I am asking here so I can know of how most professionals deal with this. If there is no substantial Dunning–Kruger effect and one knows he is good at what he does (may not be the best, but better than most) and is rejected in interviews which did not even explore/interview all of the persons skills.

How does one deal with rejections in an interview? I'm not asking about how to re-apply etc, but how does one deal with this personally?

For someone who receives it as demeaning and disgraceful, how can they make interview rejections not personal?

  • How many times have you practiced your interviewing skills? – enderland May 20 '13 at 14:29
  • 4
    ...interviews which did not even explore/interview all of the persons skills. If it was a poorly-conducted interview, shake your head, mumble "it's their loss" to yourself and go on to the next one. – Blrfl May 20 '13 at 15:48
  • 1
    This is off topic because it is specifically about things that happen outside of the workplace and after you have ceased the job search portion. – IDrinkandIKnowThings May 20 '13 at 18:09
  • 1
    @happybuddha if you didn't practice or prepare, the answer to this question is different. If you just showed up to an interview hoping to be awesome, then things are different in how you should feel about it (you should realize you shouldn't just show up and hope to be awesome, as this is likely part of why you didn't get an offer). If you prepared, then the answers would be different. – enderland May 20 '13 at 18:43
  • 3
    I just shrug, assume the interviewer had been smoking the two dollar crack that day, and move on. – Carson63000 May 21 '13 at 3:56

It’s important to remember that the way you handle rejection is just as important as the skills on your CV when it comes to securing a new role. If you allow rejection to knock your confidence and make you doubt your abilities, it could negatively affect your performance in future interviews.

It’s not all about you

It’s easy to take a rejection personally by blaming your personality or interview technique on your failure to land the job. Try not to read too much into your rejection as a decision is rarely based solely on your performance. If you’ve prepared fully and tried your best, there’s little else you could have done.

Most of the reasons behind hiring decisions will not be made apparent to you. You may have performed excellently but there could be other factors at play. For example, there may have been a very strong internal candidate who is already familiar with the business, or another candidate with slightly more direct sector experience than you. These are things you cannot change; they’re beyond your control.

Rejection is not feedback

Don’t just assume that everything you’re doing is wrong because you didn’t get the job. It is perfectly acceptable to politely ask the recruiter or employer for more detailed feedback about your interview in order to help you improve. Remember though, interview feedback can sometimes be bland and unhelpful, so do seek out other genuinely useful feedback where possible. You could seek the advice of an HR professional and try out a mock interview in order to practice and get some constructive criticism.

A fresh approach

Don’t carry interview baggage around with you. Approach each new job opportunity with a fresh perspective and a new approach. Tailor your CV to best match a new opportunity and fully research and prepare for a new interview. If you made mistakes or felt unprepared in your last interview – learn from this but don’t keep it at the forefront of your mind, it will only make you nervous. Every company and hiring manager is different and will have a different idea of the ‘ideal candidate.’ Keep a fresh approach while remaining true to your personality and experience.

Keep learning and developing

Your confidence can take a hit when you get a rejection, so it’s important to work hard at keeping your morale and motivation levels buoyant.

Especially if you’re not in current employment, it’s a good idea to keep your skills sharpened and your experience up-to-date. This may take the form of a part-time training course (if relevant), a charity project, mentorship or a voluntary position in a company of interest. By keeping professionally active in this way, you can aid ongoing development, boost confidence, give yourself a focus outside your job hunt and provide a discussion point in your next interview.

  1. The entire point of the Dunning-Kruger effect is you're unable to determine if the effect is active while under its effect. Frankly, I find it hard to believe that you're skilled at all skills that every company is looking for. Even if your job-specific skills are good, what about your interpersonal skills? Sales skills?

  2. Even good employees aren't necessarily the right employees. Many places value a good personal fit; it is not possible for you to be a good personality fit everywhere. Many places value cheap employees; you might not be cheap.

  3. Interviewing is a notoriously inaccurate process. I've seen quotes indicating that interviewing processes are around 62% accurate. Even if you were a good candidate for the position, the interviewers might do a poor job evaluating that.

  4. Even if you were a good candidate, there's invariably other better (or at least "just as good") candidates. This isn't something to take personally, just remember that now there's one less competitor for the next interview.

  • 3
    That 62% quote is unattributed, and 62% of all statistics are made up. (Also, 62% accuracy for the interview process seems quite high to me). – psr May 20 '13 at 17:00

How does one deal with rejections in an interview?

With almost any aspect of interviews - nervousness, preparedness, dealing with rejection, etc - the key is practice and experience.

Unless there are deeper, personal issues, most people realize over time that rejection is a normal part of the interviewing process. Hardly anyone, no matter their skill set, can completely avoid being rejected.

After an interview which ended in rejection, think back (or even make notes) about how it went, what might have been done better, what you would change next time. Go over this as you prepare for you next issue.

Remember that rejection isn't personal, it's just a normal part of business. There are many, many reasons you may not have been a good fit for the job. And most of those reasons have as much to do about the specifics of the job as they have to do with anything you may or may not be lacking.

After you've gone through enough interviews, you'll likely come to realize that rejections just happen, that rejections aren't something demeaning or disgraceful, they are just a normal part of the process.

Good luck! Relax and learn from each experience!

  • Thanks for your response Joe. Err.. pops ? :) You say some very important points. – happybuddha May 20 '13 at 18:39

It's doubtful you'll ever find out why you really didn't get a particular job. You could be overly-qualified and/or asking for too much money. Nothing you can do about that unless you just blew the negotiation and asked for way more than you would really accept.

If you do get some feedback like they wanted someone with more experience in "X", you can either work on that area or apply for jobs that don't require it. If you've been rejected and you don't know why, get over it. What's the alternative? Cry about it? Stop looking for other jobs? Bash the company on the Internet? Life is too short.

Everything is relative. You don't know who the other candidates are. A more experienced person may be willing to work for less money. A local firm may have laid-off several other people in your area of expertise, so the market is a little flooded at the moment.

Being too sensitive about rejection may come out in the interview. Do you get defensive when asked about areas you have no experience or questions you can't answer? Will you admit you don't know or try to fake your way through it? Interviewers may see these as warning signs that you could be difficult to get along with. This is something you can improve.

  • 1
    >Life is too short. That nails it for me. – happybuddha May 20 '13 at 18:40

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.