We’ve all been there – the dreaded rejection letter, email or phone call. It is never a pleasant experience, particularly if you’ve faced several rejections so far in your job search, it can be easy to feel dejected and disheartened. No one enjoys being turned down for a job, and if you’ve done a lot of preparation for a role that you really wanted, it can be harder to accept a rejection.
It’s important to remember that the way you handle rejection is just as important as the skills on your CV when it comes to securing a new role. If you allow rejection to knock your confidence and make you doubt your abilities, it could negatively affect your performance in future interviews.
If a rejection email does ping into your inbox, here are a few things to remember to help you remain positive, optimistic and motivated.
Ask For Detailed Feedback
The key thing to do after a rejection is to think about what happened and how you can learn from it. Asking for and listening to feedback is the most valuable thing you can do when faced with a job rejection.
Start by gathering all the feedback you can from the recruiter – and through them, the employer. If the feedback feels a bit superficial or generic, don’t be afraid to ask for a more detailed assessment. After all, you put a lot into the process and you’re entitled to get some actionable insights at the end of it.
Most of the reasons behind hiring decisions will not be made apparent to you. You may have performed excellently but there could be other factors at play. For example, there may have been a very strong internal candidate who is already familiar with the business, or another candidate with slightly more relevant experience than you. These are things you cannot change; they’re beyond your control.
Review and Reflect
Once you’ve had a chance to come to terms with the employer’s decision, it can be tempting to brush the experience aside and never think of it again, but it’s important to remember it is a significant learning opportunity.
If the process took place in stages, rank your performance for each part and determine where there is room for improvement. Ask yourself:
• What did you sense went well?
• What could you have done differently?
• Could your presentation have been prepared more thoroughly?
• Could you have worked harder to build rapport with your interviewer(s)? • Were there any questions you feel you could have answered better?
There is always room to improve, so use any setbacks to shine a light on these areas.
A Fresh Approach
Don’t carry interview baggage around with you. Approach each new job opportunity with a fresh perspective and a positive attitude. Tailor your CV to best match a new opportunity and fully research and prepare for a new interview. If you made mistakes or felt unprepared in your last interview, learn from this.
Make a note of any weaknesses or issues that you can do something about, and use them as a focus for the way you approach your preparation next time. Turn these requirements into a plan. What can you do to fix the gaps in your performance? Depending on the issue, there may be some training or informal coaching you can undertake to help you develop. Or it may simply be a case of working harder on some of your answers, and finding someone to practise them with.
Refine Your Search
Sometimes the interview and/or feedback process can make you realise that although it’s disappointing to be rejected, on reflection, the role might not have felt like the right fit for you either.
Use your experience to help you refine future job searches. Are you perhaps looking at keywords that don’t quite match your ambitions and aspirations? Did the role that went with the job title not quite match your expectations? Did the interview make you realise that this is not quite the right sort of job for you? And if not, then what is?
See each setback as a challenge to grow both your self-understanding and your ability to bounce back and deal with disappointment. Overcoming obstacles on your career path will increase your chances of landing the right role. So make a point of staying constructive, and do all you can to learn from the experience to help you get ready for the next opportunity.
It’s important to keep your job search in motion until you have accepted a position. Continue to stay in touch with your network of professional contacts and maintain contact with your recruitment professionals.
Handling rejection is never easy but it does offer valuable opportunities to discover more about yourself and enhance your job search techniques. Good things are always worth waiting for, and with persistence and a positive outlook, your dream job could be just around the corner.BACK