Five steps to turn an interview rejection into a successful one

Five steps to turn an interview rejection into a successful one

How to handle an interview rejection and make it the first step into a successful career


The painful, the dreadful, and the so unwanted rejection. Who loves it? —me neither. However, we often get caught up debating and battling rejections with our inner selves.

But, what if being rejected is the starting point to achieving a successful proposal?

Let me tell you a story.

More than half a decade ago, I was being rejected - laid off, to be honest - from a salesman job I had at the time while going through university. It hurt. I didn't get it. Even though I was the newest member there, I was in the top #3 of sales according to our performance metrics.

I was down for a while. Luckily, that first rejection made me realize that it didn't matter. It was only the beginning. It was my first job.

And now, looking back, it was the best thing that happened to me —I got a better job right after.

So, how to turn a rejection into a thriving new beginning?

  1. Blameless Postmortem—We often get caught up spending time condemning whoever and whatever is responsible for the current result ( rejection). However, focusing on topics other than achieving those most wanted proposals will only guide you to diverge from your goals. Long story short, the blameless postmortem mindset focuses on improvement while moving forward. Despite the fancy name, this is a piece of golden advice. Thus, instead of spending your precious time blaming whatever got you rejected, the takeoff would be to understand why it happened by gathering honest feedback.

  2. Gather feedback—So underrated. Don't simply get a "no" and move on. Nope. Ask why  respectfully! Properly ask why. Ask why you got rejected. Let them know how important it is for you to get constructive feedback. But, let me give you a friendly warning. Feedback comes in different shapes and forms. Don't take it personally. Be open-minded and take a deep breath if you feel like it. Understanding how to give feedback is as important as understanding how to receive it - keep the eyes on the prize; blameless postmortem.

  3. Retrospective—Hopefully, the organization that rejected you has given you some fantastic and sincere feedback — it's happening more often than ever, which is excellent. If that's not the case, rejoice, it won't stop you. It's time to perform a personal retrospective to auto evaluate yourself and your performance, whether based on your feedback or personal awareness. However, be cautious. Don't get too attached to the negatives - eyes on the prize - being rejected is a mindset. Thus, spend some time understanding what went well and what you can improve. Together those will result in action items. Advice: Don't disregard what went well in that interview. Self-awareness of our strengths is as critical as our flaws. Being self-aware will support and thrive you through your professional roadmap.

  4. Apply the action items—Somewhat obvious. But, yep. Take action 👊 Don't wait for tomorrow, a Monday, or a sunny day. Start now. Start strong. Timing may single-handedly dictate your following successful interview proposal. However, don't look for shortcuts. There's no secret sauce.

  5. Repeat—Rejected. Rejected. Rejected. Rejected. Rejected. Rejected. Rejected. Rejected. Rejected. Rejected. Rejected. Accepted.

    It only takes one.

Being rejected is the very first step to success, and how to crack testing interviews.

© Sérgio Martins

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