How to handle rejection at an interview 

Failure is a stepping stone to success. This adage has been thrown back at us repeatedly in different versions, time and again, by many great people. Moreover, each of these is their version – born out of their experiences - of failure. Each of these persons is so successful that it is difficult to imagine they ever encountered failure. Let us use these adages as stepping stones to have a game plan to combat failure at an interview. Do not be too hard on yourself. Do not lose heart. Be positive. So cheer up and read on.  

The season of failure is the best time to sow the seeds of success.

  • Paramahansa Yogananda 

Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm. 

  •  Winston Churchill 

Have a plan B ready. Give yourself one more chance, at least, the next chance. Draw up a list of companies where you might want to work. Or there may be a course you may want to complete before you set out looking for a job again. You may want to upgrade a skill, read a self-help book, meet a mentor for guidance, or simply just take a break, go on a holiday and return rejuvenated. 

When you start something, don’t give it up mid-way. Those who work sincerely are always happy. 

  •  Chanakya

Allow yourself a limited period to grieve. Once that is over, start again, move on. You have a whole plan to follow through, remember?  

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. 

  •  Thomas A. Edison 

We are in India, the second-most populous nation. For every vacancy, many times, more people apply, each one as eligible. Even mathematics will support the fact that the probability of getting accepted after one interview is minuscule. To make that you do get selected at some point, the plan must be to appear for many interviews. Start with a list of the most desirable places you want to work in, corporates looking for people like you. Stay in touch with people from the industry who may give you any leads, register on job sites, sign up with a placement consultant. Thrash out all possible alternatives and have a multi-pronged approach to tackle the situation.  

Failure is an event, not a person 

  •  Zig Ziglar 

Do not pin too many hopes on this one single interview that you have been called for. After all, this one is just one of the many interviews you are going to appear for. Fall back on the list you drew up above.      

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure. 

  •  Colin Powell 

Do some introspection. It will be a natural fall out of the rejection. Seek answers from yourself to certain questions. Be objective about it. Keep emotions aside. What is it that went wrong? Could you have responded differently to some of the questions? Can you change some of your responses? Did you prepare well? Was the preparation enough? Was it the right job for your seeking? Is this job a natural fit to your skills, education, and liking? From answers to these and such other questions will emerge a realization of where you stand, what you lack, your next course of action can be.  

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. 

  •  Henry Ford 

Do not consider an interview like a validation of your professional ability, a measure of your capability. It is not. The reason why you did not get selected may be totally disassociated from you! Maybe it was pre decided who to choose and the process of holding interviews was just a sham. Or they may have been coerced into selecting another candidate simply with pressure from higher-ups. Also, remember that there is an element of luck, and this just was not your day. There is a time and place for everything. Bank on wisdom from such sayings.  

The greatest glory in living lies not in not falling but rising every time you do.

  •  Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Plan A did not work? So what? It's ok if it does not work, there are still 25 letters to go. Getting yourself a job is your mission. You are not going to rest till you get one. Every try will be an iteration to perfection. It must haunt you night and day, evolve your thinking to make it happen. Dress differently, sport a new haircut. Make sure you are dressed to please and dress right. Check and improve your resume. Run through all your responses again and again. Tie any lose ends. For example, if you say that reading is your hobby, make sure you have read a book that you can talk about. Read up on current events, global events. Stay up to date with industry news.   

Success is not a good teacher. It is failure that makes you humble. 

  •  Shah Rukh Khan 

Ask for feedback from the interviewer. Maybe there was something you said that did not go well with them or rubbed them the wrong way. If nothing else, it may make you aware of minor sensitivities or cultural nuances.  

It is fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons from failure. 

  •  Bill Gates 

Definitely true. You are going to take back something from every interview that you appear for. Make sure you work on it. You may have felt incomplete in some way after a certain interview. Make sure you address that. It will only take you closer to your objective.  

And of course, you must celebrate once you do get the job. After all, it was such a lot of hard work.