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How to Cope After a Job Interview Rejection

Updated on February 17, 2015

For over a month, my husband interviewed for a position that he was ultimately rejected for.

Anyone who has ever been in that position can likely attest to the wide array of emotions that a rejected job candidate experiences following the premature conclusion of the interview process, without a job offer. Perceived or actual poor treatment of a candidate by a company, additionally, can certainly increase these feelings and emotions and can cause one to do things or to take actions that they might otherwise later regret.

In the following article, I will share a variety of strategies that you can use to cope in the event that you find yourself or your loved one in the position of having been rejected after a job interview.

Continually Remind Yourself that You DO Have Value

I know, this is easier said than done.

After an interview rejection, especially if you had progressed pretty far in a very lengthy and timely interview process, it can be extremely difficult to resist the urge to slip into a horrible depression. Though my husband's interviewers left subtle hints that he would be chosen throughout the interview process, it came as a complete shock to both of us when he received an email stating that his qualifications and credentials were extremely impressive, however, they would be moving forward with another candidate.

With a background of tremendous success and accomplishments, as a long time officer in the U.S. Army, my husband took the rejection particularly hard--especially that late in the interview process. Throughout the interview process, it was so rigorous that had jokingly said that he felt like he was being interview by Mr. Donald Trump, as part of his hit television show, The Apprentice. As a loving, supportive wife, I had to continually remind him that he did still have value, despite not being chosen. Oftentimes, in interview processes, the difference between one candidate and another, could really come down to a matter of the most minute difference in question responses or qualifications.

Perhaps the most challenging aspect to my husband, however, was the fact that the company was under no duty or obligation to tell him why he was rejected, especially so late in the interview process. This fact can be particularly challenging for rejected job candidates to internalize, especially knowing that that feedback could help them prepare for future interviews, with different companies. Despite this, it is very important for a rejected candidate to reflect on their qualifications and the value that they know they will be able to bring to another company down the road.

Try Your Hardest to Keep Bitterness at Bay

If anyone had a reason to be bitter at both the interviewers, as well as the interview process, I believe my husband had several very strong and compelling reasons to be bitter.

While I don't typically ascribe to letting bitterness consume you, several unfortunate occurrences happened to my husband where he, as a candidate, was treated with very little dignity or respect. Leading up to the latter stages of his interview process, he actually began to voice some serious concerns. If a company couldn't treat a candidate with dignity and respect, my husband wondered, could he really trust them to treat him (or other employees) with dignity and respect if/when he actually became an employee himself?

Though his emotions did run high immediately after he received his rejection, I could also sense that he also felt a subtle breath of fresh air--as if he had dodged a proverbial bullet.

Feeling bitter can consume you and keep you from being productive, therefore it is very important to try your hardest to keep your bitterness at bay, no matter how strongly that you feel it is warranted.

Resist the Urge to Air Your Emotions Online

Not every interview process in the same.

Even if ultimately rejected, some companies do treat candidates with dignity and respect throughout the process. The candidates who interview with companies like that feel that, even if they weren't made an offer at the end of the interview process, they were at least treated well throughout the process. Unfortunately, my husband did not feel that this was the case with the company he interviewed with. Not only did they blatantly lie to him on several occasions, but they showed little regard for him as a person.

Under those sorts of circumstances, emotions can certainly run high.

Even if you feel you were mistreated, it is very important that you do everything you can to resist the urge to air your emotions online--no matter what those emotions might be. Turning to online forums or message boards can be an obvious and practical way that some may immediately seek to cope with a job interview rejection, especially when many people spend a lot of their time online already. It is very important, though, if only to be 'professional' and 'take the higher road', that you especially not post the names or any other personal information of those you interacted with during the interview process.

Exception: Leave a Well-Thought Out Review of the Interview Process Online

In this day and age, websites like Glassdoor allow anyone to post a review (anonymously, by the way) about their interview experience with a particular company, as well as their interview process in general. Additionally, posters are afforded the opportunity to provide additional information regarding the interview process, such as stating the degree of perceived difficulty, as well as, any questions that were asked. Following a review, a poster can also share other items such as whether or not an offer was made, and if they accepting the offer or rejected it.

The interview review process function on Glassdoor really shouldn't be used as a venue or outlet to air bitterness and angry emotions, though. Even if you feel you were mistreated, and that your comments would be fully justified, it is very important to step back and thoroughly consider what you will write, before you write it. At this stage, what is done is done, and you should look at an opportunity to leave a review more as a way to help your fellow man, rather than to be an outlet for the conveying of bitterness and disgruntlement. If a company should truly be avoided by potential candidates, the system will naturally allow all the aggregate negative (or positive) reviews to rise to the surface and paint the most accurate objective picture for someone who is deciding whether or not to move forward with an interview process.

As one person, what you say, no matter how passionate and well-constructed, likely won't receive the outcome of leading to the company's decline and bankruptcy. Accepting that, it is very possible that a well-thought out and well-constructed, objective review, founded on facts, can serve as a warning signal to others.

Go it Alone

Let's face it.

Not everyone is cut out to work for "the man".

Even though my husband did interview with that particular company, he had been gradually building his own business on the sideline, while juggling his military training obligations and work at his previous employer. With his recent job interview rejection, we realized that, at least for now, the best course of action (for us) would be for me to pick up a few more hours at work (I already worked, as a registered nurse, on a part time basis), while he worked to build his/our business.

Now, I know that not everyone may be in this particular situation, however, starting your own business could certainly be an option. Though my husband has had plenty of bosses in his life, it is obvious to me that the environment in which he thrives the most is where he is essentially his own boss. Really, some people have personalities that lend more to being their own boss, rather than working for "the man".


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