How to Bounce Back after getting your butt kicked and constantly Failing while Interviewing

By Jack J. Kelly


Seeking a new job is frustrating, aggravating, nerve wracking, and anxiety ridden (and this is coming from someone who earns a living as an Executive Recruiter). Be prepared, you will fail more times then you succeed. Resume submissions will go unanswered or you will receive insulting automatic form response emails. You will interview, believe you nailed it, and won’t hear back from anyone. There will be ten interview sessions with fifteen people over a six month period of time, and the only thing you will hear are the sounds of crickets chirping.


I exaggerate, you will hear, “No thank you, we found someone else for the role. Sorry, you don’t have the right background. We are going in a different direction. You have too much experience. You have too little experience. We hired an internal candidate.  Although you have the perfect amazing background, right educational experience, and a wonderful attitude, we are going to still look for other people. We just don’t like you and you dress funny and smell” (okay, the last one is silly).


It is easy to get depressed, dejected, lose your self-confidence and give up. You just want to quit and put an end to the torture. Don’t give in. I am here to help you power through the rejections and abuse. You need to have a strong success mindset.  This is a way to think positively even if the path is treacherous. Positive and successful thinking is a mental and emotional attitude that focuses on seeing the bright side of life. It is creating high expectation and willing positive results to happen. A positive person anticipates, visualizes and works towards happiness, health and success. She believes she can overcome any obstacle and difficulty thrown in her path. It is absolutely imperative to remain calm and confident in the face of failure. I am the right guy to help you because I am an experienced expert at failure and resurrection.


As a recruiter I fail all the time. I fail considerably more than I succeed. I fail about 9.8 times out of ten.  Let me offer some examples of my daily failures. I will call ten people to share a new job that I am recruiting for on behalf of top investment bank, and at least nine will politely say, “Thank you, but no thanks, try maybe next year”.  I could have five candidates interviewing for a job and the company goes with an internal candidate that they had in mind the whole time. I will pitch for new business and it goes to a competing recruiter who has an idiot brother-in-law in a high profile executive position who pulled some strings. I hire recruiter trainees and only a small precious few are able to make it. Offers are made to candidates that accept counter-offers or elect to take a different offer from a company that I am not involved with.


If I gave up every time I failed, I would not been in business for twenty years. I would have left the first afternoon on the day I started.


Failure hurts. It sucks. It’s not fun. But, it is part of the game. I’ll share my mindset for success with you that will enable you to work through the pain.  I work at my mental attitude and mindset all the time it’s like exercising a muscle to keep strong and fit.

Accept and embrace the fact that you can do anything you set your mind to. No excuses allowed. No dwelling on past failures. If you think and believe that you can improve your life, you will.  If you internalize the mindset that you are destined for an average life, then that will happen too.  To succeed you will need to upgrade your thoughts, and then everything will fall into place. Improve your internal mental monologue by staying positive and giving your subconscious mind the right instructions to help you achieve your goals. Program your mind to think of achieving your goals. Visualize what your success will look like. Picture yourself in the job with the company that you desire. Permit yourself to succeed. Avoid, at all costs, negative self-talk. Turn your thoughts toward optimism. Increase your expectations. Don’t just think positively but take assertive bold actions every day towards your goals. 


You have to remain focused. Remind yourself of your long term goals. What are the reasons for looking for a new job? Why do you want the new job? How much do you desire to improve yourself?  Stick with your game plan. Also, work on the day-to-day parts of your long -term plan. Tweak and enhance the resume, jazz-up your LinkedIn profile, network, meet with recruiters, and practice your elevator pitch. Repeat and repeat again each and every day.


You have to have confidence in yourself. Believe in yourself even if no one else does. You need to stay steadfast and focused even when nothing goes your way. Keep trying even though you keep failing. Never lose your sense of humor or sense of purpose.  Don’t let the defeats change you. The biggest problems I have seen is when people strike out they get angry. When they are angry they become bitter, irritable, and jealous and lash out at others around them. People pick-up on that negativity and anger, and will avoid you like the plague.  They will sense your resentment and treat you poorly because they feel uncomfortable with your bad attitude. This further compounds the problem.  Stay positive. Stay driven. Stay motivated.


In addition to having the right positive success-oriented mindset, I find it helpful to create visuals to keep focused and motivated.  For instance, think of yourself up at bat at a baseball game. Imagine you can stay at home plate as long as you want and take as many swings as you need. The crowd will boo, taunt you, throw objects onto the field, and mock you. However, if you could with stand the negativity, eventually you will get a hit. It is the same with interviewing. If you keep trying, moving forward and ignoring the negativity you eventually succeed.


Also, you need to continually pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and push forward.  Sometimes I will get a call from a candidate saying that they are rejecting an offer or accepting a counter offer. This may be the tenth negative all in a row it is easy to lose my cool and throw my phone against the wall and just sulk and go home. Instead, I take a walk to clear my head. I promise myself that when I return to my office every negative thing is in the past. I can’t change the past. It already happened. It’s over.  The moment I sit back down it is a new start. It sounds simple but works. It is a reboot.

Think positive, visualize what your success will look like, forget past failures, and boldly move forward with confidence.


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