Rejected. Why Didn’t I Make It To The Second Interview Round?

All the things that went “wrong” in my most recent job interview

Gracia Kleijnen
Practice in Public
Published in
3 min readMay 31, 2024


Hunter-like guy with a hat sitting in a wild landscape with pinetrees in the background and mountains.
Photo by Dave Herring on Unsplash

I’ve been applying for jobs for more than a year.

Although I haven’t lost hope, each rejection still feels like a punch in the gut. And for those rare jobs I’m genuinely excited for, a punch in the face. On the nose.

Today was such a day.

I applied for a copywriting job at an online language school. Probably along with 600 others. From what I’ve heard from recruiters in past inteviews, this seems to be the average applicant number for copywriting jobs at tech companies.

Alas. I pinged a first-degree contact on LinkedIn and asked whether they could help me with an internal referral. Then I wrote the recruiter who’s pinned on the job ad, too.

A few days later, I got the invite for a first interview.


Mistakes I made during the interview

#1 Pausing after starting the intro

After saying my name, I could feel my heart rate increase.

My breathing got shallow. I did my best to maintain a normal rhythm. Inhale, exhale. Definitely not…



Gracia Kleijnen
Practice in Public

Sheets & comics creator. Words on YT, relationships, mental health, productivity & self-development in 35+ pubs. 📕Book author: