5 ways to deal with interview rejection and plan your next steps

 5 ways to deal with interview rejection and plan your next steps

Have you ever received that dreaded interview rejection phone call or email? It can be tough, but Alice Weeks, Octopus Personnel Recruitment Consultant, explains why you shouldn’t feel dejected or disheartened. Instead you can use this experience to positively plan the next steps in your job search.


Any recruiter will tell you that the interview rejection phone call is a tough one to make – especially if the candidate has prepared well for the interview.  The way you handle interview rejection is just as important as the skills on your CV when it comes to securing a new role. If you allow interview rejection to knock your confidence and make you doubt your abilities, it could negatively affect your performance in future interviews.

So when you get that call, here are a few things to remember to keep you positive, optimistic and motivated, and help you plan what to do next.

5 point plan to deal with rejection and move forward

1. Rejection is not feedback

Whilst you may not have secured this role, that doesn’t mean that you did anything wrong!  At Octopus Personnel, we always follow up on interviews and give feedback to candidates.

Next step: Listen to what you did right (so you can do it again next time) and think about the areas that could be improved. Act on that feedback!

5 point plan to deal with rejection and move forward (2)

2. It’s not personal

It is very easy to take rejection personally.  However, most of the reasons behind hiring decisions will not be made apparent to you. You may have performed excellently but there could be other factors at play. For example, there may have been a strong internal candidate who is already familiar with the business, or another candidate with slightly more relevant experience than you. These are things you cannot change.  Focus on the positives you are given in the feedback, be aware of any advice in terms of areas to improve and move forward positively.

Next step: Revisit your CV to remind yourself of your strengths. Annotate your CV with examples that worked well in this interview.

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3. A fresh approach

Approach each new job opportunity with a fresh perspective and a positive attitude. Tailor your CV to best match a new opportunity and fully research and prepare for a new interview. If you made mistakes or felt unprepared in your last interview – learn from this but don’t keep it at the forefront of your mind, it will only make you nervous.

Every company and hiring manager is different and will have a different idea of the ‘ideal candidate’. Keep a fresh approach while remaining true to your personality and experience.  Your Octopus Personnel consultant will prepare you beforehand with details about the interview and role. You can then support this with your own research about the company.  Put in the work each time.

Next step:  Start preparing for the next interview with the same commitment and vigour.

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4. Keep learning and developing

Whilst that interview rejection phone call might not be the one you are hoping for, there are still things you can do to keep making a difference to your morale, motivation and employability.  A part-time training course or webinar, a charity project, mentorship or a voluntary position in a company of interest can keep your skills sharpened and your experience relevant and up to date.  If you are not working, temping can be an excellent way to learn new skills and add to your professional contacts.

By keeping professionally active in this way, you can aid ongoing development, boost confidence, give yourself a focus outside your job hunt and provide a discussion point in your next interview.

Next step:  Seek out other opportunities to keep your skills and experience relevant and up to date.

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5. Always leave room for Plan B

Don’t pin your hopes on one specific job in the belief that it’s a perfect fit. If you don’t get that job, the rejection can be harder to take.  Think about each interview as a point along the journey to your next role. It’s also smart to pursue multiple opportunities, even when you are particularly invested in one role.

Next step:  Whilst you should tailor your CV and research for each role, you can apply for multiple roles at the same time.  Take an organised approach to make sure you don’t get the details of each role confused.

5 point plan to deal with rejection and move forward (6)

Have I convinced you?  What have you got to lose?

At Octopus Personnel, we are experts at presenting our candidates to ensure the employer is able to see all the skills and experience you are bringing to a role.  Years of industry expertise and outstanding relationships with our clients means that we are perfectly positioned within the market to guide you to your new role and interview success.

You can sign up here or call the team on 01747 825568 to set up an appointment to register with us.





Alice Weeks

About the author

I specialise in temporary recruitment and I’m always planning ahead, but manage to fill those last minute gaps! I really enjoy the buzz of the Octopus Office and no two days are the same. For me, it’s really important to get to know my candidates so I can support them on assignments and get the best from them.

I love baking so working in the Octopus Office with a monthly bake-off is a dream come true. I am a great listener and I know the power of a well-timed cup of tea and a biscuit!

The perfect, proactive LinkedIn profile: up your game in an hour

Rae Britton, Octopus Personnel Marketing Manager, explains how to invest an hour today to improve your LinkedIn profile to work harder for you – establishing yourself as a full-fledged industry professional, maximising engagement, maintaining your personal brand or seeking that dream role.

Is #lockdown2020 the time to update your LinkedIn profile?  Did you know that LinkedIn, the professional social networking platform, has actually been around longer than Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram? It hosts more than 600 million professional profiles, offering an almost unlimited supply of network connections and job opportunities.

Wherever you are in your LinkedIn profile journey, follow my 13 point plan to get you noticed, help you craft a stunning summary that illustrates your accomplishments, projects and skills and make your profile seriously shine.

Quick note, before you get started, turn off the update my network feature until you are completely happy with the final product.  That way you can edit discreetly to your hearts content!

A window saying 'Welcome to LinkedIn' Why not use #lockdown2020 to give yourself the perfect LinkedIn Profile in an hour?

1. Show a complete Linked-up LinkedIn picture

Simply put, there more of your profile you complete the better!  You need to fill out every single section of your LinkedIn profile to make sure you’re noticed and can be found by the right people for the right reasons.   LinkedIn actually measures how complete your profile is as you are working on it and makes suggestions on how to make it stronger – use them!

2. Get a Custom URL

A custom URL looks much more professional and it easier to find and include on your CV – and it’s simple to do!  On the Edit Profile screen, at the bottom of the grey window that shows your basic information, you’ll see a Public Profile URL. Click “Edit” next to the URL, and specify what you’d like your address to be. When you’re finished, click Set Custom URL to quickly and easily guide employers directly through to your LinkedIn profile.

Image showing a laptop - Edit your LinkedIn Profile on PC in only an hour

3. Pick the perfect photo

Your profile picture is your calling card on LinkedIn – it’s how people are introduced to you and (visual beings that we are) it governs possible employers’ impressions from the start so invest in your profile picture.  It’s your first chance to communicate that you are friendly, likable, and trustworthy — attributes that are crucial to getting prospects to engage with you.  This is the first step to building your personal brand on your LinkedIn profile and making yourself stand out from other candidates.

Here are some quick guidelines to follow:

  • Make sure the picture is recent and looks like you
  • The ideal size is 400 x 400 pixels (but you can use anything up to 8MB)
  • Your face should take up around 60% of your profile and you should be the only person in the picture (long-distance shots don’t stand out)
  • Avoid selfies – two minutes with someone else taking the picture makes all the difference
  • Use soft, natural light
  • Wear what you would like to wear to work, and smile with your eyes
  • Avoid distracting backgrounds
  • Use filters wisely – you want your image to look polished and sharp, so stick to spotlight or classic filters.

4. What makes you unique? Your headline!

Your headline doesn’t have to be your job title and company—in fact, especially if you’re looking for jobs, it shouldn’t be. Instead, use that space to succinctly showcase your speciality, value proposition, or your “so what?” The more specific you can be about what sets you apart from the competition, the better.

Sign saying for hire - Get noticed by the right people! Image showing a laptop - Get the perfect, proactive LinkedIn Profile in only an hour

5. Target your dream job

Download the job descriptions for your ideal role.  Use a tool such as Wordle to distill out the key phrases or words that recruiters and employers will be searching for and make sure they are sprinkled throughout your summary and experience.  Make sure your LinkedIn profile is dressed for the job you want!

6. Create a super summary

A summary is so important because it is your chance to tell your own story; it should never just be a list of skills or the job titles you’ve had. This is your most personal piece of content marketing, your chance to speak directly to the reader – and it’s worth the effort.  Try to bring to life why your skills matter – and the difference they can make to the people you work with. Invest some serious time in drafting and redrafting your summary – and seek comment from others.

Approximately 3-5 paragraphs long, your summary should be conversational but professional, walking the reader through what makes you passionate about you work, your key skills, unique qualifications and a summary of the various industries you’ve worked within over the years.  Avoid buzzwords like the plague, be warm and welcoming and write in the first person.

7. Power up your summary with multimedia

We all know that a picture is worth a 1,000 words, especially when it comes to showcasing your work. LinkedIn lets you add photos, videos, and slideshow presentations to your profile summary, and this is such a powerful tool. Instead of just talking about your work, you can show examples and let the work speak for itself! Or show yourself in action. Or share a presentation. Click ‘Edit profile,’ scroll down to your summary, then click on the box symbol, then ‘add file.’  You’ll be glad you did!

8. Expand on your experience

Your LinkedIn profile is the place to highlight your best accomplishments, not to simply create a list of jobs.  Flesh out your experience section with bullet points that describe what you did, how well you did it, and who it impacted.  Use the first person.  Use numbers to show impact, “I have helped more than 500 business people—from entry level to CEO—understand how to effectively use LinkedIn.”

Expand on your experience - Sign saying for hire - Get noticed by the right people! Image showing a laptop - Get the perfect, proactive LinkedIn Profile in only an hour

9. Add Projects, Volunteer Experiences, or Languages

Do you speak French, Spanish or Mandarin? Have a first aid or project management certification? Volunteer for a homeless shelter each weekend?   A great way to showcase what makes you unique in terms of skills and experiences is to add these “additional” profile features (listed on the left when you’re editing your profile).  They really make you stand out from the crowd and help your LinkedIn profile to speak about who you are!

10. Get recommended

Feedback is so powerful and lovely to receive, but you can make it work harder for you! When someone says, “You did a great job on that project!” ask them to take a snapshot of that success by writing a recommendation on LinkedIn. Don’t be afraid to specify what you’d like the recommender to focus on so you don’t end up with a generic, “Rae was great to work with.”  “Rae’s contributions on the project enabled us to increase customer engagement by 15% over our original plan” will really showcase your strengths and help future employers envision how your skills could benefit them.  Be strategic about your recommendations – ask a wide range of different people and ask them to focus on different skills or experiences.  You can review each recommendation once it’s made, deciding whether to add it or hide it.  Make sure each one address a different skill and really highlights your impact.

11. Manage your skills

You need to manage your endorsements and keep your skills updated.  Whether you change career, develop a new skill or take on new responsibilities, regular maintenance of your LinkedIn profile means that the skills and experiences you really want to be known will be clearly displayed so when connections land on your page, they’ll only see the most relevant skills.

12. Make Sure People Can Find You

The contact information section of your LinkedIn profile is vital!  Make sure it holds your correct, up-to-date information, including your email address (or blog, or Twitter handle, or anywhere else you’d like to be found).

Get the LinkedIn app and Expand on your experience - Sign saying for hire - Get noticed by the right people! Image showing a laptop - Get the perfect, proactive LinkedIn Profile in only an hour

13. Stay engaged!

Here are my top tips for maintaining a vibrant LinkedIn profile which works to attract the right people:

  • Show your enthusiasm! Use your status line to announce projects, events or anything which you’re doing related to your field
  • Update your status weekly – Share interesting articles or news, or an article you wrote. Well-expressed comments also enable you to share a broader range of content, whether you agree with the article or found it’s counterpoint interesting. Your comment expressing that viewpoint starts to establish your opinion and thought-leadership and encourages your connections to engage.
  • Publish on LinkedIn – Share your perspective about what’s going on in your field, weigh in on a recent industry development, or show off your skills as a writer. If you have a WordPress blog, consider using a plugin such as WP LinkedIn Auto Publish to automatically publish on LinkedIn
  • Join and participate in groups related to your field of expertise.  They are ongoing online networking events, providing instant connections to key people and enable you to be part of relevant discussions and connect with the leaders in your industry
  • Add to your connections, but only people you know! A good guide is to have 50 or more connections
  • Keep reviewing your profile monthly. Step back, take a look at your profile, and see how it looks to an outside person. Is it enticing—or overwhelming? Edit accordingly
  • Get the app on your phone! You can easily like, comment or share posts with a quick tap.  Your notifications and messenger will help you to be more responsive to developments in your LinkedIn communities.

If you are looking for that dream role…

At Octopus Personnel, we are experts at presenting our candidates to ensure the employer is able to see all the skills and experience you are bringing to a role.  Years of industry expertise, outstanding relationships with our clients and grasp of the needs of their business, means we are perfectly positioned within the market to guide you to your new role.  You can sign up here or call the office on 01747 825568 to arrange an interview.

Erin Belmont

About the author

I look after the marketing for Octopus – from the job adverts you see to the events we put on throughout the year.

I love being in the middle of the office, soaking up the lively dynamic atmosphere. The team at Octopus really care about our job searchers and clients and do everything they can to understand everyone’s needs and make intelligent and productive job matches. Their drive and fun loving spirit inspire me every day!


Creating an Age-Positive Work Culture to Benefit Your Business

With more organisations than ever before facing the challenges of an older workforce, Sandra Smart, Company Director of Octopus Personnel, outlines how to build an Age-Positive work culture to benefit all and drive your business forward.

Woman interviewing older man - Octopus Personnel Age-Positive Work Culture

One in 25 of the UK workforce is now aged 65 and over, new figures from the Office for National Statistics suggest. It is the first time since comparable records began that the proportion of the workforce aged 65 and over has passed 4%. With even more over 50s likely to be in work than those under 30 in the next decade, employers need to act now to attract talented, experienced older workers to their organisations or they are likely to miss out.

The business case is for being an age-friendly employer is quite simple. Society is not homogenous. Most organisations recognise the value of having a diverse workforce, bringing together neuro-diverse employees with different life experiences, genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations and thinking styles. Age is no different. However, to benefit from these changes in the composition in the workforce, recruiting talent and experience rather than struggling to fill roles, employers need to proactively prepare to adapt to and support an older workforce.

How can you build an Age-Positive work culture which values and supports an older workforce?

Woman sitting on the beach - Octopus Personnel Age-Positive Work Culture

Older workers should be understood as an invaluable resource

The commitment, knowledge and experience an older workforce can bring to a workplace is not something to be underestimated. It’s not enough to have age friendly policies; it’s about building a living, working age-friendly approach to all aspects of the workplace that really enhances the working experience of older employees. Whilst they may feel daunting, there are some simple things you can put into place to prepare your organisation.

Man operating a saw - Octopus Personnel Age-Positive Work Culture

1. Flexible working is the future

Gone are the days of 9 to 5 working and everyone being in the same building at the same time. Now technology is enabling employers to think smarter and build a more agile, flexible workforce. Flexible working is often high on the agenda for people of all ages, and although certain age groups’ reasons for wanting it might differ, the principles are the same.

Implementing policies which support an older workforce in this way can be very well received. For example, a robust carer’s policy can benefit employees who find themselves having to provide care and support for a family member, whilst protecting the demands of the organisation.

2. Create a culture of lifelong learning

Business Titan James Cash Penney was onto something when he said, “Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.” A culture of lifelong learning is a powerful force for growth in any business.

Constant “upskilling” is no longer just a buzzword; it’s the new normal. Employees who constantly evolve their skill sets are able to take advantage of the latest technologies. This translates to better productivity and innovation. When you provide continuous training for employees, you also improve their loyalty by valuing their individual growth.

Taking advantage of the experience and skills of older workers can bring offers an inexpensive, accessible and often innovative approach to skill development. Many older workers are keen contribute to others’ development through mentoring programmes or expert sessions, and it is an excellent way to ensure they feel valued and respected within the workplace.

That culture, in turn, means that older employees will be keener to develop their own skills and to collaborate with younger members of staff to the benefit of all – especially the business! Therefore, everyone can improve their skills and drive the organisation forward; innovation, upskilling and technology are for all.

Woman in office drinking a cup of tea - Octopus Personnel Age-Positive Work Culture

3. Invest in and value staff wellbeing

With the media focusing intently on work-life balance and wellbeing, most employees are seeking an employer who takes their responsibility to support and enhance workforce wellbeing seriously.

Wellbeing at work is a complex concept covering all aspects of people’s experience of working life. Physical, psychological, social and financial wellbeing at work collectively allow employees to feel safe and healthy, able to thrive and maximise their potential, be they an older workforce or not.

A well-implemented wellbeing policy is a key retention tool for all members of staff and creating a healthy work environment forms a vital part of any people strategy. When employees feel healthy, included and motivated, they will deliver the very best outcomes.

A Healthy Work Environment

Maintaining a safe and comfortable work environment, both internally and externally, is a basic but hugely important requirement for employee wellbeing. As musculoskeletal (‘bad backs’) and mental health problems represent two massive work-related health issues, encouraging healthy behaviours and lifestyles – physically and psychologically – can help avoid huge costs from absenteeism, turnover and lowered productivity.

Chef making chocolates - Octopus Personnel Age-Positive Work Culture

Organisational Communication

Internal communication within the organisation, co-operation and teamwork, and all internal relationships that employees form with close colleagues – and indeed their line managers – are at the heart of wellbeing. The evolution and development of close relationships is common. Therefore, the best employers recognise people’s natural emotional need to bond and build quality relationships with the people around them, and know that company loyalty can be strengthened by such relationships. Staff outings, events and groups build morale – and build an Age-Positive work culture where everyone is valued! Workshops on areas which inform particular groups of staff, such as financial health, carers etc., are extremely valuable. Inviting local charities and employees themselves to present to the workforce can all build a culture of wellbeing.


Truly family-friendly organisations can also proactively support family and personal lives through work-family enrichment, by involving families in work-related social events and communications.

4. Create an age friendly culture

Clear policies and equality and diversity training, of which age-positive practice is very much a part, are vital for building an age friendly workplace. Run workshops for your managers on managing an older workforce. Ensure all managers attend recruitment training. You could also consider inviting all staff to take part in Dementia Friends training.

Man drinking coffee - Octopus Personnel Age-Positive Work Culture

How can Octopus Personnel help?

We know you fully recognise the value of top talent. Young or old, those individuals that can drive your business forwards and boost the bottom line, but HR departments face a tricky task when it comes to ensuring a flow of continual talent into the business, and making sure they hire individuals who are suited to the job and the culture of the organisation. In the current buoyant jobs market, where employers are competing with one another for the most skilled and experienced staff, this becomes even more difficult.

Using Octopus Personnel to identify and attract talent, and negotiate terms, can relieve a huge amount of pressure. We can help you find the right people to drive your business forwards, bring them to interview, and secure their services within budget.

Recruiting to build an Age-Positive Work Culture

We have a robust approach to actively ensuring diversity, including in terms of age, in our recruitment processes. For example, we ensure imagery and videos for job advertisements represent a wide range of ages and ethnicities. The wording of our advertisements focus on skills required, not unconsciously implying a specific age of workers, e.g. we won’t seek digital natives; we are specific about proficiency in certain digital skills or a proven track record adopting and mastering new tools.

An older workforce brings industry and business knowledge and a wealth of experience that helps them strategise and solve problems. We know they can mentor younger workers, often technically, but also in valuable interpersonal skills and teamwork. Older workers bring the equivalent of wisdom capital to a job, and we use our one-to-one candidate interviews to explore these skills so we can find that perfect match to drive your business forward and help you build an Age-Positive work culture.

Infographic - How can Octopus Personnel help you recruit

Infographic - How can Octopus Personnel help you recruit

Excellent value for money and a money-back guarantee

Other agencies use a system of scaled percentages, which increase costs dramatically in line with high value candidates’ starting salary. We offer a flat rate of 10% of starting salary across all permanent placements. We are dedicated to providing a first class service and we are so confident in our abilities that we offer a unique 100% money back guarantee if our candidates don’t meet your expectations.

Our service is quick, efficient and above all cost effective! What’s our secret? We love what we do and we get a genuine kick out of changing people’s lives for the better and by helping our clients to grow and expand their businesses.

Sandra Smart, Director of Octopus Personnel

Have I convinced you? What have you got to lose?

At Octopus Personnel, we have years of industry expertise and outstanding relationships with our clients, understanding the ever-changing needs of their businesses. We are perfectly positioned within the market to guide you to the right employee who will drive your business forward. Call the office on 01747 825568 or explore here to find out how we can help you.

Sandra Smart

About the author

I believe that recruitment is at the heart of a growing economy and that a different type of recruitment service, with honesty, efficiency and integrity at its heart, can benefit all. Octopus Personnel is the result of hard work, focus and commitment to that vision – to delivering consistently great results for our candidates and clients alike, as well as ensuring the agency is a vibrant, inclusive, inspirational place to work and develop rewarding careers.