You prepared for the interviews, felt the interviews went well, and all signs pointed to yes…and yet in the end they decided to go in a different direction. Now what?
After you brush off the upset/mad/confused feelings and start some introspection, realize that this might be one point in your life where you’re more open to a little self -improvement/growth.
How do you regroup and make this a net positive experience?
1) Ask for feedback: If you have the opportunity – go back to the interviewers and or recruiter about what it was you were missing– either experience wise, skill set, or actual ability to do the job – you should know about it and have the chance to either change your approach, learn, or grow in the areas you are lacking. If you don’t have the opportunity to ask for feedback – honest conversations with your current peers, coworkers, friends and family may be the way to go.
2) Take the feedback or need for change and be real about which you can execute on and which will be most meaningful. Will you go back and get your Master’s degree or will you get that certification you didn’t have on your resume? Is your communication style too aggressive or are your answers vague?
3) See if you can gain experience or make changes in your current job so you’re one step closer to filling in some of those skills gaps. If you currently do most of your development in C# yet need Java experience – perhaps take a look around and see what makes sense for you to try. Maybe you haven’t run a product or service full cycle or shipped something from inception to release? There are opportunities to take on more or perhaps make trade-offs at work that may benefit you long term.
4) Think about the role you didn’t get – what was it about the role that was so appealing? What were the areas that didn’t seem too great? Is this really the right job for you? Is there a variation somewhere else? Being honest with yourself about what motivates you helps a bit with self-awareness and being real about what positions are ‘right’ for you/your skills level versus which ones you ‘want’. ‘Senior’ in one company does not equate to ‘Senior’ at another company and understanding the levels and roles at each company may help you nail down what job is right for you – and is something you can land.
One last thing to note – think more broadly about different groups and disciplines as you go back to your search.
No one ever feels excellent about not getting the job. However, don’t fall victim to obsessing about what went wrong, take control of the situation and learn and grow from your experience. We have all been there at one time or another – this time you be the one in charge of what happens next.