There are few things more emotionally draining than job interviews. You put in so much preparation, you put yourself on the line to try and land the role, then there's the nerve-wracking wait afterwards to find out how you've done which is even more stressful.
You send them a thank you email, wait patiently for a day or two, then less patiently for another week, until the fateful moment arrives and you finally get the call or email. You didn't get the gig.
It's never a happy experience, even if you weren't actually convinced the job was for you. But it's particularly crushing if you've already had a string of rejections on your job hunt.
So, was it your fault? You go into post-match analysis mode and dissect the interview from start to finish. You agonise about what happened in your interview post mortem. What went wrong? What's wrong with me?
But it's vital that you realise the way you handle the knocks is just as important in your job search as your interview skills and your CV. If you let rejection eat away at your confidence, it's going to affect you negatively in future interviews.
It can be easy to lose faith, but it's crucial that you stay positive and productive.
Here are the main points to remember:
It's not personal
Try not to assume that the 'no' means you're a personal failure. It simply means someone else was more appropriate or a better fit for the role - it doesn't mean you didn't do well. If you prepared as well as you could and gave it your best shot, there's nothing else you could have done. Many other factors could have been at play - you could have lost out to a strong internal candidate, or the MD's niece. Once the interview has finished, there's no point worrying about things you can't control.
Being rejected is not constructive feedback
Just because you didn't get the job, it doesn't mean you did anything wrong. It's fine to ask the agency or interviewer for details in order to help you improve, but even then, the kind of feedback you'll get is often unhelpfully bland to the point of meaninglessness. Practice makes perfect - go over standard questions again and again and role play with a friend, or into the mirror.
Keep an open mind
Every interview is a new opportunity to blow your potential employer away with amazing you - don't let past experiences affect you. Carefully tweak your CV for each new job opportunity and fully research and prepare for the next interview. Learn from past mistakes, assuming you actually made any, or if you went into the interview unprepared or feeling below par.
Stay calm, composed and confident - each employer has a different idea of what makes the best candidates. A lot of it is subjective - if you and the interviewer instinctively like each other, you're very likely to do well. You may well click with your next interviewer, so stay positive.
If you're not working, or you are but you're in a rut, keep yourself fresh by honing your skills. Keep your personal development at the forefront of your mind. Maybe consider some training, or volunteering - this will help with self-confidence and enhance your skills. Keep tweaking your LinkedIn profile until it's perfect and go over your CV with a fine tooth comb.
Most of all, stay positive - the right job is out there for you and the next interview could be the one that sends your career into overdrive. Chin up - and good luck out there!