Refused after the interview: what is your next step?

How can you avoid getting upset and losing motivation if you didn't receive an offer after the interview? Is it possible and necessary to understand the reasons for the refusal? Experienced Allegians company IT recruiter Darya Kuznetsova answers these and other questions.

IT recruiter Darya Kuznetsova

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— All people get upset when they are rejected. This is especially true if an interview went well. Even if you didn't need a particular vacancy, subconsciously, it’s still hard to experience rejection. It's unpleasant.

Driven by a defensive reaction, some candidates who are rejected try to somehow hurt or offend the recruiter/company and write messages like: "I won't communicate with such a company."

I also have many stories of when I asked candidates before the interview: “What is your level of English?” They wrote back: "Oh, I have B1." I said in response: "Unfortunately, B1 will not work, we need at least C1, since we have an international company." Candidates then tried to persuade me to talk to them anyway. I refused and, as a result, I received responses such as: "Since you are so biased against candidates, I will not communicate with you." etc.

How to learn English — 6 steps to build a successful English study plan

How to survive rejection

— When you go for an interview, especially in a company that really appeals to you, you do not need to set high expectations for yourself. It's better to go into the interview prepared for the possibility that you may be refused. This will at least relax you a little. Remember: rejection is a development tool.

Refusals generally occur for one of two reasons:

  1. You are not suitable for a vacancy because you lack some skills or competencies.
  2. You didn't match the required soft skills.

The second option is harder to recognize, but easier to accept. Let's say the manager likes noisy corporate parties with alcohol, late nights, and you prefer a healthy lifestyle, doing yoga, etc. This may mean that you are unlikely to be hired. To oversimplify: you are completely different. Even if it is not quite so obvious, you may be able to infer it from: the general atmosphere, the management style, some indirect sign, the way your communication style did not match theirs, the way they looked at you — with admiration or with distrust, etc. You'll just realize that you don't fit in with this company, which is completely normal. It happens. And it’s generally better if you find this out before you are hired for an unsuitable position.

You need to objectively analyze the reasons for the refusal and not get upset. The most important thing is that you don’t fall into a spiral of negative emotions and think things like "Everything is terrible, I didn't fit in." Instead, reflect on what didn’t work. Afterward, take some time to ask yourself the following questions: "Is the company suitable for me? I was refused — did I really want to go there?" Clearly analyze for yourself: was this the job for you, or not? Doing so can make it easier to survive the rejection. You can even write out on a piece of paper what was right and what was wrong for you about the position.

How to avoid losing motivation

— As I mentioned in the previous section, first, you need to be ready for rejection. You can help yourself prepare using a little trick from psychology: exaggerate the idea of your rejection to the point of absurdity. Rather than simply envisioning being rejected, you imagine that you were rejected in some terrible way, that the recruiter ridiculed your name, and the manager chastised you for your appearance, and so on. This will help you adjust yourself psychologically. There is nothing wrong with rejection. When you have thought through the scenario as much as you can in advance, you are no longer afraid. Your tension subsides.

Of course, rejection can reduce motivation. People can begin to doubt their professional activities and credentials. It is very important to work out your fear of rejection, however, because if it persists, it actually increases the chance that you will get a negative answer in your next interview.

For a refusal to benefit your career moving forward, you need to understand the reasons for it, and look at your experience through the eyes of an employer. If you plan to continue working toward the same direction, it is important to understand what criteria will be key to the position you are seeking. You can also learn more about your chosen profession from the inside. Consider that after a rejection, you are no longer a competitor to a certain group of potential colleagues. As a result, you may be able to find someone to give you some advice — if not at the company that rejected you, then perhaps some acquaintance, or an acquaintance of an acquaintance.

Often, a refusal simply shows you that the position you wanted just is not the place for you: your place will be somewhere different. You have to tune in and believe that everything works out in the best way! And, of course, it is important to find out the reasons for the refusal. Doing so will help to further improve your skills and the quality of your self-presentation, enhancing your chances when you try again.

What to do after rejection

— Here are some strategies to implement if you get rejected:

  1. Look at the situation from the outside, objectively, and consider: is this company really the one for you, are this vacancy and this field really best suited to your skills and interests?
  2. Analyze what happened at the interview. What questions were asked of you? How did you answer them? What can you do differently in the future to make a better impression and more effectively demonstrate your skills and abilities?
  3. Understand whether you genuinely liked the company, the people, the environment, the office.
  4. Compare your personal qualities with the requirements for a vacancy in your specialty to understand whether you are suitable for it at this time or not.

In general, if you were refused and you do not understand the reason, you need to find out what the reason(s) were. In some cases, you immediately understand the issue: you did not pass a technical interview, did a test task poorly, or you did not agree with your future manager on the necessary soft skills for the position. If you don't understand the reason, however, you can ask for detailed feedback. You can write a letter along the lines of: "Thank you for letting me know of your decision. I’m disappointed that I won't be able to work in your team. I’ll be continuing to look for a job in this field. It would be very helpful to me as a professional to receive your feedback, so that I understand why you did not offer me the position. This will help me determine what I can work on, and what skills to improve, to find a job that suits me." You can also add something like: "Let's stay in touch in case you have further vacancies." This way, you do not put an end to your interaction after one interview and can continue to communicate with the company and remain in each other’s field of vision for possible opportunities.

You never know what will happen in six months or a year: maybe you will still get into this company. Let's say a new manager comes. That manager may like you. This is always worth remembering. Changes in a company will occur every 6 months for sure. In the future, if you are still looking for a job and see that a vacancy is open again, if you still have a "warm" recruiter contact, you can safely write and ask if it is possible to communicate.


— It is necessary to cultivate inner fortitude and to believe that everything is going as it should. This really helps a lot. Often, we knock on a closed door, only to find out that the door is not ours at all, we don't need to go there. Bottom line: maybe it's good that you didn't get that position. You never know what was there, but there is no reason to think that it would have been positive for you. Maybe there were some cuts coming along, some uninteresting work, overtime work, or something else. Trust fate.

Of course, this does not mean that you can just go to interviews, get rejected, and do nothing about it. No. If you receive a lot of rejections in a row, it makes no sense to continue to go to interviews without reflecting on what is happening at them. After 2-3 refusals, you need to understand what is going wrong. Do your homework yourself or contact a professional who will help you figure it out. Maybe you are going to the wrong places, or your competencies are not a match for the positions you are seeking, or you are not suitable for other reasons. It is important to understand where you are going, what you want, and to know what you can offer the company.

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