The Interim Interview Paradox: When a job rejection is a blessing in disguise

You’ve done all of you research, the role is the exact challenge you’re looking for next and you thought you nailed the interview. Then you get the bad news that you didn’t get that interim roleIt’s a kick in the teeth. 

But as an interim candidate, all disappointments can (and should!) be turned on their head.   

Stop what you’re doing and take stock

If you’ve been rejected after an interim interview, you need to assess your rejection immediately after getting the call. You’ll want to analyse how you felt you did at the interview and, more importantly, this should match up to the feedback you get from the hiring manager.  If the company’s view of the interview is drastically different to your own then there’s a problem. 

It’s crucial to be able to assess your interview performance objectively.  Only then can you turn a rejection to your advantage.  Critically looking at how you performed will help you get better at interviews, increase your success rate and decrease the amount of down time between contracts.

Don’t accept a ‘brief’ brief

A rejection at interview can often be the push you need to take a look at how you approach the whole job process - starting with the brief you get from the recruitment consultant.  The cardinal rule of job briefs is ‘never accept a two-line brief!’   Just because the role is a contract doesn’t mean your insight into the role should be any less and the same level of preparation is needed for both.

Treat an interim interview like a perm interview

There can be a tendency to walk into an interim interview and treat it more lightly as the role is short term.  You may even think the client is thinking along same lines. This false sense of confidence is incredibly counterproductive, and it can come across as a sense of bravado or a lack of preparation which clients hate. Make sure you treat each interim interview as you would a permanent interview by preparing well.  When you look back, even if you may have been rejected, you will know you did all you could.

What can be taken away from a rejection?

As well kick-starting an immediate self-analysis, rejection also makes you look at how you approach your interim career long term.

Was it really the right role at the right time?

Rejection can inspire you to think in-depth about where you’re going and fine tune the roles you apply for.  You don’t know what is around the corner, but it pays to really consider if the roles you’re going for are the right ones for you.

Running a skills MOT

I always recommend doing a skills MOT every year or so.  If you’ve recently been rejected, this is the perfect time.  Take a circumspect look at your abilities and areas that need developing and make sure you’re fully promoting your top attributes.    After a skills MOT, you can also reverse the recruitment process by approaching businesses and keeping on their radar. Build relationships with recruitment agencies and make sure you are front of their minds as well. 

Don’t bet on one outcome

In interim recruitment, a lot more things could go wrong compared with permanent roles, so you’ve got to learn to play the odds. You may be the best person for the role, but the situation could change – the role could go internally, the budget could be pulled, the project may get cancelled or the decision could be influenced by a multitude of other reasons.  Keep all your avenues open and never close yourself to opportunities because they don’t appear great on paper.  It’s best to meet people face to face and the opportunity may surprise you.

Create long-term relationships

As an interim it’s vital to develop a long term strategic partnership with one or two recruitment consultants. Use this relationship to your advantage, work with us to get advice about the market and areas you could improve.  We want you to be successful in your interim career just as much as you do. The best recruitment consultants understand that your long-term career development is beneficial to you and them.

Ultimately playing the long game as an interim is more important than short term gain. Learning from every rejection is as important as learning in every new role you take on. You’ll never get to the stage of being successful in every interview you go to, but you will get better at picking up the roles that you want and getting more enjoyment and skills enhancement from your interim career. 

So next time you hear those dreaded work “sorry you were not successful…”, don’t just walk away from it - learn from it. It will make you a better interim and will allow you to develop the career you had planned at the start.


Taz Vaid

Business Manager – Interim

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