5 Hacks to Learn from Your Failed Job Interview


“We’ve decided to pass your candidature.”

“We’ve decided to change out the direction for this position.”

“You’ve been great, but it’s not what we are looking at this very moment.”

Triple fatality!

Isn’t it bittersweet and discouraging to hear such words from each and every job interviewer?

Yes, you respect the company’s decision to reject you, and you understand there could be someone better suited for the job. And yet, it’s so frustrating to find out someone else got your dream job.

Have you failed? Again?

It’s not true.

Your failed job interview is neither the first and nor the last one you’ll have. Your failed interview doesn’t mean you are miserable and good-for-nothing. Each failed one is an opportunity to learn a valuable lesson and apply it to how to handle yourself in future interviews.

So, what can you learn from failed job interviews?

1) Forget about hypocrisy

“The richest thing about Donald Trump is his hypocrisy,” Michael Bloomberg stated at the Democratic National Convention. You are not Donald Trump – and you don’t have to be – but let’s be honest: how often did you enter interviews pretending to be a person you thought the company wanted you to be?

Interviewers are not that stupid, and it’s easy as pie for them to understand you try to fit the job that doesn’t fit your skills.

The lesson to learn: be yourself.

2) Forget about resume

Brokenly trying to remember what’s written on your resume, you sound like nothing but a piece of paper for employers. No one cares about your high grades for writing cool essays at school or years of writing letters for college newspapers. (Unless you apply for writing articles on economics, of course.)

Yes, cover letters and resumes matter, but they don’t determine your personality during an interview. Employers want to see a person behind the resume, and interviews are aimed to help with that. Your persona and ethics are crucial to winning the position.

The lesson to learn: be more than your resume.

3) Forget about Superman

A common question many interviewers love to ask but all candidates hate to answer is “What is your biggest weakness?” Once heard, it turns into the sword of Damocles making your brain freeze.

Don’t consider your weaknesses anything bad that prevent you from getting a job. No one is a superman. So, don’t hurry up to deliver a kinda “I don’t have any weaknesses” answer. Acknowledging that you have them, as well as patience to turn them into your strengths is what matters for an employer.

The lesson to learn: be sincere.

4) Forget you are perfect

Because you are not.

Failed interviews help you realize there is no limit to perfection. You see what companies look for in employees and, therefore, learn what knowledge you need to acquire and what skills you need to develop for your future success.

Even when rejected, don’t be afraid of asking feedback from the interviewer. It will help to understand what went wrong, where you failed, and what you should pay attention to avoid the same failures in the future. It doesn’t hurt to ask, after all!

The lesson to learn: be the best copy of yourself.

5) Forget you are an interviewee

Your job interview is not extreme interrogation but cross-examination. It’s not wrong or offensive to ask questions and show interest in the position and the company: after all, it’s not only them but also you who choose and decide whether you fit each other or not.

Sometimes, you forget questions you wanted to ask a potential employer. As they say, one good forewit is worth two afterwits, but nothing awful has happened: you can ask all questions in a follow-up email or phone call. It demonstrates your interest in the position and does nothing but good for you.

The lesson to learn: don’t be afraid of asking more questions.

While getting rejected is not the best feeling in the world, failed job interviews can help you learn some lessons on self-development and motivate you to become better. Any experience brings something valuable regardless of the outcome, so don’t take it personally but learn from failed job interviews to avoid the same mistakes in the future.

By Lesley J. Vos
Lesley J. Vos