Posted by: Dr. Carolyn Edwards | September 10, 2012

Ask Dr. E – Breaking Bad News – You Didn’t Get the Job

Are you stressed, overwhelmed, undecided or need direction?

Get your life, career, business, relationship and most pressing questions answered. Let Dr. E help you get moving in the direction of your dreams.


Dr. E, I have a friend who is currently unemployed and that I recommended for a job at my company but management decided to go with another candidate. I asked the manager why she didn’t get the job and he said she had quite a few spelling errors and grammatical mistakes on her resume and writing sample. What’s the best way to break the bad news? Afraid to hurt my friend, PA.

Afraid, according to the Associated Press, unemployment is hovering around 8.3% so your friend is not alone in the unemployed category. This can be a cause of stress, anxiety and depression so tell her the truth with empathy and compassion. Treat your friend the way you would want to be treated. Not only tell her that she did not get the job but tell her why. Telling her why provides an opportunity to explain the areas in her application and interview that need more work, give her an opportunity to correct prior mistakes and do better next time.


Choose the right time and place to give your friend the news. Meeting face to face at a coffee-house or the library is beneficial because not only can you tell her the news, review her resume and interview feedback but provide her with resource like books, articles and how to manuals so she can address the deficiencies.

Listen. People express grief in many different ways so be prepared to lend an ear to let her share her feelings. Remain positive and tell her to use this situation as a learning lesson so next time the application materials are proofread and error free before submission and her interview skills are on point.

Good Luck,

Dr. E



Dr. Carolyn Edwards is a  life & career management coach, author and  professor.

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There are many online job sites, resources, information, resume examples and advice from the pros in Teach Online 10 Simple Steps to Get Your Resume Noticed and Land the Job. Invest in your dreams!

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