When You Don’t Get the Job…


Hearing you didn’t get the job? Terrible! Frustrating! Irksome!

Is this the feeling you are having?

Know you are in good company. You are not the only one who had a dream for that position. There’s a good chance everyone else is feeling as defeated as you are. The others are also wondering if they did something wrong and they are curious why they weren’t chosen.

The sheer reality of numbers should make you feel better. For most job competitions, there are many applicants and just one person hired. Take comfort in those numbers.

Forbes has an excellent article on what you can do to follow up after a job rejection. But that’s not my topic. Here, I would just like to be with you while you process the rejection. As your friend who’s been told ‘no’ multiple times, I would like to accompany you while you cope. Let’s imagine we are having tea together; here is what I want to say:

1. Feel sad and/or angry for as long as you need to.

Let yourself have those emotions. Your hopes were raised and now they aren’t. That’s reason to be blue. Feel it. Don’t write any follow-up notes to the employer at this moment; you may say something you’ll regret. Since it sometimes happens that a person rejected after an interview is later hired for a different position, you don’t want to burn bridges. Feel sad for now but know that in a while, you’ll feel something else. This is grieving.

2. Reflect a little, but not too much.

Here is where lots of people will tell you about growing and becoming stronger in the future and learning from mistakes. Oh, please! Back off! You don’t want to hear that now. Instead, do think about what you feel good about. Did you describe your skills well? Were you funny and entertaining? Did your new shoes look great? Excellent! Feel good about your successes. All that other self-improvement business should get shelved for now. It’s ridiculous and damaging to constantly work toward being perfect.

3. Distract yourself with something soothing.

Bingewatch a TV series. Clean out your email inbox or your junk drawer. Go to a yoga class. Walk your dog. (Walk my dog.) Focus on healing. Rationally, you know you shouldn’t take this rejection personally. Rationally, you know the employer can choose just one applicant and it has to be the person who matches the job best. Rationally, you can move past your sad, angry feelings, and you will. You just might need some positive self-care so that you can get some distance.

4. Talk to someone who will just listen.

Advice is not what you need now. Being heard is. You’ve probably already explained your feelings to a family member or friend, but in case you’re keeping something back, get it out. Find someone to whom you can say what you feel. This is not about blaming anyone else; just saying the feelings that you have. Ask for help if you need it.

5. Forgive yourself.

You don’t have to be perfect. You can’t and won’t succeed every time. You are still valued and worthwhile. Your life will continue to unfold and you will create more opportunities. You can move on.

You are definitely going to feel better; it’s inevitable. Be nice to yourself to get there.

Gwen PawlikowskiAbout the Author:
Gwen Pawlikowski is a freelance writer and entrepreneur who has also worked as an ISSofBC employment counsellor with newcomers. She lives in New Westminster and loves the diversity of the Lower Mainland. Please click here for information on ISSofBC’s career services.


2 thoughts on “When You Don’t Get the Job…”

  1. Hi, Gwen
    I read your article after i got a job rejection. At beginning , i felt really sad,after reading , your article comforted me a lot.
    That is my dream job , i didn’t pass the interview, but it doesn’t mean i’m not good, the company just need one person, someone might be match the job best. So keep searching, My dream will become true.It is your article definitely inspired me ,not let me down.

    1. Hi Susan,
      Thanks for your comment. I am glad that you felt comforted from reading the posting. Rejection happens to all of us but it still feels very individual and personal. I am touched by your words, as well. My mom often tells me, “your last chapter isn’t written yet.” I want to pass these words to you, too. We have many more chapters and like a well-written novel, our lives will have both conflict/barriers and successes. I’m encouraged by your positivity. Thank you for sharing it.

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