There’s no silver medal when you get beaten for a job, so when you’ve fallen at the final hurdle, the only sound course of action is to lick your wounds and crack on. True, it’s easier said than done, but Bring Crosby once sang ‘accentuate the positives’ and he had a point.


Think about the role you missed out on. The number of applicants were probably in their hundreds, and so convincing was your set of skills that you beat 98 per cent of them to land an interview. It’s important to reassure yourself that you are getting something right, says Susan Edwards, the head of careers advice consultancy, C2.

“Review your strengths and clarify them in your mind for next time,” she advises. This applies from the moment you step out of the interview room. “You forget so quickly after an interview about the questions they asked and the answers you gave, so immediately after, jot it all down. Then, do a mind map of anything you got caught on and judge for yourself why you think you did and improve on it for next time.

” Feedback from interviewers will help you  further analyse your performance. Edwards says: “The employer owes it to you to give you feedback. Ask them which questions you answered well and why, and vice versa, then, when you’ve learned what your shortfalls are, plug the gaps with experience or training that brings you up to speed with your competitors.” Alternatively, aim for jobs that better suit your capabilities.

That doesn’t necessarily mean lesser jobs, but roles where you can apply your unique brand of skills and learn what you don’t know as a trade-off. There is a danger when trying to achieve something that your mind rearranges reality until getting it seems like the only positive outcome.

So, the possibility that it wasn’t right for you – or you for it – gets lost. The final step, from an ego-bruising, then, is acceptance, Edwards says. “Just accept that in some situations someone was more suitable for the role. Say to yourself, ‘I got this far and I interviewed well, but I just didn’t have the experience’.”


With your confidence restored, dive into your next application, keeping in mind that preparation is of the essence. “It’s funny that people do more preparation for a holiday than they do for a job interview when they should be investing as much time, if not more,” Edwards says.

Roleplay is also a helpful tactic.“It might sound silly, but practice what you‘re going to say in a mirror,” Edwards says. “You will see how your body language works, you can practice your intonations and smile – even if it’s a phone interview, an interviewer can ‘hear’ your smile.”

She adds: “Most people wouldn’t believe it, but an interviewer is anxious, too. They want you to get the role as much as you do.”

When it all boils down, an interviewer wants to know three things: why you want the job; that you can do the job; and that you will do the job. To that end, you can almost certainly guarantee two questions will be asked: ‘Why do you want this job’ and ‘tell us how your skills and experience are suitable for this role.’

“Open-ended questions are hard to tackle so have a bank of structured answers, and show that by using all forms of social networking, you have a creative and proactive streak,” Edwards says.


Losing out on a job stings, but repeat the mantra that a rejection is an opportunity to prepare for the inevitable acceptance. Mr Crosby advised we should ‘latch on to the affirmative’ and he became a runaway success, so there’s hope for you yet.