You did your research. You practised your presentation. Your shoes were polished, and your suit pressed. You gave insightful answers to all those tricky questions. Perhaps you were thinking – hoping – that it was in the bag. But then you get the letter or the phone call saying thanks, but no thanks.
We are all human, and rejection hurts. It’s natural to feel that you did something wrong, or that you were deemed ‘not good enough’ and to feel a little down about it. But we all have to deal with rejection at some points in our lives. Even the most successful managing directors will have been knocked back during their careers.
If you can change your mindset and think of this as a positive experience, you may find that stinging rejection sets you up to get the next job you go for, by helping you to focus on your key strengths and identify development areas.
It’s not you; it’s them
If you genuinely feel you performed well, demonstrated relevant skills and knowledge, and communicated to the best of your ability, then maybe it was just the wrong company, or the wrong boss, for you.
Candidates are often rejected on a gut feeling that they won’t fit with the culture, or that the job won’t be enough to interest or stretch them. The interviewer may have had a set idea about the ‘type’ they are looking for, and you didn’t happen to fit the mould. This is nothing to do with you, it’s just life! Take it on the chin and move on.
Ask for feedback
Many companies will give you feedback on why you weren’t successful, and, if they are decent organisations, it will hopefully be constructive. Before you contact them for feedback, think about what questions you would like to ask, for example, ‘what could I have done better?’ – and also ‘what did I do well?’
The trick is to be objective about this and use the information you get to improve. Pick up on the things that you can address, and practice overcoming them before your next interview. It may simply require a change of emphasis. Let’s say the feedback was that you didn’t have enough experience. In the next interview, ensure you focus on what you have achieved rather than how long you’ve been in your role. Or it may be a core skill you were lacking – a training course could be to the way to address this.
Always be positive
It goes without saying that any post-interview communications should be polite and positive. Thank them for their time and feedback – and if you liked the organisation, make it clear you would be interested in other vacancies.
It could be that their chosen applicant doesn’t work out and you were the number two choice. Or another job may arise that they feel is more suited to your skills. If you’ve already been interviewed, you may just get that call.
Keep the faith
Finding the right job for you can take time. Every rejection improves your resilience and gives you an opportunity to learn and improve. Think of the interviews where you don’t get a job offer as practice for the one where you do.
Timing can be everything. Stay the course, keep working hard and know that, when your time comes, and you are a great fit for a fabulous job, all that rejection will fade to nothing.
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