Depression and Job Searching

How do people deal with depression that accompanies the rejection inherent in job searching. I get excited about a job, just to get my hopes dashed.

“Sorry, you’re not what we’re looking for.”

“Sorry, you don’t have side-projects, so we don’t think that you love the web enough.”

Or just the black hole where you spend time and effort to put together a cover letter, research the company, just to get zero response back.

It just makes me feel hopeless, and worthless. Sometimes I just feel angry and resentful. I feel like I want to work hard to become extremely desirable to those that have rejected me just to tell them to fuck off when they come back and ask me to work for them. Sometimes I just want to disappear.

The logical part of my mind knows that it’s just business and they are just trying to make the best business decisions that they can. But I can’t help feeling the emotional roller coaster.

It doesn’t help to confuse me emotionally when I get mixed signals, like seeing people that have interviewed me at local tech meetups, telling me that I was the strongest technical candidate that they’ve interviewed. If I’m so strong technically, then why won’t someone hire me? Am I just that worthless? I’ve significantly improved my interviewing skills, at least so much as it feels more like a conversation now, than an interrogation.

I don’t even feel like I want to attach my name to any of this because I feel like it will hurt me in the long-run. Who wants to hire someone that feels this way? He’ll be unreliable! He’ll break-down under pressure!

I don’t even feel like I should be posting here. I feel like I should just suck it up. There are people worse-off than me. Why can’t I see the bright side of things? All I feel is hopeless. I feel like all I’m doing is feeling sorry for myself, but the feeling is familiar and, in some ways, comforting.

I don’t have any good tips for how to deal with this, but your post really resonated with me and I wanted to let you know that you are not alone.

Not exactly a response to your post - though it’s worth mentioning that many share your thoughts. That said, maybe this bit of information will help:
Apparently, most companies will not provide you with any significant feedback as to why you weren’t selected. This isn’t to be rude; it’s unfortunately a consequence of our litigious society. People are afraid of lawsuits so they short you on the response. It chaps you no doubt … as it’s hard to improve on something you may be weak in if nobody tells you - but rest assured, it’s not you … it’s just the system.

Starting with your last paragraph, it sounds like you don’t have your condition under control. It’s natural to still have low points but the strength of the thoughts you expressed suggest caution. Make sure you are getting the support you need from a counsellor, psychiatrist and/or medication.

In regards to dealing with rejection during a job search, there are no easy answers.

For ignored applications, I try to maintain the attitude that I would not want to work for a company too rude to even acknowledge an application nor respond with a “Sorry, not quite what we are looking for…” form email / letter.

Where you do receive a rejection prior to the interview phase, I like to think that I just lost out on buzzword bingo when my resume was read by HR. Having someone else review both your resume and cover letter should give you the confidence that you are putting your best impression out there and there is not much you can do if the criteria could be expressed as a regex.

Lastly, if you do get an interview but make it no further you should definitely try to get some feedback. Like @devpressedfan mentions this can be hard to get from HR. The best solution is to reach around them to whoever was the technical interviewer. Having their contact details is not a given, the best solution to that is to have some personal business cards and offer them one at the interview, but if you ask in a “just want to know what skills and/or experience would be beneficial for future success” kind of way they are usually happy to reply.

Best of luck with the job hunt.

I am in the same boat as you and I really try my best to cope with a lot of things family, religion, jobless, single, living with my parents!
I am so embarrassed :blue_heart:

I cross post this from a reply to a thread I posted, I hope this is ok.

It is actually really hard for me to change jobs when I am depressed, it is close to impossible to brag, but for me I have done it so often that I can do it a bit on auto pilot, and I have some great former colleges that I can use to brag for me instead, even with a lot of experience, when I am down I sometimes do really bad interviews, sometimes I just have to take a break from it for a month before starting again.

Checklists help me when I am looking for a job and is down, this are obvious things, but I forget them or dont care, when I am down:

  • buy new cloths
  • have a shave
  • get a haircut
  • use your friends and contacts (you have more than you know)
  • check that you do not look too tiered (get sleeping aids if necessary)
  • only do one interview a week
  • you need to prepare extra well:
    -read as much as you can about the company
  • be ready to brag about the company and the people there, you must make them feel it is your dream job.
  • prepare answers to all questions you can think of in written form and practice reading them
  • prepare stories about how you handled different situations and what you leaned from them, also in written form, practice reading them and think about how you can weave them into answers to questions
  • do not be afraid to talk about your weaknesses, but try to sound humble in the way you talk about them (for example I sometimes get too focused on my deliveries and in hindsight I have seen that in some situations my team could have benefited by me taking a step back and communicated more with my team, I have started to try to improve on this by switching to test driven development, do pair programming and break down the story points more, I hope this makes it possible for others to follow what I am doing, even if I disappear into the flow.)
  • Be prepared that some companies have processes that lasts up to 6 months

I do strongly suggest trying a personal trainer for a couple of months, he can push you to exercise, even if you do not feel like it, you do not have to think about anything when you do it, you feel like you have accomplished something and it is cheaper that a psychologist.

Also clean your apartment, or get a cleaner, or ask you family for help the first time if it looks really bad.

write “devOps” on your resume :slight_smile:

Before the interview, try to get information about who will be there, and do research on every single person before you come.

Bring a notebook, and write down details about the people in the meeting, key facts about the company, hints on what they are looking for and so on, have som prepared keywords from your prepared stories on other pages in the notebook, in case you should get out of the flow/seem insecure.

Try to make some jokes or make them smile during the interview, you need to seem like a person they would enjoy to have lunch with.

Prepare some intelligent questions for them, makes you seem interested and can put them in a little bit defensive position.

Do not pay attention to what people that have interviewed you say if you meet them again, if I would meet again someone I had turned down I would say anything to avoid an uncomfortable situation. If possible you can say something like: I really appreciated you guys taking the time to talk to me, you have a really exciting company! One day I hope to get the chance to work with a company such as yours, would you mind giving me some feedback on how I can improve my approach and my skillset to better mach a company such as yours? Do you know of any company that could be a stepping stone to build the skillset you require?

If you are desperate, and it is a serious company that you are really interested in, then you could say something like:

Because of the contract with the previous company I worked for I have not had the opportunity to contribute to open source projects (this does not have to be completely true), but I do understand it would be easier to evaluate my skills if you can see some of my code. If you are interested in talking more with me you can select an open ticket in an open source project and I will implement it over the next weekend, if you think this can help you make the right decision. (I have sometimes had to resort to things like this to get the job)

I was turned down for a job yesterday after an on-site interview which I thought went really well - I was almost positive I was going to get an offer.

People tell you that maybe it was just not the right fit - “the company is looking for people with more web development experience”, or maybe “you are overqualified and they don’t want to meet your salary expectations”, or whatever, but this just feels like lipstick on a pig.

If they thought I was any good, wouldn’t they want me no matter what?

It not even a company on my A-List (the Googles, Apples and Twitters of the world), companies that I put on a pedestal, would kill to work for, but I am afraid to interview with, because failing once means I am blacklisted there forever and I know I am not ready for the super-tough tech interviews these companies are famous for.

I need at least a month of daily interview prep, brushing up on the algorithms and datastructures from college, working through sample questions from “Programming Interviews Exposed” or wherever…And yet month after month passes, and I cannot seem to make the time for this practice.

In retrospect, I am not sure there was anything in particular about the job that interested me except for the fact that it was something new…trading my current miserable situation at work for something new and shiny, just like so many of my personal projects - I start something but eventually give up after stringing together just enough pieces of the framework to make a “Hello World” app, and then I move to something else.

In any case, the rejection hurts deeply. How could I have thought it went so well but it ends up so bad?

This question shakes me to core…maybe I am not mean to be a software developer after all? If I was so inclined, shouldn’t I WANT to do interview prep and programming practice in my free time? It should come as naturally to me as…well…I don’t know. In my younger days, I was a self-diagnosed video game addict. Would that I could dedicate myself to programming, or anything, for that matter, the way I used to play games. These days, what do I even do with my free time? I moved 9 months ago, and my Xbox still hasn’t been hooked up.

“I need at least a month of daily interview prep, brushing up on the algorithms and datastructures from college, working through sample questions from “Programming Interviews Exposed” or wherever…And yet month after month passes, and I cannot seem to make the time for this practice.”

I also experience this a lot. Happens with almost anything that truly “needs to be done” that actually requires a decent time commitment. I try to get around this by doing a tiny bit each day. It’s not as much as I should be doing, but I try to remind myself that progress is always good even if it’s small.

The best thing to remember when rejected, is that there are many potential reasons for it to happen and often time those reasons really don’t have anything to do with you specifically. For some companies you need every person that interviews you to be a “yes” and sometimes someone is just on the fence for one reason or another. Another thing to remember is it’s not a pass/fail type of test. You can pass the test, everyone can like you, however if there is another candidate who people like more or knows someone at the company it can be common for them to get the job over you. That doesn’t mean you did poorly!

I believe very few people actually enjoy practicing technical interview questions, and just because you don’t like it or even hate it doesn’t mean you are not meant to be a software developer.