While Everyone Enjoyed Meeting You...

To anyone who has been rejected from a job interview - this is for you. Read it as many times as you need to.

God Damn - This Hurts

You did well. You did *very* well. You even got to the last stage and the recruiter excitedly told you that there were no more interviews but you are a final candidate and they would be in touch.

You researched and prepared.

You dared to dream - you fantasized changing your LinkedIn status. You already started missing your friends from work.

You did a few quick calculations to see what the change in pay would be. You imagined working in that office.

And then you got the call - and your heart sunk when you heard: "Though everyone liked meeting you" and "keep your resume on file..." you put on a cheery voice and thanked the "fake-nice sympathy" recruiter who before today was like your best friend, now turned "someone that I used to know" but you feel defeated. Like you were punched in the gut.

Let's talk about it.

First of all, here are some things you should know:

1. If you got that far - you CAN do the job - never doubt your abilities.

2. A candidate is usually selected because they said the "one right thing" - something that resonated with the interviewer- a common cause, a recent problem, a similar situation.

3. If you made it that far - you didn't do anything wrong - you weren't *rejected* someone else was *selected*

4. It ALWAYS works out - this job felt like a dream job didn't it? It wasn't - the dream job is the one that makes you the offer.

5. You are skilled and valuable and the right opportunity is coming. This was simply a step on the way.

6. I have sat on hundreds of candidate debriefs and seen thousands of forms. When you get to the final stage, the decision is agony. Ask hiring managers - in so many cases there are 3 or 4 or 5 really strong candidates who can do the job, but there is only one position

We don't always like to admit it, but rejection can hurt. Why is that?

Humans are Funny

As I became more focused on creating content and doing consulting - I became less focused on finding a full-time job. So in order to keep my content credible and up to date, I interview frequently. I am happy to report I have received 4 offers from companies in the last year. I am happy to turn them down and I am happy to imagine them making an offer to a runner-up. I know how wonderful it feels to get that call.

In each case, I seriously considered the offer. I Truly measured if I could give 100% of myself to a company. If I believed their mission and values, if I liked the people, the compensation, the benefits. Each time I knew it wasn't the right fit. If I do go back to work full-time, I will need myself to be 100% committed. We both deserve that.

Interestingly enough, I was interviewing for a Sr HRBP role for HBO Max a few months ago. I really like the company, and I was fascinated by the Discovery acquisition. Everyone I met on the team was absolutely amazing. The salary was on the lower side, but I was still interested.

I could tell I was doing well. I've been in the game long enough to know how to interview well, to keep myself from rambling, to make the interview more engaging, but after the final interview, I knew it wasn't going to be a right fit.

The recruiter excitedly told me I had done VERY well and would get to back in me in a few days. An email was sent to confirm the compensation.

I agonized over this because deep down, I knew there was something that wasn't a match. I wondered if I should tell them first, or wait until they called me. I practiced what I was going to say and how I would thank them for their time but that it just wasn't the right place for me.

At 11:33am on a Friday, I got a call from the recruiter.

I braced myself for having to tell him I wasn't going to take the role...but then I heard it: "...They really loved meeting you and were really impressed with your experience, but they went with another candidate who they felt could gel better with the team...I'm sorry, I'll keep you in mind for future opportunities."

After hanging up - in a mixture of true comedy and true pain from rejection, I said out-loud: "WHAT! How DARE you" and then I laughed.

How wildly illogical humans are. This was literally the best possible outcome possible. At some point I eventually felt relief, but the first waves were this weird mixture of unease and rejection. The brain chemistry that activates with rejection is a powerful one, and it took me a good few hours to eventually shake it.

What Do You Do?

Here is my general guide to how to handle a rejection. Every person is different, and I notice that the level of rejection we feel is directly correlated with how invested we were and how many interviews we have had so take what you will from this and I promise you will be okay.


The feelings are real. Accept them, feel them, wallow in them. Do your favorite feel-good activity of choice. You've earned it


Asking for feedback is pointless. Wondering where you went wrong, second-guessing yourself, wondering what will happen if the other candidate doesn't accept is all a huge waste of time. The decision was made and the faster you reach the "Let it Go" point, the more it become an event in the past.


Friends, coworkers, family members will all have your best interest at heart - but what do we feel when we tell them the bad news? Most of us feel a strange but powerful shame. As though it's a mark of us being inadequate. Don't put yourself in that situation. You don't have to share the news with anyone. You are not obligated to tell anyone anything until you are ready and I find it's better to wait until you have let it go that you can give the updates

Move On.

I can't tell you the amount of times I've seen someone get so upset about a rejection, only to be contacted by a new company a few weeks or months later and it all just works out.

The amount of times I've both experienced myself, and heard someone say: "Thank GOD I didn't get that other job, I would've never found my place here."

It all works out, I promise.

Be Kind.

It can feel very tempting to be a little snide to the recruiter, and it can feel very tempting to be cruel to ourselves. Avoid both of those temptations. If you don't trust yourself to be kind on the phone, wait until you can and send a note to the recruiter and/or hiring manager.

I was rejected by Sequoia for a Director, HRBP role last year that really bummed me out. I sent a note to the CHRO expressing how amazing I thought she was and that I wished their new person all the luck in the world. As I reflect back on that memory and the very kind email she wrote back, Im pleased with the exchange.


This...is difficult, and only for when we are feeling VERY advanced.

It is something I started to notice a few years ago, but it has helped me a great deal.

After you deal with the sting and the negativity, imagine what you would've felt if you had received that offer. Imagine the excitement, the thrill, the joy. Now imagine...that did happen, it just wasn't for you. Someone did get that call, someone is feeling that joy. Imagine congratulating and celebrating them. They aren't your enemy or rival or antagonist.

This is what helped me get over the Sequoia rejection - when I saw who was hired, and realized how experienced she was in the industry and how much value she would bring, I agreed with their choice. She had 8 years more experience than I did and was far more competent in a few areas than me. While it's easy to be negative and salty, recognizing that the hiring managers generally have a good idea of what they need can help remove some of the sting.


The funny thing about our most intense feelings - such as pain from rejection or sadness, is no matter how many times we learn that they are temporary, we get "lost" in them and they feel like it's our whole reality.

Remember, you got over heart-break, you were rejected before, you've been ghosted and people have been mean to you. And you are still here, a wonderful person filled with potential and joy. This feeling is temporary. It will pass. In a few hours or a few days. you will feel better and all of this will be a memory.

You are going to be fine. I promise!


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