How to Turn a Potential Job Rejection into a Job Offer

woman excited at work

Canva / Fairygodboss Staff

Jessica Howington for FlexJobs
Jessica Howington for FlexJobs
April 16, 2024 at 7:24PM UTC
When it comes to job interviews, no doubt most of us have had an experience where we just felt like things weren’t going to work out. Perhaps you didn’t click well with the recruiter, or you feel like you totally botched an answer to a question during the interview.
But as with most experiences, it might not be too late to turn things around. This includes preventing a potential job rejection and turning it into a job offer. Occasionally, if you’re willing to do some damage control, you can turn the experience around. There’s still hope before the official rejection letter makes it to your inbox.

Turning Around a Potential Rejection

When you’re walking out of your interview with a feeling of dread, thinking “Oof, that didn’t go well,” following some interview best practices can help move the needle in your favor. Where’s the first place to start? In your follow-up thank-you note. (You always send those, right?)
Strategically creating dialogue that battles whatever challenges you faced is an excellent tactic. Consider the following tips.

Know the Employer’s Needs

Suppose you’re interviewing for a social media coordinator role. Spend some time analyzing the employer’s needs and creating an example campaign. Sure, this requires more effort, and there’s no guarantee that it will pay off. However, you’ll stand out from the other candidates and have the opportunity to make a significant impact.

Clarify Any Missed Answers

Are you cringing over an answer that you gave? This is a great time to expound on that answer. Suppose the recruiter asked, “What interests you most about this position?” and you replied, “Oh, definitely the benefits!” and then silently sank into a chair…
You can come back from that by being honest. It’s alright to admit that you were nervous and didn’t fully explain yourself. Then, clarify with a better answer, such as:
“What I meant to say was that during my research, I discovered the company hosts a monthly volunteer project with their team members. I’m very excited about the possibility of working with a company that will support my passion for local outreach. Several of the previous projects were at local nonprofits that I’ve also supported in the past, such as the Food Bank and Women’s Shelter.”

Include Some Follow-Up

While a thank-you note is an essential part of the interviewing process, if you feel that you have taken yourself out of the running, including some fundamental skills or experience can help you recover. Rather than sound like a sales pitch, tie it into something you discussed during the interview.
  • Success and performance in past jobs
  • How you can meet the employer’s needs
  • Attach a few endorsements

Once the Rejection Has Been Received

Every interview is a choice. Even if you didn’t get an offer, the recruiter still chose you over other candidates to learn more about.
Consider that another candidate might have simply been a better fit for the current team. Perhaps they had a specific skill that you haven’t honed yet. While it’s admittedly very challenging, trying to view every interview and rejection as a chance to grow is a great way to approach your thank-you letter.
Wait, are we suggesting that you send a thank-you letter after a rejection? Absolutely! Beyond getting feedback that can help you sharpen your interview process moving forward, you can turn your denial into an offer in rare cases. Perhaps there is a different role you’re better suited for. Reaching out in a positive tone might nudge the recruiter to inquire if you’re interested in being considered for it.

Ask for Feedback

Rather than leading with, “Can you tell me why?” create a softer dialogue that invites feedback. Consider asking something like, “I’d love some feedback on how to become more competitive. Can you tell me if there is a skill or experience that I’m missing when compared to the other applicants?”

Analyze the Chemistry

Sometimes people “click,” and other times, they don’t. If your interview chemistry is off, consider spending some time sharpening your interview skills. Have someone mock interview you, whether it’s a friend, family member, or a professional mentor.

Assess Your Research

Did you conduct sufficient research into the company? Recruiters and managers seek the candidate with the most passion for the role and the company. Did you do your due diligence? It will certainly show if you don’t.
Were you able to speak about the company’s mission and ask meaningful questions specific to the company’s culture and product? What about their social media presence and brand identity? Did you convey that you didn’t want just any job, but you were excited by the possibilities of this role with this company?

Seek Expert Help

Yes, it is okay to ask for help. Having outside perspectives and fresh ideas can make a huge difference. If you find yourself on the receiving end of several rejection letters, it might be time to call a professional career coach. They can help you tweak your interview skills, tailor your resume, and give pointers on showcasing your transferrable skills.
This article originally appeared in FlexJobs. FlexJobs is the leading career service specializing in flexible work, providing the largest database of vetted remote and flexible job listings. To support job seekers in all phases of their journey, FlexJobs offers a range of services including expert advice, job search events, and career coaching. FlexJobs also works with leading companies to recruit quality remote talent and optimize their remote and flexible workplace.

What’s your no. 1 piece of advice for bouncing back after a job rejection? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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