James is a chartered accountant that has worked in a number of companies, including PwC and Vodafone. He is the CFO at TraditionHe published this article on LinkedIn.


You’re looking at the interviewer. Your palms start to sweat and you shift a bit in your seat. It’s the final interview for your dream job at your dream company and you’ve already beaten over a hundred candidates to get to the final two. The interview’s over and you feel that it went well. Maybe it could have been better. Now is the time of nail-biting, over-extended suspense of finding out whether you got the job.

The top right corner of your screen pops a little notification out. It’s an email from the company. As you hold your breath, you click on it. There it is, bright as day: “we decided to go with the other candidate.” Immediately you’re crushed. The email continues: “we appreciate your experience as well as your passion for our company.” It doesn’t matter though. The point is you didn’t get the job.


Cry. Be angry. Feel disappointed.

You’re definitely beyond upset at this point. Don’t push away those emotions. Embrace it and acknowledge what you’re feeling. Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs, said, “first and foremost, take a minute to grieve. Especially if it was your dream job, your first reaction is going to be sadness, anger, frustration, etc. and you want to allow yourself a chance to get it out.” Personally my emotion is one of self-doubt and complete loss of confidence.

During this stage though it’s important to get the introversion out of the way. Susan Whitcom, president of Career Coach Academy, shares the same sentiments, recommending “doing something right away to take care of you, whether it’s a spa retreat, yoga class or a long walk in the park”. I always recommend doing activities to turn around the beat down by changing tack to something you are good at. This could be as simple as baking a cake for your parents, doing homework with your kids or organizing an ad hoc party with your friends. It’s important to be productive to maintain positive momentum.

aggressive job

Analyze the Process

After you’ve taken time to settle your emotions, it’s time to follow up with the employer. Lida Citroen, personal branding expert, advises, “it’s important to maintain your integrity and personal brand, look past the short-term disappointment and turn the negative into a positive for future job opportunities.”

To do this, try to put yourself in the position of the hiring manager and analyze how they weighed up the pros and cons of employing you – in doing this you will be putting yourself in the head of a manager (it helps to have honest friends and relatives for this advice too).This should help you identify 2 very important things:

1) Was there anything in my presentation of experience, skills, style or personal life that would give concern to a potential manager?

Answering this helps you identify which areas not to slip on next time.

2) Did I like the company, the role described in detail, and do I want to be managed by this person? Will I be motivated and supported?

Answering these questions will help you understand whether, knowing what you know now, you wanted the role. This is a huge step to understanding what motivates you.


Follow Up and Be Professional

You have analyzed the process and you have determined that you are both highly motivated for the role and that your missing experience or skills are immaterial when balanced with your passion for this role so stay in contact with that company.

Send a thank you note and in a reasonable time, request a meeting with the person in-charge of hiring, or your interviewer. Many people tend to ask “why did I not get the job?”. Don’t do that. Instead, explain the areas you have identified where you can improve your skills and experience and ask for advice on anything else that you can do to better prepare or improve yourself. Ask about what more you could do to be an asset to the company. Remember to also take notes in the meeting so that you’ll always remember the pointers. Doing all this makes you appear like a team player, someone who is willing to learn and someone who takes a rejection and turns it to a learning point.

Fell says, “if you were one of the finalists for the job, there’s a good chance that they’ll keep you in mind for other possibilities in the future.” Furthermore, if the chosen candidate ends up not working out, the company will most likely call you. Even if not, if the company has other openings or job opportunities down the road, know that they will be considering and calling you (granted you left a great impression and followed up).


Don’t Give Up

Continue to follow-up and stay in touch with the relevant people as long as you don’t go overboard (i.e. don’t stalk the poor person). “Read publications that pertain to that company’s industry, and with well-timed and polite ‘conversational’ messages, forward the person articles of interest,” suggests Dawn Rasmussen, career expert and founder of Pathfinder Writing and Career Services. “If you see their name in a publication, clip the article and forward it to them to say, ‘Wow, congratulations!’”

Start following all of the company’s social media outlets as well. Follow them on LinkedIn and Twitter. Like them on Facebook. Read and follow their blogs and provide helpful and positive comments. Connect with them on social media. Be visible.

Finally remember that there are often different employers in the same sectors that offer different but equally valuable opportunities. Your approach to researching the role and the company, and the way the industry is moving makes you a valuable asset to many employers. You can move your career forward with passion and drive and they will be headhunting YOU in no time!


Besides being the CFO at Tradition, James is also the co-founder of Blake-Dair Consulting. They’re always on the lookout for new, qualified candidates to help them land their ideal job. Besides that, they’re hard at work dedicating at least 2 consultants to any of their clients to ensure that they are getting the best candidates for the job on hand.


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