinion is that, if this is your dream job, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by following up in August. That said, definitely don’t depend on them behaving any differently than they have previously. Keep applying elsewhere. Send the thank-you card if you haven’t already.

    If you feel like the hiring manager may be amenable to it, you may want to try calling or emailing the hiring manager and ask something like this..

    “Thank you again for the opportunity to interview before and for letting me know about the upcoming job possibility. Would you be willing to let me take you out for coffee or meet with me for about a half-hour? I would love to get an idea about this position and also get some feedback on what I can improve on or highlight to do better on this next round.

    Right now July x,x,and x are open for me. I would really appreciate any insight you may have.”

    And then follow-up by phone if you don’t hear from him/her within about a week.

    Best of luck and congratulations on getting that far in the previous job process!

    Denise G.

  7. Marilyn says:


    I have been actively searching for my next job for 3 1/2 years, after all three previous companies that I’ve worked for either closed or relocated out of state. After hundred’s of resumes sent, and only half responding with a rejection letter, not counting the few that I have actually been interviewed for, I am now very frustrated, depressed, and wondering what it is about me that they don’t like. My self esteem is quite low at this point. I also know that my age, at 59 years old, and my many years of experience can be a hinderance to many perspective employers. After each interview that I have had, I do follow up with a thank you letter or e-mail, emphazing my qualifications that would fit well with the company. However, that’s when the waiting game begins, and for many of us, we often don’t hear back whether or not they have even hired anyone for that position. This has made me very angry…we are expected to display a sense of professionalism in an interview, yet they do not reciprocate. I am very close to sending letters out to these employers, asking them if they did hire someone for the position, and if so, question them on why they would not think we would require their professional courtesy by letting us know. I certainly know that will not get me a job there in the future, however, I’m not sure I would want to be employed by someone who lacked that courtesy anyway.

    • chandlee says:

      Hi Marilyn,

      I am so sorry to hear of the extended process and search that you are going through. Given the length of your search and lack of follow-up from employers in the process, I recommend you try a different tactic: if you can, meet with a job search coach or hiring manager for tips and best practices as you apply.

      In most cases — especially if you do not have previous relationships with anyone at the company — hiring is not a personal decision (even though it can feel that way). In my experience, part of the challenge that applicants face is that of perspective. When we apply for jobs, we tend to see ourselves as the applicant. When employers view our applications, we can be one of 50, 60 or even a 100. Even in the best of situations, the process is a highly competitive one.

      A job search coach can help you with strategies that enable you to stand out in the pool. If you are in the U.S., I also recommend programs and resources available through the AARP or

      Good luck and keep us posted.

      All the Best,

  8. Hi

    I am currently a contractor working at a company that I really like. I fit in well with the group that I’m in and love the work that I’m doing and was told I’m doing extremely well. A position within this same group opened up and I applied and interviewed for it. After the interview was over I was told that there was one other candidate that is also in the running and he has a different skillset and they need both his and my skillset (but only one job). She stated she is having a tough time making a decision between me and this other guy. I was then told that they did extend my contract for another 7 months and that another position will open up next month within a different group. I was very confident before the interview and now I’m feeling not so confident based on the last few comments from the interviewer (who also is the manager that I’m working with). If I don’t get the position how do I handle this rejection? I would really like to find a permanent job and not contract and feel this rejection is going to make me feel I need to leave and not finish the contract. Granted I haven’t gotten the rejection yet, and will find out next week, but it really has me bummed. Horribly.

    Thanks for your input


    • Hi Michelle,

      As tough as it is, be kind to yourself: It sounds like the company very much values the work that you do and your contributions to the team. Often a hard reality is that companies will hire new staff with skills and experience they currently don’t have but need. It sounds like this may be happening here and it has nothing to do with you — at all.

      Hang tight, keep an open mind and see what comes up if this opportunity doesn’t go your way — it sounds like there may be other openings in the very short-term and as if they’ve already made a commitment to keep you on for a while longer.

      Good luck and all the very best,

  9. Is it okay to call the interviewer after you have not been chosen for the job and ask what could you have done better in the interview? Or even ask what was the deciding factor that they were looking for which you didn’t have in order to improve your skills for the next interview?

    • LP,

      Yes, it is absolutely okay to do that. If the interviewer has the time and graciousness to give you the feedback, it can also help you stay “top of mind” if anything else opens up.

      I think this is a good idea and would encourage you to do so. With this attitude, you should be competitive in the future!

      All the Best,

  10. Hi Chandee-
    I was kind of hoping not to be writing again but alas, I am. I have been on my job search now for 4 1/2 months. According to this forum that is a very small amt of time, but for someone who has always worked it seems like forever, My story is that I prior to last April, I have been at my previous employer for 13 years. I was recruited to another position last March from an old “friend” in my industry that made me a very attractive offer that I could not refuse. I was not even looking. I accepted this psoition which came with many challenges, but I overcam ALL of them, made my quartely bonus, only to have them tell me 4 mos later that I was being let go. Why? NO reason. Florida is a right to work state.Turns out that my supervsor/friends boss did not like her and I was her hire. She is gone now as well. It is what it is, and I cant change it and it was a huge learning experience for me. I cant go back to my former employer prior to that as they have since lost the management contract and are not in this area any longer. I have an excellent resume, I am very personable, do well at interviews. Actually in the last month I have had 2 where I was 1 of 3 top candidates, but was not chosen. I cant help but think it is because of this 4 month job on my resume even though prior to that I have had long term tenures. There are no gaps in my resume since August as I am working with my brother at the moment. I had an interview yesterday that went very well, and another next week that I got from my many connections. Problem is I am totally loosing my confidence. Another problem is that I was making a large salary before and I am willing to obviously start at a much lower salary, but as I was a hiring manager I think these companies will think I will leave at the first opportunity, but I can’t lie about that as that is always a question. Any help is appreciated and I thank you for being able to vent.

  11. Michael says:

    Ok, I am sounding little desperate right now. I graduated with 2 bachelor degrees and I can’t even get hired into a entry level position in a degree related field. I have a degree in BA and one in MIS and currently working on another degree in accounting. I applied for an entry level position in accounts payable and after waiting for 3 weeks I finally got a no answer. I don’t know what I did wrong. I am seriously considered leaving out my college degrees in my resume. I am currently working in an unionized work place and I see people got promoted base on seniority not on education and past work experience. How am I going to get experience if no one will hire me, I can do the job, I am not stupid. I am ambitious, goal driven, and I can prove it. For example, I completed 2 degrees in less than 3 and 1/2 years while working full time and still have a 3.4 GPA. And, yet, I can’t even get an entry level job in my degree related field. I am thankful I have a full time job with benefits but at the same time I see people in my union job with no college degrees in supervisory positions really depresses me. Thank you for letting me vent.

  12. Elizabeth says:

    I have had several interviews. Things seem to be going along very well…until I am asked about the size of the current company I work for and they realize there are only three people..including myself!!! I have been with the same company for the last 20 years so experience is not my problem. I have 2 associates degrees and I am working on my bachelors. I consider myself educated but still have a lot to learn, especially when it comes to a new employer. How can I get past the “small company” issue?

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi Elizabeth,

      It’s hard to say if this is really an issue or if you just haven’t found the right opportunity yet. Finding a job usually takes people quite a while and they have many unproductive interviews before they finally make a good match.

      But, IF you are right about the employer size being a problem, think about your non-work history. Have you been involved in any situations that could prove you are able to work with large groups – any volunteer work in a large organization, participation in any group projects in school, or run an event at your church or your child’s school?

      If you haven’t done any volunteering, this might be a good time to start. Perhaps proving that you can work in large organizations as well as expanding your network so you have more opportunities available to you.

      Good luck with your job search!

      • Elizabeth says:

        Volunteering has been a huge part of my life (Girl scouts) for years. I wear many hats and have fine many things. I’ve been everything from a troop leader, to adult training, to chairing weekend camping events for girl and adults. And I do include it as part of my history on a resume. I’m almost sure – I can see it in their facial expressions – it’s the small company. But I must press on. Thanks.

      • Susan P. Joyce says:


        Simply because you weren’t paid for those things doesn’t mean they don’t matter! List those accomplishments on your resume and be prepared to discuss them in an interview, stressing your experience working with large groups.

        In my opinion, working with volunteers takes much more management, communication, and motivational skill than working with employees.

        Good luck with your job search!

  13. I just got rejection letter from a company that I really wanted to work. I was pretty much confident that I did good in my interview. But after getting rejection letter, I started loosing my confident. Then after I started searching and found your article. Then I went back to their rejection letter and sent them an email. Thank you so much for this article, which gives a lot of positive energy to those people, who are in the same path as described in this article.

  14. It is dawning on me that i have been looking for a Job for over a year now. I got a rejection letter today from the second biggest company (worldwide) in my field. I’m a chemical engineer if that helps. I got to the final stage which was an Assessment center. I fell honored to have been there. The rejection letter made me feel really disillusioned as i thought all was going well. I loved the town where the company was located. I had visited and loved it before i even knew the company was there. So it felt like a match made in heaven but i can’t help but hope that there are better jobs and better days ahead. I will look back on this comment i am writing someday and laugh at myself. I will be grateful for how beautifil life has become. We will all make it somehow someday – Someday soon.

    Let’s keep hope and faith alive….Keep on loving

    Thank you for allowing me share my feelings

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi Tsonga,

      So sorry that this opportunity didn’t work out for you, particularly since it felt like “a match made in heaven.”

      Before you completely give up on these folks, DO send them the thank-you-for-not-hiring-me note, reiterating your interest in working for this employer and with these people. It might help, and it won’t hurt!

      Your attitude is exactly right – if this doesn’t work out for you, something better is waiting and there are better days ahead for you.

      Stay in touch, and when you have that better job, come back and let us know.

      Good luck with your job search!

  15. I had an interview Monday. I did really bad. My body did not want to work with me at all. My voice
    cracked, my eyes was filled with tears and I pretty much gave one word answers. I didn’t elaborate on anything. I was just trying to get through it. Any suggestions?

  16. Hi Susan
    That is a great statement and is a very positive approach to job hunting. Sometimes you have to dig deep, keep focused and just keep plugging away to achieve your goal of getting that job. I liked the article about the man who sent out 1000 CV’s before he got a job, but he achieved his goal!
    George Snyder

  17. I worked in banking 24 years,laid off last year had 3 interviews with one company what is the normal time frame?. I only know how interviews were over twenty years ago one interview you know if you had the job or not .

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi Patricia,

      Yes, things have changed quite a bit since your last job search.

      In answer to your question, there are many variables – including how many other people were interviewed, how many rounds of interviews they are having, etc.

      It’s a very good idea at the end of a set of interviews to ask what the next steps are, what the timeframe is for the next phase of their process, and who you should stay in touch with.

      If it has been more than a week since your last interview, reach out to the employer, ask the status of the job, and then the other questions, above.

      Good luck with your job search!

  18. OK so I have had all of 5 interviews in 4 years and Ive had interviews cancelled the day before about 3 times, each with varying degrees of useless information.
    It hurts more each time and I hate the fact that im in this position after 2 degrees, I used to be confident but now everything relates to suicide because i cant get ‘any’ job im not talking about highly skilled jobs im talking about bottom jobs like shelf stackers.

    Whats your advice? I really cant take another rejection



    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi Christian,

      I hear your pain and feel how discouraged you are! I wish I could push a button and fix everything for you and for the millions of other very discouraged job seekers. But I can’t. I don’t think that anyone can.

      One of the most difficult parts of job search today is NOT to take all of the rejection personally. And there’s a ton of rejection out there right now!

      I know that being ignored or rejected feels personal, but, very often, it is not a reflection on you at all. The truth is that it is very VERY unlikely that the reasons those interviews were cancelled is a reflection on you personally.

      So many people are competing for jobs that the process has become automated, removing the humane part of the process. So, little human interaction and less feedback, making the job search process more challenging, and it’s difficult to avoid feeling that the rejection is personal.

      My recommendation is that you find a local job club, work with your school’s (or schools’) career center(s), or find some other source of professional help. A solitary job search can be extremely discouraging and, often, not as effective as it could be. No one person (even me!) knows everything about effective job search, and groups can help expand your network and connect you with more people (like hiring managers) who can expedite the process for you.

      Effective job search tactics have changed dramatically in the last few years, so help from professionals and/or other job seekers is very useful. The old saying about “more heads are better than one” is certainly true, and definitely applies to job search these days!

      Please read these articles:

      Then, find help for your job search – job clubs, school career/alumni support offices, etc.

      Keep us posted about your progress. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.

      Good luck with your job search!

    • Hi Christian –

      I feel for you and your current struggle. I wrote the first comment to this original article. About 6 months later, I got a temporary – but pretty good job. I worked there for a year and then the job ended a few weeks ago. I was hopeful that the job would become permanent and it did! Yay, right? Nope. I had to interview for the permanent position and someone came in with a bunch of experience and snapped up the job. Now here I am again… I don’t know that I can take it if it takes another 2 years to find a job. My demoralization level is rather high. Once again I’m told it has nothing to do with performance and a stack of “I can’t believe they didn’t keep you” emails. Actually, I know my finances can’t take it. There are no more unemployment extensions out there, so I have 6 months before I need to start getting real friendly with relatives who have extra bedrooms.

      I’m concerned about your mention of suicide. Those thoughts are not something to ignore. Get to a Dr. and get a referral to a therapist if you haven’t already. Develop a safety plan in the event that you get into the frame of mind of acting on it. (Mine is taking myself to the hospital emergency room – for others it is making a phone call to someone they trust who knows the scoop.)

      You say you can’t take another rejection. You know what? YOU CAN. A rejection now is the same as a rejection then. It just *feels* worse because of what you’ve experienced. And you took it then and you can take it now. Don’t let your brain lie to you and tell you you’re weak. Because you’re not. Look at what you’ve made it through. You’re here even though you’re suffering. YOU ROCK.

      I’ll share some of what I’ve been thinking for myself and perhaps it will help you.

      1. Stop doing what you’re doing. It doesn’t work. Do something completely different to find a job. Job sites always talk about asking for informational interviews and I’ve done it about twice in 20 years. If you’ve never done it before, set up 5. Don’t think about it, just do it.

      2. Stop over analyzing. I think through things so much that sometimes I avoid doing anything. If I want a job, I’m going to find out the HR info and *gasp* call them. Like I used to do before all this electronic rigamarole. I know they don’t want it….. but you know what? Not doing it didn’t get me anywhere, maybe doing it will.

      3. Throw away your resume and start over. If it was a functional one, make it linear. If it was linear, make it functional. If it was really long, make it really short. If it was only one page, make it two pages.

      4. When going in for the low level job, give them the least amount of info you can. Don’t tell them about your education. Don’t give them any info they don’t ask for (or that doesn’t have those asterisks that mean it’s “required information”). Me: “Not only am I not overqualified, I can barely fill out a form!”

      5. Try doing your job search in “sprints.” Work like a crazy person on it for a week then take the next week off. I think sometimes the slow flow of working on the job search is like chinese water torture. And I’m always feeling guilty when I’m not working on it. So be deliberate and give yourself the permission to back off it.

      6. Start over. Go back to every place you’ve applied (if you’ve kept track) and start over again. Go into your online account with them. Update your resume. Get the HR info and send an email telling them you’re in their system and still interested in x kinds of jobs.

      I don’t need to wish you good luck or tell you “you can do this.” You ARE doing this. You’re still here and, no matter how litte or feeble it may feel, you still care and want things to get better.

  19. Hi Susan,

    I’ve been lay off for about 3 months now. A weeks ago, I was interviewed for a position that was perfect ( great chemistry with team and Manager). At the interview the hiring manager mentioned several tines that he was excited to have someone with my background join the team. I can’t remember the last time I was this excited! The day after the interview I was offered the job, however during salary negotiation, the company notify my recruiter that they decided not to move forward due to salary (the agency left a voicemail and have not heard from them since). Since I have not heard from my recruiter I don’t know if this is final or if the original salary is still on the table. My husband said to just let it go, that they probably hired someone else, however I really like the work that I will be doing and I had great chemistry with the team (2 people.) I genuinely enjoyed the interview and the people were great-wish more interviews were like this! What are your thoughts on me sending the hiring manager an email thanking him for his time, telling him how much I liked the company, the position and hope that our paths may cross in the future?

    Thank you.

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi Megan,

      I think sending that note to the manager is a great idea!

      I have seen the nice response to a rejection work out very well, particularly when the job seeker felt a genuine connection to the people s/he spoke with and the feeling was reciprocated. Particularly if the person hired doesn’t measure up, that nice note can cement a follow-on job offer.

      Good luck with your job search!

  20. Hi Susan,
    Thank you for your article. I have been laid off 4 times in my career (the industry I am in is notorious for mass layoffs), and during the first 3 times, I have managed to find jobs within 3 months of my job search. This is the first time I am reaching my 6th month, and it is definitely easy to feel down and take things personally. Especially after I have gone through two long behavioral interviews where I felt really good and thought I nailed it. The first one was at a company 3 1/2 hours away, and I thought I was being transparent to them when I said “I will rent an apartment and will drive home on weekends.” They even said a lot of employees do that. But I was rejected because of that and the feedback was I will jump ship once I get an offer locally. I thought that was unfair so of course I felt down. For the second one, although I had great chemistry with everyone who interviewed me, they admitted they can be picky because there are a lot of us who applied. So now, here I am still on the hunt. Tomorrow, I have a face-to-face interview at a completely different industry that needs someone who has my background. I am trying to bring back my confidence but I am not feeling as upbeat as before when I am given a chance for a job interview. In fact, I went “meh” when I got the email asking for my availability. Reading your article is helping me change my mood, but I can’t help feeling guarded.

    Thank you

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi Anna,

      I hope the interview went well on Friday. It’s probably smart to stay guarded, Anna, but it’s best not to let that show…

      Regarding those jobs you almost got, why not reach back to them to see what’s going on with them now, particularly if you felt that you connected with one of the people who interviewed you. Drop them an email, and tell them you really enjoyed talking with them and would like to be considered for any future openings they might have. If you had good chemistry, they may remember you, and regret that they didn’t hire you.

      Good luck with your job search!

  21. Hi all,
    I’m in the job search process as I want to leave the xompany I’m currently work for.

    I was called for a phone screening and had 2 interviews, negotiated and agreed the salary package and called my references. I am usually very skeptical of my chances but I started to think I had a real one here and visualized myself working for the company. Even one of the interviewers told me we should plan to car pool as he lived close my area.

    And yesterday they left me heartbroken when HR called me saying that the feedback from the panel was they didn’t want to progress with my application as they couldnt find myself as a good match for the position.

    The feedback is very vague and I for the life of my keep asking the question: How they can see it in a job interview? When they ask questions like: Are you ok having to work on shifts or overtime from time to time? Of course no one likes to work OT but I will do it as the best of my abilities if I have to. That’s the nature of my job and I’m used to it. What they really want to listen?

    Will you be confortable driving from site to site? (as is a work requirement) Who in their sane judgment will say No?

    How they can outline a fit for the organization based in questions they know everybody will say what they want to listen?

    It’s very dissapointing and discouraging however I’m trying to take Susan’s word for advice and not letting hit me personally. Besides, I think that if they don’t hire you they don’t deserve you.

    Good luck guys with your hunting.

    • kinder2cute says:

      Hi Frank,

      I never thought this is even possible! They shouldn’t have brought up the car pool thing as that’s unethical to say the least! It was a job interview after all so if you don’t have the intention to hire how can you possibly say that sort of thing?

      Anyway, sorry to hear that you went through such experience. Like people mentioned, nobody should take these personally. many reasons are behind a hire and it may not be related toe experience. It’s more subjective than objective!

      I hope things got better for you now 🙂

  22. kinder2cute says:

    I just searched online to see if other people experience same as me. Funny, few years down the line and still the same.

    I think a huge involvement is played by the recruitment agencies. They are so judgemental and make you feel like insecure and sometimes the advice they give might not be the right one . I wished the relationship between the candidate and recruiter to be direct and open out there and every candidate to have it’s own voice and chance!

    The recruitment agencies give the impression they know what the recruiter wants but I don’t think they spend the time to actually digest it properly.

    I found sites like gumtree or to be far better choices that though recruitment agencies as you can advertise yourself there directly.

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