How to Recover from an Interview Failure

Students sitting at a table

Your first job interview can be intimidating. The fear of not being prepared or that you might get rejected can overwhelm the interview environment, making you feel anxious during your first interviews. For me, my first interview was a nightmare. I still remember how happy I was when I first received the interview offer. I texted all of my friends to share the news. I constantly dreamt of acing the interview and getting the offer. I imagined different kinds of fantasies where I would be successful in life and own a big house, etc. When I finished with my random thoughts and stopped blabbing the news to my friends, I realized a sad fact: I still haven’t gotten the job yet. As the interview date approached, I started to feel anxious. I did not know what to prepare nor to practice my interview. I then had my first ever mental breakdown since coming to university. Slowly walking into the interview room, I felt unprepared and was hoping this moment would go away…

The result day came. I received an email from the club. This was the time that would decide my emotions in the next several hours. “Congratulations! You got the position!” – that was the phrase I hoped to see as I opened the email.

“We regret to inform you that…” – I was stunned. My heart stopped a beat. I gazed at the email for a good two minutes, trying to process the situation. One side of me convinced me to accept the situation. The other told me to wait for another minute to see if the email was a mistake and I got in. But nothing happened. I did not get in. I felt like the whole world just collapsed on me, and that I would never succeed in life ever again.

After a few months of sadness and embarrassment, I realized one thing: we ALL face rejection in our life. At a certain point in our life, we will receive that rejection letter and choose between being sad for the rest of our life or accept it and move on.

So, for people who decide to accept that you are not able to successfully portray your qualified skills, how can you recover from job interview rejection and prepare for the next job interview? The following recommendations specifically target UBC students who are having trouble acing their job/club interviews and have no idea how to accomplish that challenge:

Recommendation 1: Utilize faculty resources on job interviews

Many people don’t know that for each faculty, there is a team of career advisors who are always waiting to help any students facing troubles with their career path. For Commerce students, we have an amazing team of BCC coacheswho are available through COOL booking appointments. You can meet any of them either in person or through a casual phone call. They will provide you with various resources that you might never have known about. I went there recently for my cover letter- and guess what? I got a job position with that cover letter! If you are from Arts, no need to be worried, the Arts faculty have formed a group of upper year coaches that will be able to share their personal experiences regarding job hunting. So if you are an Arts student who either just failed your interview or is looking for a job, feel free to book an appointment with any of the Arts coaches.

You are neither a Commerce nor Arts student? No worries! Each faculty career website has a specific program designed for students. If you just Google your faculty name with “Career service”, you will be able to reach people who are willing to help you at any time! Another excellent resource that students can take a look is the Centre for Student Involvement and Career. Not only you will find different job opportunities, but you will also be exposed to numerous mentorship chances to enhance your job research and interview skills.

Recommendation 2: Ask a close friend to practice mock interviews with you

Nothing is better than practicing mock interviews with your closest friends. They are the people who never judge you and will give you honest feedback as they want you to be better. They can give you response examples and tips on how to be more confident and prepared. I have never asked for a friend to practice interviews with me. However, I did not know that these people also have been through many interviews. So, their experiences and knowledge are far better than mine. Having someone play the role of an interviewer means they can help to work through the job applications with you and clarify any confusion you have with the role. By doing so, you and your friends will understand interviews better as a whole.

Recommendation 3: Ask for feedback after getting rejected

You may think it is intimidating and uncomfortable. You just got rejected. The last thing you want to do is to contact the person who rejects you. However, asking for feedback from people who reject you can bring a lot of future opportunities. Knowing specific things you need to improve on can help you polish for your next interview. There might be a tiny aspect of your interview that didn’t meet the interviewer’s expectations. Or there is an area that you need to work more on. Besides, asking for feedback also helps you with future opportunities. Recruiters understand that people are angry and disappointed when receiving rejection letters. However, they are more impressed by people who have overcome that sadness and ask for feedback as asking for feedback demonstrates a willingness to learn and grow.

In conclusion, UBC has done a tremendous job in providing different services to help each and every student in the career path. I really hope anyone who is reading this blog will not be sad over a failure, and gain back their confidence to get out there looking for another opportunity.


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