We have all been there… getting rejected for a job we thought we had in the bag. It’s stressful. Searching for jobs and going through the many stages of a job interview, only to be rejected, can be frustrating. It can be easy to feel dejected and disheartened.
When a rejection email pings into your inbox, you may be tempted to simply delete it — out of sight, out of mind — and move on. However, how you handle the rejection email, phone call or letter is just as important as the skills on your resume.
With just a little confidence and a load of optimism, a rejection can be the foundation for your next great career opportunity. So, what should you do next?
Don’t burn your bridges with the recruiter
The biggest mistake a lot of job seekers make in this stressful situation is feeling so upset that they threw away the professional relationship they built throughout the interview process.
Remember: It’s not personal. It is easy to take rejection to heart, read too much into your rejection, and blame yourself or the company for your failure to land the job. However, regardless of how excellent you feel your interview went, there could be other factors at play. For example, there is a very strong candidate who is already familiar with the business. Or, you may not be a good culture fit for the company.
See the setback as an opportunity to learn from the experience. Our advice is to not allow rejection to knock your confidence and make you doubt your abilities.
Regardless of how excellent you feel your interview went, there could be other factors at play.
Ask for constructive feedback about the interview
When a hiring manager does not extend a job offer, ask for constructive criticism about how you can improve for future interviews.
While it’s easy to feel crushed after learning that someone else was selected for the position, instead of hanging your head low, taking the high road and sending a thoughtful response to the rejection may be a better choice for your career in the long run.
Send an email expressing your appreciation for the recruiter and the hiring manager’s time and consideration. Reach out graciously and ask for specific tips. They may respond with advice from the employer’s perspective that you can immediately use for your next job search.
Reflect and review for future interviews
Job rejection stings. But, you can also reframe the rejection and reevaluate what you want, how to get it, and adjust your approach wherever necessary. The right mindset will be able to land you a job offer from the next company you talk to.
Think about the recruiter’s feedback from your past interviews. What are the areas in your resume you can improve on? What should your priorities be for your next job search preparation? Next, deep-dive and ask yourself: What did I feel went well? What could I have done differently?
Make a note of any issues you can do something about and turn this into a plan. This can be used to fix the gaps in your performance as you approach your next job search.
Being rejected isn't necessarily your fault
Many of the reasons behind the hiring decision will not be made apparent to you — say, the hiring manager prefers someone with a background in agency (which you don’t have) or the company wants someone who is bilingual (and you aren't).
There are things that you cannot change and are beyond your control. If you have fully prepared and tried your best for the role, there is little else you could have done.
The key is to focus on the things that you can realistically change. See the rejection as an opportunity to develop a mindset of grit and resilience as well as a challenge to deal with disappointment, bounce back from it, and get you ready for the next opportunity — all while remaining positive, optimistic, and motivated.
What are the areas in your resume you can improve on? What should your priorities be for your next job search preparation?
Continue job searching once you’re ready
To start, do not carry your past interview’s baggage onto your next job search. Your confidence can take a hit when you dwell on the negatives. So, approach each new job opportunity with a fresh mind and a sprinkle of positivity.
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