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Rejected after a job interview? How to learn from it

  • Publish Date: Posted over 5 years ago

​So, you didn’t get your dream job or even the one you weren’t that bothered about? It’s certainly never a great experience and can leave you despondent and demotivated to try again.But, try again you must; the old phrase really does say it best: “If you fall of the horse, you need to get straight back in the saddle.”

In fact, when the rejection is fresh in your mind it’s the key time to be reflective and use the opportunity to build and review your core skills and strengths and take the time to consider and learn everything you can from the interview process.

By doing this you can be better prepared next time, more able to portray yourself to the best of your ability and in the engaging manner that communicates your skills and expertise that will make any interviewer take notice and get you the next job you apply for.More motivated? Good.

It’s important to remember that you might only need to modify your responses and develop your interview style slightly or prepare a little more for the toughest of questions.

Behavioural and competency-based interviews are becoming far more frequent and these are the interviews that people find the hardest to prepare for and participate in.They require detailed responses and look at what you have done in the past, the interviewer does not want to hear about what you would do.

This is your opportunity to show how you think, how you act in certain situations and most importantly what you can offer. Most importantly, it is a time for the interviewer to hear about the skills and abilities you have mastered and the occasions you have applied them.

Preparation is key and each company with be looking for certain key qualities and skills to be highlighted during the interview. You can learn what these might be from any literature the company produces as they will emphasis what they value most, be it problem solving, self-starters, team work, leadership or communication skills. Indeed, your answers might need to contain all of these, so you will need time to plan and make your responses bespoke for each role.

Most interview questions of this type will start with ‘tell me about a time when’ questions where you need to give an example of a time when you faced a certain situation or challenge. These will be based on the competencies required for the role therefore take the time to study the job spec and description to prepare answers where you highlight examples of when and how you have utilised the desired skills and competencies in a given situation.

The STAR technique is a great way to approach these difficult questions and allow you to plan clear, concise and engaging answers:

Star is an acronym for:

  • Situation - describe the situation you were in - this is about setting the scene, giving a context and background to the situation. So, if you’re asked a question about conflict resolution, your reply would need to include the details of the project you were working on, who you were working with and when and where it happened.

  • Task - what was required of you - this is more specific to your exact role in the situation. You need to make sure that the interviewer knows what you were tasked with, rather than the rest of the team.

  • Action - what you did and/or delegated to others.

  • Result - this is the most important part of the STAR technique as it gives you the opportunity to emphasise your actions. It is important to communicate what you specifically did, using ‘I’ rather than ‘we’ and to be detailed. What you’re trying to get across is how you assessed and decided what was the appropriate response to the situation and how you got the team involved, which is a great way to demonstrate communication skills.

Looking for a new job can feel like a full-time role in itself, however if you know you are going to start looking begin your preparation when you are still in your old role.
You need examples to best answer interview questions so consider your current role and how you perform core competencies currently, such as engaging with stakeholders, motivating others, displaying resilience and write them down now so you can review when you have your next interview booked.