Ask DN: Has not getting a job you applied for ever been a positive in your career?

almost 8 years ago from , Corporate Marketing Web Manager at Blackbaud, Inc.

And if so, how?

I've been passed up for a promotion/job opportunity a few times now at my current employer and have had the privilege of seeing the direction the successful candidate took said job in. Though I can attest to that direction not appealing to me, I have not seen shed any positive light on my career.


  • Max LindMax Lind, almost 8 years ago

    Prior to being lucky enough to join the DN team, I applied to a couple jobs where I was required to do a little homework alongside the traditional resume/portfolio/cover letter type stuff. I spent a good chunk of time/energy on said homework, so it was a disappointment to say the least when I got the "sorry..." email. Seems like some employers are using homework as a way to not only test you skills, but as a way to see how serious you actually are about the role. That's probably an entire conversation on it's own, but I can see the upside and downside for requiring something beyond the resume/portfolio.

    Yet, like many others, I'm glad it worked out how it did. I also follow the "everything happens for a reason" mantra (good or bad, even if you never know what that reason is/was)...just gotta trust your gut that it'll all work out in the end.

    5 points
  • Thompson GeorgeThompson George, almost 8 years ago

    Yes. I got passed up before. Went to four 4 interviews to find out I apparently wasn't experienced enough. At the time I was mad, but I am glad I didn't get it. Found a much better position a few weeks later. Everything happens for a reason.

    4 points
  • Mason LawlorMason Lawlor, almost 8 years ago

    A year and a half ago I resigned from my design firm.

    I applied for a design position at a certain firm in San Diego who had Adobe on their client list, and a couple other tech-celeb status clients. Got one or two interviews deep, I had a good feeling. I was almost certain I was going to get it. They'd call me next week to setup the final interview– radio silence.

    Damn. Adobe would have been a cool client to work for. I was legitimately bummed. This San Diego firm even got to drink beer at the office.

    About a month or two later when I was still trying to figure out what to do, an old time buddy hit me up. If I was willing to move to Salt Lake City, he said he just got a new client he was going to need help with. Client being Adobe.

    It was ironic how it worked out. Also, the beer thing worked out too. ;)

    I later realized the SD firm probably made a good move on not hiring me, because I easily get bored and make a pretty shitty employee. Everything worked out perfect, as it usually does.

    Good luck mate!

    3 points
  • Bennett WongBennett Wong, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )

    How would you ever know for sure. There's no right or wrong, different paths all have their own challenges and merits.

    2 points
  • Adrian HowardAdrian Howard, almost 8 years ago

    Lots of times:

    • On some occasions it's made me realise that I lack certain skills or experiences. Which was a positive in that it gave me direction on what I needed to improve at.

    • On some occasions it's made me realise that the position wasn't actually what I expected it to be — since the person who got it had radically different approaches from what I would have done. Which was positive in that I didn't end up in a role that I would have been unhappy with.

    • On some occasions I've seen the person who did get the position have a horrible, horrible time, because the company had huge problems / issues that were not obvious / made clear. Which was a positive in that it wasn't me having that horrible, horrible time.

    • On some occasions it's made me realise that I wasn't successfully communicating the value I could offer — since the person who got the role was less qualified than I was. Which was a positive in that it led me to improve my skills in communicating that value.

    1 point
  • Sean GeraghtySean Geraghty, almost 8 years ago

    Yeah, I interviewed a company once that invited me in to meet their CEO, (it was about 6.30PM by the time I met with him, 25 minutes later than agreed), when I left the office at 7.30 there were still a good proportion of the staff left in the office. As everyone was meant to finish at 6PM that's not a great sign. Also the CEO was asking questions like he read them out of a manual on how to ask interview questions (but for Silicon Valley startups) so most of them were tedious pointless quick fire questions that had nothing to do with the work itself. So in the end I'm glad I didn't get the job (well at least I don't think I did as I never heard from them).

    1 point
  • Drew McDonaldDrew McDonald, almost 8 years ago

    Got turned down for a position in Long Beach I really wanted, at the time I was definitely not experienced enough. Took another job that has treated me really well, I will probably try for that job again here in a year or two. I definitely wasn't ready, glad I didn't get hired and made a fool of myself. :)

    1 point
  • Oz LozanoOz Lozano, almost 8 years ago

    Yep, after a year at my first job I did a personal retrospective of my work there so far and realised I was proud of none of it. Projects were boring, the work environment was hostile. Red flags everywhere really, so I quit.

    1 point
  • Ethan BondEthan Bond, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )

    I was turned down for an internship that I really wanted, then re-applied a year later and got it. What was a remarkably challenging, fast-paced, and enjoyable internship for 19 year old me probably would have been absolutely grueling and disheartening for 18 year old me. So I think it was unequivocally positive in those terms

    Rejections themselves are inherently non-negative. A rejection is (at the very least) saving you from working with people who don't want to work with you. Take that knowledge and either a) refine what you are looking for, or b) refine what they are looking for.

    1 point
    • Lucas Cobb, almost 8 years ago

      Do you feel they took into account that you had applied previously and progressed over the course of the next year?

      1 point
      • Ethan BondEthan Bond, almost 8 years ago

        Probably. I was fortunate enough to receive a little bit of feedback after my first rejection, but it took a lot of introspection to find out where I went wrong.

        My second application was a chance to display the effort I put in to both introspection/self-awareness as well as growth/learning. I ended up interning there twice and am headed there full-time in a few months!

        0 points
  • Ed LeaEd Lea, almost 8 years ago

    I would say it's always been positive.

    Sure, I might have been bummed that I didn't get any particular job for a day or two. But not getting that job always turns out to be the right call. In contrast, I've gotten jobs that turned out to be the wrong call.

    Let me explain. Not getting a job is an opportunity to grow. Figure out why you didn't get it and address those issues. In the cases you are totally dumbfounded why you didn't that job (and I've thought that many times) it's been something hard to quantify, like cultural fit, bad vibes, off days or whatever. If those are the reasons, you just dodged a bullet, so count yourself lucky.

    1 point
  • Rachel Fox, almost 8 years ago

    My dream job opened up at my dream company, so I applied! I got an email of rejection the next week and at the same time a friend of mine told me that she had gotten the offer... I was so bummed. However, she told me the offer was REALLY low money wise (like not even livable) and that the hours were sweatshop hours. Not getting my "dream Job" turned into me finding a job that pays well with hours and culture more in line with what I need.

    0 points
  • George Bartz, almost 8 years ago

    If you follow up with the employer and figure out why you didn't get the job, it will give you something to focus and improve on. In my book, that is a positive. Ultimately, I think it all depends on the designer to make it a positive or negative experience. Some people will be defeated, while others will be empowered. Your call.

    0 points