Another job rejection


======= Date Modified 02 Dec 2010 15:44:07 =======
I'm feeling so depressed at the moment and can't even think about doing any PhD work. I've had five job interviews in the past few months and five rejections ....even though I was 'very good' at interview and at the last one they thought I was 'brilliant' and did a fantastic presentation.
There is always someone better who gets the job. I can't face any more rejection and if I don't get work by January I will be in serious trouble financially.
Yes, I have an Open University interview and I am going to try my hardest to make them see I am the right person for the job but it's only one day a week. It will be better than nothing but I'm just getting so demoralised about the whole job application process.
Anyone been through the same (everybody probably!) and can give me a pep talk?

Avatar for sneaks

Yeah I've been through the same - had 3 interviews over the last few months. I got good feedback from all of them but they've either had an internal candidate OR they've given it to someone who is 2-3 years post-PhD. So I can't really compete no matter how good/bad I am! Unfortunately my sup seems to think its me being under confident, but it most defintiely isn't - she's never seen me in that type of situation and I tend to be quite 'meek' around her, so she automatically assumes that's why. That makes me feel even worse because it feels like its *my* fault :-(

All I can think is that once I have the PhD I will be the smug one coming in competing against others who are still completing. Having the PhD will also make it more of a 'sure bet'. But I'm a long way off it at the mo :-(


The job application process is never fun. In an odd way it is even worse when you get good feedback because you're left wonder what else you could have done? It's something that had bothered me before. I had 3 interviews, and was the runner up for 2 and was considered a good but inexperienced candidate for another (based on publication record mainly). At that point you kind of wish they had said something bad because you could at least improve it for the next interview, rather than feeling helpless about the competition you'll be against. Especially when as Sneaks says you might up against people with much more post doc experience than you (leading to the question of how you get the post doc experience if you need that experience to get it in the first place!).

You're getting to interview a lot though so they must see something they like. And again the feedback is good. It's just I think a matter of quantity with applications sometimes. Eventually one of them is going to fall your way. My supervisor said as much to me really when I had gotten my third rejection. He lost count of the number of applications he submitted for his first job. And now he is part of many interview panels and selection processes he says sometimes there's very little in it. So it might be much closer than you realise.

I thought pretty much the same as you Sneaks. With the PhD in the bag it would be easier when it came to competing. Though I think now it can managed so long as you're at the stage where you're about to submit, and have some of the details in place. They might place a lot of emphasis on the references from your supervisor to confirm that you are as good as done but it means you can compete a bit earlier I think.

Can be done :) I've got a job to go to and I've not submitted yet (though I'm meant to this month). I worked it out as being just over 50 applications, and 4 interviews. I think the other 3 interviews helped. It doesn't sound very helpful but they are great preparation. I wouldn't have been half as confident in the last interview if I hadn't had the experience of the others.


I've lost track of how many times I have come a "really close second" and how many times I have heard "if we had 2 jobs youwoudl have got one". In my case it has always come down to lack of publications so even though these are teachign jobs for which I am more than qualified (in fact feedback from two interviews said from that persepctive I was the best candidate) they still go with someone who has no teaching experiecne but has some publications. So my objective is to get more publications. I don't get why people are allowed to take two years post-appointment to meet the requirement to have HEA / PGCE but a similar allowance isn't made to get publications.

Hang in there - keep applying - one of them will come your way.


Thanks for the replies. I know it's something we all go through. But these aren't even academic jobs - any one of them I could have gone for without having done a PhD. It's other training, volunteer work and job experience which is relevant and getting me the interviews I think. I know I've no chance of getting an academic job at the moment until I've completed my PhD but I need a job and I'd like to be able to get a reasonably paid one in the area I am qualified to work in already.


If it's any help, I, over 2 years, applied for about 40 jobs, got 7 interviews and got offered 2 x 1 year contracts - one of which I took, and then in the second year on the market got a RG permanent lectureship (given the latest news - permanent - don't make me laugh)... But i'm in a field that gets well over 100 good applicants for each ad so other fields might be less depressing.

In other words, I think you have to stop thinking that academia is any different to other job markets. You have to apply for lots of things and get used to taking rejections on the chin just like in any other field - it's no more personal (even though it feels like it). If you are getting interviews, you probably will get a job. It's when you never even get interviews that it's really time to panic.


I know how you feel as I'm in same boat too!  It's pretty tough out there especially when you haven't got a PhD or any publications yet! I agree with Sneaks about the internal candidate or giving it to a person who is a few years post-PhD so they've done a postdoc already and have experience.  I've seen that under desirable experience in ads for postdocs which is a bit demoralising especially if haven't got that. It's hard to compete against that -it seems that we are at the bottom of the ladder again except for people who haven't submitted yet! 

I was told just to keep knocking on doors and publications are the key! If they like you they'll give you the job and train you in the skills if necessary so a lot of it is coming across well and being confident (harder to do than say!)  I'm applying for postdocs that are not exactly my field to broaden my search - I'm hoping to argue it's transferable skills or want new perspective or something like that. Good luck! (up)


I'm finding it hard enough finding any postdoc jobs where I actually have the skills needed. Consequently, I'm not even getting interviews.

I had an interview at Boots though. Didn't get that job :-(