Sometimes it can be challenging to be objective when receiving feedback, especially if you didn’t get the job. Feedback can easily translate to ‘you’re not good enough’ and leave you feeling deflated, demoralised and disappointed.

But feedback can be an opportunity to develop. Learning to reframe negative emotions is the first step in using feedback to help you grow.

Here are my top tips on turning that frown upside down, believing you are good enough, and walking into your next interview feeling dynamic, distinctive and determined.

Don’t take interview feedback personally

First of all – and this is the hardest bit – try not to feel discouraged about your ability to excel at a prospective new role.

The fact that you didn’t get the job doesn’t mean you won’t get ANY job! It might mean that there was a candidate who was better for this specific role. It might mean that your interview skills need sharpening. Or that you don’t have all the necessary experience for the role yet.

And don’t forget that you can improve! You might have been rejected this time, but could you get this job in a few years? Absolutely!

Focus on improvements you can make

Were there specific areas or questions that could use some improvement? Look at how you could have answered differently and develop your perfect answers for next time!

  • Could you have elaborated and highlighted your strengths in more detail?
  • Could you have translated how your skills would suit that particular role and organisation?
  • Were there specific answers you gave that you didn’t feel overly confident about once you had time to decompress and reflect after your interview?

What can you change going forward?

Try not to dwell on the past, and use reflective thinking to change what you need to for the future.

Have you been told you haven’t got the right level of experience?

Look at the person specification for the role you are interviewing for and find the areas where you could improve. Explore ways to build upon your existing knowledge, skills and experience in these areas. Showcase your commitment to developing your existing skillset and the transferable skills you can build upon.

How to accept feedback

Whether you receive feedback from the employer directly or an external recruiter, accept the feedback constructively. It can be natural to be defensive about your skills, but try to listen and take what they say onboard.

If you don’t feel ready to hear detailed feedback after a rejection, let your recruiter know and reschedule a time when you might be able to better take on their suggestions.

The more positively you engage with the feedback, the more attractive you will become as a potential employee. Remember that this will not be the only position that opens within the organisation. There may be other roles more suited to you further down the road.

In our recruitment practice, we often see the unsuccessful candidates who implement our interview feedback receive an offer with flying colours for the next role they apply for.

Know when to push back

There might be some cases when the feedback you receive is not constructive but offensive and rude.

Be up to date with your rights – under the Equality Act 2010 interviewers must treat all applications appropriately and fairly and not reject any candidate based on age, gender, race, sexuality or any other protected characteristic.

If you received unfair treatment because of these characteristics, you can make a formal complaint to the employer.

It’s easy to feel like feedback from a prospective employer is negative and take it as criticism. However, if you’re able to view it as a constructive coaching tool, you’ll be surprised at how much difference it can have on how you approach your next interview and help you land that role!


Polly Mortimer is a recruitment consultant specialising in appointing leaders to Awarding Bodies and Skills Organisations. With a drive to help people find their dream job, connect with Polly on LinkedIn or send her an email to chat about the next steps in your career.