You Didn’t Get The Job: What To Do Next

As a young professional and/or recent college grad, you may find yourself in a slew of interview after interview, with little to no results. It can be unsatisfying, frustrating, and mostly, discouraging.

BUT, says the recent college grad, don’t fret. There are steps you can take after you don’t land the job that can better serve you and your interview experiences in the future — and eventually, land you that dream job.

When you don’t get the job, take time to follow the steps below, and then take yourself out for a margarita, because, well damn, you deserve it!

The College Grad’s Guide (to not FREAKING OUT) When You Don’t Get The Job:

  1. Thank them for their time and consideration.
    Landing an interview alone is a pretty big deal, especially if you’re a recent college grad or young professional. Be considerate of the time the interviewer(s) took to spend with you, asking you questions and learning about who you are, even if it didn’t work out for you in the end. An employer will appreciate a quick thank you.
  2. Let them know that you enjoyed meeting them and to please keep you in mind.
    While you’re writing your thank you, be sure to include that it was a pleasure meeting them, and that if they have any openings in the near future, to please keep your name and resume in mind. It happens all the time – You don’t get the job you wanted but in three months you’re getting a call for another position within the same company. You’re not always denied because you weren’t capable, you just might not have been capable for THAT specific job. Remind the employer to keep you in mind – you never know what might come out of it.
  3. Take what they said about why you didn’t get the job into consideration.
    And if they didn’t tell you, it’s OK to ask (in addition to that ‘thank you’ you’re sending). You might not always get a response, but most of the time you will. After thanking them, ask them if they could send you a quick list of some of the reasons they felt that you were not applicable for the position – or things you could work on for next time. Take everything they say into consideration, even if you do not agree. You might not have realized you were doing something in the interview that they did; and that’s something you’ll want to know for the future.
  4. After taking what they said into consideration, make note of what you can do better next time.
    Sit down and say, OK, this is what they didn’t like, and this is what I can do to make sure that doesn’t happen again. Whether it was being late or being unprepared for certain questions, there’s always going to be ways to improve — and it’s better to know them ahead of time.
  5. Review/Write down and review the questions you were asked.
    Try to make a mental note during the interview of the questions they’re asking – especially if you’ve never heard them before. Come home, and write them down. Try to remember what your answers were, and think about how you can elaborate on them more next time around. Chances are, you’re going to hear them again in another interview or two, so once you’ve prepared, you’ll ace it every time! This is truly a benefit of going on interviews and not landing the job: experience!
  6. Talk about the interview with a mentor/professor/parent.
    Sit down with someone you respect professionally and describe the interview to them; the setting, the questions/answers, the atmosphere, the vibe. They may be able to pick up on something that you didn’t. It’s easier to be an outsider looking in to identify the rough spots. Sometimes an interviewer is a ‘dud’ – making it hard for you to answer questions or feel that you are able to answer appropriately, or maybe you were in a bright-lit room and it was hard for you to concentrate on the interview. Ask them their opinions and what they think could be done if you’re ever in a similar situation again.
  7. Don’t yell about the company (or interview/er) online/social media.
    Recently a soon-to-be-college-grad blasted a company’s name all over social media when she didn’t get the job; claiming that it was because of the way she was dressed. Under no circumstances should you ever post about a company online, whether you include their name or not. Everything you post is public, even if you don’t think anyone but your friends can see it. Even if the company you’re talking about doesn’t see the post, that doesn’t mean another company considering you for a position won’t either. They won’t see you as a loyal or respectable candidate, and you could blow your chances even before you land another interview.
  8. Take it as an experience and move on.
    Be grateful for all of the interviews you go on. Each one will help you to realize what kinds of jobs you do and do not want to take, how many various questions can be asked and what you can work on for next time. They also have the ability to make you realize that an interview can go on for five minutes, or two hours, and ways to interact with different types of employers. Every interview you go on is beneficial to your career in the long run. So even if you didn’t get the job, nothing about an interview should ever be considered a failure.
  9. Don’t dwell.
    It’s easy to become distraught, especially when it seems like you may never find that perfect job. Don’t dwell on interviews and think about all that went wrong – think about all that could come from it. You’re becoming better and better and more and more prepared with each and every interview, so never overthink or regret something you said in one interview for too long. Pick yourself up and move on to the next one.
  10. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
    Here’s the important thing to remember: You’re still learning. And any interviewer who reads over your resume and invites you in for a meeting knows that. They don’t expect you to blow it out of the water – and even when you do rock it, that doesn’t mean you got the job; and that can be frustrating. Don’t forget that you’re not any less of a person or professional because you didn’t get this one job.

Cheers to you 🙂




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The College Grad Guide to Looking the Part: “Bro” Addition

“Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”

We have it instilled in us from the time we go off to pre-school, “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover.” Unfortunately, in the real world, an interviewer, recruiter, and employer can judge your look as soon as you walk through the door.

It’s probably easier for girls than guys to make the transition into what’s appropriate and what’s not. Besides, we’ve only been reading fashion magazines since the time we were 12. We pay attention to what our moms, older sisters, and quite frankly, every woman we pass on the street is wearing and how they’re acting. What looks good and what doesn’t: We’ve got it down. We’re pros.

But for most guys, the switch from “college bro” to “meeting with the CEO” can be tough. Your clothes, your shoes, your hair: It all says a lot about the type of person you are. More importantly, the kind of employee you will be. If you dress sloppy, you’ll be categorized as someone who is a sloppy worker. It may not always seem fair, but it’s time to make necessary changes.

If you’re a recent college grad “bro”, or if you’ll be one soon, follow these tips to looking the part while still maintaining your manliness and personality in the process:

The College Grad’s Guide: “Bro” Addition:

1. Keep your hair trimmed and clean cut. It’s not to say that you have to totally conform to one hair style or another, but try to make it to the barber every few weeks or so. At the very least, run a comb through it in the morning, wouldya?

2. Think about the way you speak. Do you use words like “man”, “dude”, and “killa”? It’s time to listen to yourself in everyday conversations. The way you speak with your roommates and friends will greatly affect the way you speak to co-workers. Amp up your speech by cutting out inappropriate words and start thinking about the way you sound to others.

3. You become most like the people you surround yourself by – choose wisely. The people in your life greatly affect the person you will become. It’s time to cut ties with the people who are only interested in drinking from morning to night regardless of what they have to accomplish the next day. And, unfortunately, these might be some of your best friends. Making this change doesn’t have to mean saying goodbye to your bros forever. Just take a step back and think about how much their influence has on you – good and bad.

4. Create friendships with people older than you. Chances are, you’re one of the youngest people in your office. This is a blessing, not a curse. Grab lunch or after-work drinks with some of your older co-workers. Associating yourself with those who are higher up and have more experience can only further your own self – professionally and personally.

5. Go shopping. Even if you have to “drag” your girlfriend, mom, sister, or best girl friend with you. Tell them it’s a day at the mall for you and that they are there to help you with your wardrobe. This won’t take much convincing so set a date and prepare your wallet because it’s time to shop for quality clothes, shoes, ties, etc. — Look good, feel good.

And guys, remember the best college grad guide rule of all:
Work hard – play hard 😉 

– C

Ten Interview Questions to be Prepared For & How to Answer Them

As a recent college graduate who has gone on her fair share of interviews (may that phone ring any day now) I’ve be asked tons of various interview questions, from the most common and typical, to the unexpected and bizarre. Here’s a a list you should be ready to answer on your next encounter while job hunting, I’ve certainly heard them all.

1. If you could be an animal, what would you be and why?
Hm, you may be thinking you accidentally applied for a job at a zoo, but don’t be mistaken, this is a common interview question. The interviewer is looking for you to show off your traits, but trying to trick you into being thrown off (sneaky bastards). Don’t panic. Think of an animal, it’s traits and personality, and which one best suits you. I personally tend to answer with dog: personable, energetic, and loyal. But maybe something along the lines of horse: graceful, calm, and friendly, fits you best. Take time to explore the options, the possibilities are endless and it’s an awesome chance for you to impress your interviewer!

2. If you were a day of the week, which one would you be?
Make sure you have an explanation for this. Again, as the animal question conquers overcoming the fear of broadening your personality, the day of the week question brings your temperament and character into the spotlight. Are you relaxed like Sunday, busy like Monday, or rushed like Thursday? Take time to think about what each day means to you, why, and how you appear because of it. Again, don’t be thrown off by questions like this that have an overall simple meaning to your interviewer.

3. If you could be any children’s book, what would you be and why?
There are endless possibilities here to show your stuff, too. Again, your answer needs to have a solid follow-up. Are you the Little Train That Could, because you struggled in finding your passion, but really strive now? Or maybe you’re Winnie the Pooh because you always seem to find a life lesson in everything. Please don’t answer with, “…because I loved when my mom/dad read it to me as a kid!” Corny, unoriginal, and just plain boring.

4. Why should we hire you?
This is the most important question you will be asked during your entire interview. Your answer could set you apart from other candidates and seal the deal that you are the right one for the job. DO NOT, I repeat, do not, make this question about YOU, or how great YOU are and how this job is the next step for YOU. Trust me, your interviewer is not asking you this because they care about YOU. They are asking you this because they want to know how YOU can benefit THEM. Your answer needs to have quality – and it doesn’t even have to be long. This employer solely wants to know what about you makes this position the right one for your shoes, and how these skills and capabilities are going to further their company, not how it’s going to further your own career.

5. What’s your biggest weakness?
This question is a trick, and trust me when I say your interviewer doesn’t want to hear about how you tend to get in drunken fights at the local bar on Saturdays or that you failed college algebra twice. This is a chance for you to take a “weakness” of yours and turn it into a positive. Something along the lines of, “I’m a really organized person and when things aren’t systematic or regulated I tend to take time to make sure that they are.” or, “I work really well under pressure and I enjoy time management, so if there’s not a set deadline, I tend to set them for myself to make sure everything is done in an orderly fashion and is always on time.” Hello, these are not really weaknesses – and that’s the point! You’re the perfect candidate, you don’t have a weakness, duh.

6. Describe (name of company here) to me as if I was just hearing about it for the first time.
Always, always, always do your research on a company before you head to your interview. Read their mission/vision statement, know the CEO’s name, and most definitely spend a great deal of time on the ‘About Us’ page. If you can’t describe the company back to your interviewer, you will come off as unprepared and uninterested in the position, company, and even industry itself. You should also ALWAYS be prepared to answer questions along the lines of, “If you were hired tomorrow, what would you change to help this company?”, “What is our motto?”, “Do you know what social networks we are listed on?”, “Do you know any of our competitors?”, and so on and so on – the list is really endless here, and they could quite possibly ask you nothing at all about the company, but you always want to be ready if they do. Did I say always?

7. What are some of your hobbies?
Your interviewer wants to know that you have some sort of life besides work, even though you made it seem like work is all you think about – right? Go for hobbies that make you seem cultured. Don’t give bland, boring, typical answers such as, ‘hanging out with my friends’ or ‘going shopping’. I’m snoring and so is your interviewer. You like to cook and try new recipes, you enjoy going hiking on a sunny weekend afternoon, you love curling up with a good book, how about playing soccer/softball/flag football with that new pick-up team! Oh, you don’t? Well, you better start, because these are things you can talk about with your interviewer – sort of a break from all the toughie questions – and maybe they can even relate to a few. Hey, your interviewer loves trying new recipes – how about that?! And please, don’t lie, they almost always follow up with questions about one or two of your hobbies, and you don’t want to start sounding like a dope now, especially because this is one of the easiest questions to encounter on an interview. (Blogger side note: Maybe it’s just me and my sneaky-[busi]ness, but I like to search for my interviewer on Twitter or FB, especially if they’re younger, and try to find something they’re interested in or been tweeting about lately! Nothing like coincidentally relating to the same thing, huh?)

8. What was the last book you read for fun?
This question is almost always followed up by, “Who was it by?” or “What was it about?” So again, I beg of you, please don’t lie. If your last book was 50 Shades of Grey or Harry Potter or something ungodly such as Twilight, please, please, please have a different book in mind. Your interviewer doesn’t want to hear about Christian Grey and Anna’s first, ehem, ‘date’; believe me on this one. Also, never answer that you haven’t read a book recently, or even since you were last assigned one in school. At the very least, have the title of a book and a short synopsis of it in mind. (Blogger side note: If you haven’t picked up a book recently, do so – if not for the interview, than for yourself.)

9. When can you start? and, Are you willing to re-locate/travel?
IMMEDIATELY and YES. There are no other answers to this question – ever – even if the answer is ‘not until after the 4th of never’ and ‘no, I’m happy where I’m located currently.’ Say it with me, immediately and yes! Now, repeat it to yourself. If your answer is anything else, you are guaranteed to throw the interview from the second the words leave your mouth. You at least want the chance to be offered the job before you turn it down because of location. If you should be asked these questions, you know no other words besides, what? Right, immediately and yes!

10. If I were to call your first listed reference, what would they say about you?
This can be kind-of a toughie. You don’t want to come off cocky, but you also don’t want to appear weak. Here’s the thing to remember, your references are your references for a reason, and that reason is: because they will say good things! Your interviewer knows that just as much as you do, they just want to know that you can live up to the hype. Go for something simple here and stick to valuable personality traits and relatable skills such as, “She/He would probably say that I’m a hard worker and very goal oriented.” Just make sure that these aren’t traits about yourself that you’ve repeatedly said throughout the interview in similar questions about describing yourself, and definitely don’t be arrogant or coincided. It’s alright to act a little shy and modest here, but also have an answer that relates to why this person is your reference.

The list could go on forever. I’ve been through interviews where I’ve been asked five questions, and I’ve been through interviews where I’ve been asked thirty. It all depends on the company and the interviewer – but remember, it’s better to be overly prepared than under. Always be ready to answer at least five words that best describe you, a challenge you’ve faced and overcome (best if it applies to the field/job you’re going for), where do you see yourself in 3/5/10 years, etc.

The best thing you can do in an interview is be YOU! It’s been said that an interviewer knows in the first three minutes of an interview if they would like to hire the candidate or not. Appear happy, friendly, and approachable, but not overly-excited (you’ll seem fake!). Do not be nervous, do not have chipped nails (girls!), dress professionally, have a firm handshake, and bring a copy of your resume. The most important part of an interview is to talk. Turn the interview into a conversation. If your interviewer is planning to talk to you for an hour, and has thirty questions to get through, by the time that hour is up, you want them to have only asked you half – because you’ve been so prepared and you clearly know what you’re talking about!

I wish all of you job-hunters the best of luck, even though you don’t need it 🙂

– C

Have you ever been asked an odd or unexpected question during an interview? How’d you handle it? Have your own tricks to answering questions during an interview? Share in the comments below!

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