What to do when you don’t get the job

Illustration of a rejected job applicant, crying a tear.

Artwork  by Jane Kelly.  © Used by permission

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Being rejected for a job is one of the worst experiences in the world. You’ve spent hours making a resume and cover letter, researched to ace the interview, made well-crafted responses, bonded with the interviewer and sent a beautiful thank you letter after. Still, they turned you down. Was it something you said? Something you didn’t say or do? It can leave you perplexed and depressed. It’s experiences like this that can make you think twice about moving to a new country.

Before you start packing your bags, pause and take a deep breath. Remember that it is not the only job out there. You can turn this negative experience into a learning opportunity. Here’s how:

Keep calm and do an assessment

It’s ok to be disappointed and hurt, even angry. But allow yourself to calm down. Try to assess the situation when you are thinking clearer.

Think back: Was there a specific skill or job experience that they were looking for that you don’t have? Was there a question that you did not understand and did not answer well? Was there anything that you could have done or said better? Note them down. Evaluating your performance honestly will help you improve. It will make you a stronger candidate when the next opportunity comes.

Ask for feedback

Asking for feedback after a rejection may not be something that you normally do in your home country but this is perfectly acceptable in Canada. A good opportunity to do this is when you respond to the company’s rejection email.

First, thank them for informing you. Also thank them for their time and consideration. Say that you acknowledge their decision and mention that you are interested in being considered for possible openings in the future. Finally, give them the option of providing feedback. Say something like, “I would appreciate it if you have feedback for me. I would love to use it to make myself a stronger candidate in the future”. Keep your letter brief and to the point. To see a good sample letter, go to: The letter to write when you don’t get the job by Lisa Vaas.

If they did not email you but called you instead, ask for it then. However, if the person on the line was not the interviewer, they may not be able to provide it. If you haven’t sent them a thank you email after the interview, this is your chance to do it. Send it directly to the person who interviewed you.

Listen to the feedback with an open mind. Yes, it will hurt and you may disagree with some of the points, but be objective. Do not forget to thank the recruiter for honouring your request. Not all employers will take the time to provide good feedback.

Make a connection

Another result of acquiring feedback is creating a good connection with the recruiter. You may be able to impress them with your questions, objectivity as well as your humility and professionalism. And when you become a memorable connection, guess who they’ll call when a job opening becomes available?
Article updated November 3, 2020.
Sources: Job rejections: Should you ask for feedback? Jaime Petkanics, The Prepary; Get interview feedback, Ian Christie, Monster.com.

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Community Resources

Read 7 tips for writing great emails to help you craft your messages.

A professional career counsellor can guide you in navigating all the aspects of job application, and counsel you to help you stay employed. Manitoba Start can help. You can also consult your nearest Immigrant Settlement Service Provider for employment assistance.

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What to do when you don’t get the job

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