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So, You Didn’t Get the Job… Now What?

By February 23, 2022December 10th, 2022Interview Advice, Job Search

You started off excited, anticipating the best year yet. You were looking for a new ministry option where you could fulfill your calling. Maybe it was for another reason. You wanted to change jobs, church, city, or even state. The reason is not essential for now. The best is yet to come, you told yourself. You hyped yourself up. You got ready. You updated your resume. You had a presentation letter ready to be sent. It sounded professional, personal, and spiritual.

Come interview time, and again, you were readily confident. Yet, the end result is dissatisfying: you didn’t get the job.

You may have received the news in one of three ways. An email was sent, or even a letter. It could have been a (very) short phone call or Zoom meeting. Or the worst possible way, you’ve been “ghosted.” The turndown is an unhappy and unpleasant feeling. The sting of rejection, feeling of failure, or not being enough are hard pills to swallow.

In order to find out why you didn’t get the job, because you need a real answer after all, here are a few things to look at first.

THE EMPLOYER’S SIDE

First off, the employer, interviewer or even the recruiting agency don’t have to give you the detailed answer you want. I know, it’s displeasing and irrational, if not troublesome. You can fill in with your preferred adjective here! We know, this part is frustrating.

The employer knows exactly what candidate the company needs. The hiring agency or interviewer is aware of each prerequisite and sought-after criteria. Unfortunately, if you are not the one they’re looking for, they have a right to choose someone else.

The usual reasons you may get will sound like “we are taking another direction,” “though your resume stands out, we will be searching for other candidates,” or “we’re looking for someone who’s experience/capacities/education fit better with our culture.” You get the gist of it. Yet, before you ask for reasons you haven’t been chosen, consider taking another step.

INTROSPECTION

As painful as this measure can be, it is necessary to look back at the process and ask yourself some tough questions. And give yourself honest answers.

Were your documents well prepared? Was your resume or any other document written without any grammatical error? If not, that is something you can correct easily.

Did you have all the requirements the organization coveted? Your Bachelor’s degree may be outstanding, but perhaps they were looking for someone with a Master’s. If you didn’t have their fundamental essentials, you partly have your explanation there.

Were you prepared for questions? Most of the time, the questions tend to be the same for each interview. You need to have an elevator pitch about yourself and your accomplishments. Were you ready to highlight your competencies and achievements with clarity and brevity?

Did you connect with the people you met over the phone, online or in-person? Connection is an absolute necessity. That invisible bond is different from just being able to talk with the interviewer. It’s about building rapport, and you would be aware if it was there or not.

ADDITIONAL STEPS

You can surf the organization’s website to discover who they finally hired. This might sting a little bit, but you’ll be able to uncover some of the reasons for not being chosen. Was there a gap in the education, skill set and experience between you and the chosen candidate? There’s part of the answer.

Read again the refusal note you received or recall the last conversations. The interviewer possibly let some information leak. Listen carefully to what they wrote or said; it will be important in your official ask of a reason.

Last but not least, be okay, really okay, with their decision. This is a must for you if you want to keep searching for other opportunities. It is the employer’s decision and not being chosen doesn’t mean that you are incapable or incompetent. This rejection is a choice on their part and even if it hurts, it does not have to affect your sense of calling and self-worth.

HOW TO ASK

There are character traits you can decide to put forward when you don’t get a job. After all, your good character will always follow you wherever you go.

However, you find out you haven’t been selected, choose gratefulness and positivity over bitterness and resentment. You do so by showing godly character in four aspects.

  • Be thankful to the organization for letting you know of their decision. Remember, some employers don’t respond or reach out to inform candidates.
  • Mention you are grateful for their time and consideration. You may not like the end result, but still, they invested time and energy to find out if it could work with you.
  • Bring positive remarks about the quality of questions, interviewers, or even the process. Why, you ask? Not only will this help you prevent showing resentment but could also allow you to leave good impression so that should open up, they’ll remember you and consider you.
  • Last, show appreciation for the organization and its people. You can even wish them success in their continued search.

The next step is to reach out to your contact in the interview process. An email will suffice. Politely ask if it would be possible to get some feedback.

The key is the wording you use. Assemble your words so that you’re asking for feedback for your personal growth. It’s not about questioning their judgment; it’s about using their knowledge for your betterment. You do have to understand that the employer does not owe you an answer, but many will give you some food for thought.

The second part of asking is to formulate your question into something specific. “Can you give me feedback on my interview?” won’t cut it. What exactly do you want to know? Why weren’t you hired? They have potentially told you in the form of “searching in another direction” or “we’re looking for a candidate that suits better our requirements.”

Do you want to know if there is something you said or didn’t communicate? Are you in search of the missing cue you missed? If such is the case, then ask for the things you were missing to get the job! Below are a few examples you can use to ask why you didn’t get the job:

EXAMPLES

“To whom it may concern, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to meet you and know your organization better. It gave me a glimpse of the good work you accomplish at XYZ. As I continue my job search to find the best fit, could you tell me 1 or 2 things I can improve to be considered for such a role? I will certainly take to heart your feedback as I want to be the best (insert job title here) possible. Thank you for your time and guidance.”

“Dear (XYZ), thank you for keeping me in the loop of your hiring process. Though the result is not what I desired, I appreciate the opportunity I had to connect with you and the organization. In the spirit of growth, I would certainly make good use of any feedback you could give me on skills I can improve to become a better candidate.”

“Hello (XYZ), I wanted to share that your diligence in this hiring process has been impeccable. I’m grateful you let me know of your decision. I had the privilege to discover a great ministry within (XYZ organization). If you could provide me feedback on what about my skills or experience made you go with other candidates, it would surely allow me to grow and passionately pursue my calling. Thank you for your time and consideration.”

There’s no secret ingredient to discovering why you didn’t get the job. Accept the fact you didn’t, even with accompanying pain, be grateful to the hiring manager and smith your words in a way to get feedback. You may not have gotten the job but perhaps you can gain knowledge and feedback to ready yourself for your next interview and land your dream job!