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Didn't get the job? How to succeed next time

There is no doubt that being rejected after a job interview, even if it wasn’t for your dream job, can knock your confidence. However, it is essential to remain calm and try not to blow it out of proportion.

Although that’s not always easy to do and it can make you feel like a total failure. In fact, according to the latest research conducted by jobmagneta surprising 34% of single Brits have admitted to feeling more broken-hearted by rejection from potential employers than their love interests.   

The research also found that 59% of the 1,200 unemployed and single Britons surveyed would prefer to find their perfect career rather than their perfect partner, with 61% of respondents admitting to crying when being rejected by a potential employer, whilst 57% had drunk alcohol and 14% had even gone back to a previous employer.

This all suggests that recruiters should treat their candidates very gently when they don't get the job they'd pinned their hopes on. Plus, candidates need to try to think objectively, use rejection to build on their core strengths, address development points and ultimately find a job that suits them better.

At the very least it is key to try and feel as though you have learned something through the interview process. Although, if you presented to the best of your ability, demonstrated all your relevant expertise and competencies and communicated in your most engaging manner in an interview but were still turned down, then you should take comfort from knowing that it was the wrong job for you.

Instead of dwelling on your disappointment, keep your mind focused on other opportunities and continue to present yourself to the best of your ability. If you find you are facing continuous rejection, then use it as a means for developing resilience and an opportunity to take action to remedy any shortcomings brought to your attention from feedback.

To improve you may simply need to revise answers for technical questions in more detail or you may need to pursue further courses/qualifications. It could mean that you need to enhance your interview style as they can make the most confident of us extremely nervous. 

Often it is a psychological thing where you can give too much thought and actually set yourself up to fail, forgetting that excellent preparation, coupled with an ability to think on your feet, can help you overcome the sternest of objections from interviewers. 

Competency-based interviews are increasingly used now as they allow an objective assessment of a candidate’s experience and qualities that make them suitable for the job and many people fail to deliver at these as they require highly detailed responses.

Thankfully there is a tried and tested method that can be applied to answer all competency questions called the STAR technique. By sticking to this method, you can use specific examples of competencies you have displayed and answer them in a clear, concise and engaging manner. 

Star is an acronym for:

  • SITUATION - describe the situation you were in - this is about setting the scene, giving a context and background to the situation. So, if you’re asked a question about time management, your reply would need to include the details of the project you were working on, who you were working with, when it happened and where you were.

  • TASK - what was required of you - this is more specific to your exact role in the situation. You need to make sure that the interviewer knows what you were tasked with, rather than the rest of the team.

  • ACTION - what you did and/or delegated to others and the RESULT - this is the most important part of the STAR technique as it allows you to highlight what your response was. It is important to talk about what you specifically did, using ‘I’ rather than ‘we’, and to share a lot of detail. What you’re trying to get across is how you assessed and decided what was the appropriate response to the situation and how you got the team involved, which is a great way to demonstrate communication skills.

Good interview techniques such as this can be learned and developed. However, the STAR technique is of little use unless you can think of appropriate examples. Many people struggle with this, therefore, if you are thinking of changing jobs keep a brief diary of how you perform core competencies in your current role, such as motivating others, displaying resilience and engaging stakeholders and revise these during preparation for interviews.