You were sure you did well in the interviews: you dressed right, talked well, and knew the answers to all the questions. Your resume, cover letter, and writing sample all looked perfect to you and your advisors. But when you checked in to find out where you stood in the process, you learned the job had been filled by someone else. What could have gone wrong?
First, the flaw in your thinking is thinking that anything went wrong. It may not have been the outcome you wanted or even expected, but it may have been the right thing, for both you and the organization. You only see the tip of the iceberg–the organization knows much more. What seems to have gone wrong for you is simply an outcome, a step along the path to the organization’s future. You may not have been the best candidate for the job. If you did your best, you did your best. Sometimes that isn’t enough. The best candidates may have networked to the interview and position instead of responding to the posting, allowing the hiring manager many more glimpses at their fit.