How to Recover from a Great Job Interview

How to Recover from a Great Job Interview

Rejection is the worst part of looking for a job. Especially when it comes after a fantastic (or so you thought) job interview. It shakes your confidence, both professionally and personally. So how do you recover your equilibrium when a great interview results in no job offer?

Great Interview, No Job Offer…WTH?

You landed an interview for your dream job at a fabulous company. You arrive 10 minutes early, have a great conversation with the receptionist. You wait patiently and are greeted warmly by the interviewer.

The interview goes great. No, not just great, it’s the single best interview you’ve ever had. You’ve done your homework and it shows. You ask great questions and really connect with the interviewer.

The interview last 2 hours, they take you on a tour and show you where you will be working. . They tell you that you’re perfect for the position. But they are still interviewing others.

They tell you to contact them back in 2 weeks. No problem. You practically float home and immediately email a thank you note.

Now you wait. At this point, you’re pretty confident that you will be in, at least, the second round of interviews. At the 2 week mark, you shoot off the requested contact.

A week later you get a reply saying they are still interviewing and will contact you soon to move forward. Another couple of weeks go by with no contact and the doubts start creeping in. You wait another week and then sent them another email “just to keep in touch”.

Three days later you get a “thank you for your interest but we’ve decided to go with other applicants” email. WTH? It’s like a punch to the gut. You reply back with the tried and true “thank you for your time and good luck with your search” email. Gritting your teeth the whole time.

There are many reasons employers don’t extend job offers. It could be they lost funding or the person who interviewed you did not have final hiring authority. Or they may have found someone with more experience or is a better fit for the position.

So, now what? How do you recover?

Step 1: Process The Experience

Set aside some time to process the emotional fallout.

  • Talk to someone. A friend, a family member or a spiritual advisor; let them be a sounding board.
  • Keep a journal. A job search journal can be a good place to write down all your thoughts and feelings about the situation.
  • Have a mini-meltdown. (This is my personal favorite, usually during shower time.) Find someplace quiet where you can be alone. Cry, rant, rave and get mad at the unfairness of it all. Then let it go.

No one likes to feel rejected and it’s okay to be angry or disappointed. But it’s not okay to let that anger and disappointment affect your future job search efforts.

Step 2: Renew Your Motivation And Self-confidence.

At this point, if you’re anything like me, your motivation and self-confidence have taken a beating. So, it’s reaffirmation time!

  • Review your strengths. Take about 10-15 minutes and jot down your strengths.
  • Take a look at your past achievements. Weird as it sounds, reading over your past resumes can be cathartic. If you have a master or life resume read through that. See what you’ve accomplished over your work career.
  • Do you have any evaluations or awards? Pull them out and take a look.
  • Spend time with your family or friends. Remember what you’re working for.

Step 3: Identify What You Learned.

Every experience, good or bad, is a learning experience. So, now you need to figure out what you learned. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What made it a great interview from your perspective?
  • If you could do it over again, what would you do differently?
  • Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes, what would you have looked for in a candidate?
  • What did you talk about that sparked conversation with the interviewer?

In The End, Just Keep Going

Now that you’ve processed the experience, done some reaffirmations and identified what you learned. It’s time to get back out there. Go for it! Don’t let this experience derail your job search.

I’d love to hear about what you’ve done in the past to get over a job rejection? Please share in the comments section!


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Finding a Job Series: 5 Things the Wizard of Oz Taught Me About Looking for a Job

5 Things Job Seekers Can Learn From the Wizard of Oz

Ahhh…who doesn’t love the Wizard of Oz, it’s a classic. Girl gets transported to a magical land. She makes new friends, goes on an epic journey and gets some killer new shoes. What’s not to like?

Okay…full disclosure, I’m from Kansas so I have a love/hate relationship with this movie. It’s kind of a joke at my house…we cringe when we see Dorothy and the gang.

But that doesn’t stop us from watching the dang thing every year.  It’s become a tradition.  A warped, sarcastic and snarky tradition but those are the best kinds, don’t ya think?

So, without further delay….Here are 5 things the Wizard of Oz taught me about looking for a Job.

1. If it’s holding you backdrop a house on it and get on down the road.

Figure out what’s holding you back and fix it. What’s stopping you from finding your dream job? Is it a lack of motivation, confidence or education? Do you fear the unknown, or do you just not know what you want to be when you grow up?

Now’s the time to identify what’s holding you back. Here are some suggestions that may help.

  • Take some time to identify what your goals are. Where do you want to be in 5, 10, or 15 years’.
  • Write down all the reasons you’re looking for a job. Not just the obvious ones like I need the money, ya idiot. These are your motivators.
  • Identify what you don’t want. Can’t handle a micro-managing boss? Hate customer service? Figuring out what you don’t want in a job helps you avoid pitfalls in the future.
  • Look at what you are missing. Have you ever looked at a job posting and thought…I’d love to do that but…? Well, “but” what? What’s stopping you?
  • Don’t know what you want to do? You could take some assessments or research people you follow online or look up to. You could do some informational interviews or volunteer. CareerOneStop.org is a great resource for all things job seeker related, especially assessments.
  • Do you need more education?  Check out your local community college or look for on-line classes. Do a Google or Youtube search online, there are tons of tutorials available. Another resource to check would be your local Workforce or Job Center. Depending on funding availability they may have training funds to help you go back to school.

2. Surround yourself with others who have the same goals.

Dorothy had her posse, now you need one too. Take part in networking events, join a job club or visit your local Workforce Center. Be sure to notify your immediate network that you are looking for work. You never know who will be key to helping you find you next opportunity.

Remember, everyone you meet is part of your network. Don’t worry you don’t have to become one of those creepy stalky people, you know the ones “Hi! My name is Joe, nice to meet you. I know we’ve just met but here’s my resume, please recommend me to everyone you know.” Just talk to people.

I know someone who found a great job while standing in line at the dry cleaners.

3. Flying monkeys are EVIL.

Distractions, time sucks, procrastination and lack of motivation can kill your job search. They dive bomb you when you least expect them. Identify what your personal monkeys are and put a leash on them. Here’s a couple to look out for:

  • Social media. Social media can be a wonderful tool to use when looking for a job. But it can become a procrastinator’s paradise. It’s built to distract you, to entertain, don’t fall for it.Schedule your job search activities. Restrict the amount of time you spend on social media during that time.
  • Obsessive Resume Tweaker. This one will sneak up on you, so be careful. You know you have this monkey on your back when it takes you hours to create a resume.Now, there’s nothing wrong with spending some time creating a well focused, tailored resume. But when you change it over and over again you know you have a problem. Take a deep breath, reviewing it “ONE” more time and then send it. Really, just let it go.

4. It’s all about the man behind the curtain.

Employers, HR managers, and recruiters are a lot like The Great and Powerful Oz. They do most of their work behind the curtain, so to speak, and are almost impossible to get access to. So to get an audience, you’ll need to follow a few rules (or a yellow brick road, ya know whatever.)

  • Tailor your resume. Current estimates say that hiring managers spend no more than 6-10 seconds reviewing a single resume. That’s fast, speed-of-light fast. So you need to catch their attention.I suggest adding a “Summary of Qualifications” section to the top of your resume.  It’s a great place to showcase how well you meet each of the job requirements.
  • Follow All Instructions. If they ask for a cover letter, give them a cover letter.  If they ask for work examples, provide a link or a .pdf to your portfolio.  There’s a reason they’re asking for this stuff.  Nuff’ said.
  • Following Up.  If you’ve been lucky enough to get an interview, send a follow-up.  Send an email or card no later than 24 hours after. If you’re not a fan of email, you might consider keeping a bunch of thank you cards in your portfolio or in your car.  You can jot down a quick note right after your interview and give it to the receptionist or front office staff. I suggest waiting at least 2 weeks before attempting another contact.
  • Be respectful. These people are just as busy, if not more so than you are.  Respect their time. Don’t constantly email or call them, don’t get angry and don’t take out your frustration on them.  Give them a reasonable amount of time to respond and if you don’t hear back from them; move on.

5. You’ve always had the Power, my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself. – Glenda, Good Witch of the North.

In my job coach days, I used to tell my clients that “Looking for a job is a full-time job”.  Thank you, Captain Obvious…it’s a wonder they didn’t slap me.  Now that I’m looking for my own job I completely understand that you get what you put into it.  It can be hard frustrating work, but with preparation and planning, it doesn’t have to be.  Thanks, Glenda, now…where can I get those shoes?

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How to Organize Your Job Search

Have you ever sat down to apply for a job and struggled to remember where you put your most current resume?  Or been called for an interview but had no idea who or what the job was about so you end up faking it? Yes, that actually happened to me…though I must have faked it well… I got the job.

However, I will never forget the feeling of panic as I struggled to remember when and how I had applied, frantically clicking folders on my computer desktop trying to find the files I had used to apply.

Frankly, I freaked out. I could have lost a prime job because of my disorganized ways. Which is unacceptable to my over organized little heart. So I promised myself that I wouldn’t let it happen again.

After much research (I’ve just spent 4 years working with clients as a “Job Search Coach”, among other things, with a pretty high success rate) I think I’ve come up with a pretty good solution.

The first thing you need to do is to decide how you want to store your job search files. This is important, especially if you don’t want to spend scads of time searching for files, or recreating the wheel over multiple devices and systems.

Storage Options

You have a couple of options here.  You can 1) keep them in the cloud, my personal favorite, using services like EvernoteGoogle Drive or Dropbox. Or 2) you can physically carry them with you on a computer hard drive, flash drive or a CD. No matter which option you choose the basic folder structure will be the same.

Basic Folder Structure

My Job Search Folder
“My Job Search” Folder Structure
  1. Applied To (Folder) – This folder will contain sub-folders for each company you’ve applied at, along with a folder for each job title. In the Job Title folder you will store all the relevant files used to apply for that specific job.
  2. Archive (Folder) – The Archive folder should be used to store outdated information that you may need to refer back to at a later date.
  3. How Tos & Articles (Folder) – This folder is used to store all of those job search articles you’ve bookmarked.  (Psst…ya know, like this one.)
  4. Non-Targeted Resumes (Folder) – Use this folder to store your “General Resume” or “Industry Specific” resumes for posting on job search sites or the occasional “send me your resume” situation. These resumes are used if you don’t have a specific job to apply for.
  5. Templates (Folder) – This folder will hold all of your templates. The basic shells for all of your job search documents.
  6. Tracking (Folder) – Here’s where you will keep track of the who, what, when and why of your job search. You can use a spreadsheet, a word processing document or event a text file.  Doesn’t matter how you do it, just be consistent.
  7. Master Resume (File) – A “Master Resume,” sometimes referred to as a “Lifetime Resume” is a fantastic tool in your job search arsenal.  It’s the “one resume to rule them all” resume! I’ll be writing more about this in a later post.
  8. Master Application (File) – A “Master Application” is an general application that you can fill out and keep with you for reference.  There’s nothing worse than trying to fill out an application and not having all of your information with you.
  9. Professional References (File) – This file has the names, contact information, and relationship to you for at least three (3) professional references.  These are people you have worked with in the past; usually past supervisors, co-workers, or clients that can talk to a perspective employer about your skills and abilities.

Having a well organized job search goes along way toward staying sane when your looking for employment. Hope this helps.

Love, peace and good luck!

Kat