Bottom Line - Ask for feedback after your rejection. Find the common threads, fix them, and get better at the interview game.
When you’re interviewing as a junior developer, you’ll learn to grow a thick skin as the rejections come through.
Take advantage of rejections and reach back out to the recruiter or the company and ask “What could I have done better?”.
Reach out and write something like this:
I appreciate you taking the time to respond back. I believe that feedback helps us learn. Could you share any feedback from the interviewer as to what I could have done better or what might have led to not considering me at this point? I’m fairly open about feedback and won’t be hurt by specifics. Thanks again for taking the time.
I learned this trick when I was applying to jobs as a junior software developer. One recruiter hooked me up with several interviews and came back to me with feedback about why the interviewers decided to reject me. It hurt reading that feedback but I quickly knew what to target to make myself stand out better in interviews.
Your goal is to extract value out of the rejection you get. I’m going to guess most companies will respond and give you their critiques. Your job is to compile those critiques into common critiques.
Break down those common critiques and fix them for your future interviews. That’s how you get better at interviewing. Rejection starts to make you a stronger candidate because it exposes your blind spots. You learn your weaknesses and learn the game of the interview and how to play it better.
I recently started to review coding challenges and resumes at my company. I make detailed notes as to the pros and cons of every candidate that comes through. If candidates reached out, I’d gladly share the feedback.
Finally, don’t take feedback as the ‘truth’. It’s not. It’s one person’s opinion. That’s why I mention to work on common critiques. If you have five people telling you that you seem uninterested in an interview – that’s something to explore and figure out why you’re coming off like that.
Finally – interviews are a numbers game. If you get an offer, it doesn’t mean you were their #1 pick. Companies will often funnel down to their top 3 candidates when making an offer.
They might make an offer to candidate #1 and she might reject it. They will then make you an offer. You will never know whether you were the first pick, the second, or the very last.
Who cares? You got the job you wanted. The problem is that you wouldn’t have gotten the job had candidate #1 accepted. You would have gotten a rejection instead.
There are too many variables outside of your control.
If you keep learning from your rejections and keep increasing those interview numbers, luck will be on your side and you’ll have a better chance at getting an offer.