The term “We regret to inform you…” breaks feels very discouraging and half the time we do not immediately finish reading the rest of the letter or email. Rejection hurts, whether it be in a formal or informal setting. What we tend to think about is how they do not ‘genuinely’ regret informing you, but they are just doing their job and we did not make the cut.
Being rejected after a job interview can do some damage to your confidence. We excruciatingly dwell on being turned away by a job, often forgetting that there is a bigger picture. This job was just not for you and there are probably better opportunities out there waiting for you. Tell yourself that if they did not want to hire you, you most likely would not have enjoyed working for them anyway.
Rejection, while unpleasant, is often blown out of proportion and viewed as a sign of failure. However, looking at it from an objective point of view, we can use it to build on our strengths and work on our weaknesses which in turn will help us the jobs that suit us best.
It is difficult for most people not to take job rejection personally, but at some point in your job searching process, there are chances you will be turned down for a particular role. It is not a great experience, but the objective is to turn a negative into a positive. This article is to assist you to understand how to deal with job rejection and stay remain at the top of your game.
1. When you receive your first, second or even third rejection email, take a step back and breathe. Congratulate yourself for making it this far. Receiving that “We regret to inform you…” email can be disheartening, especially if you have managed to go through some stages such as psychometric testing and interviews. After undergoing such, congratulate yourself for being called in for interviews in the first place. After that do something to distract yourself, for example, go to lunch with a friend or take yourself to see a movie.
Calming yourself down is good for you and may get you out of that lugubrious mood. Do not be too quick to draft your next cover letter because it can be counterproductive. Rather wait until you are in a more positive mindset.
Put the opportunity to work. Such a set back can be frustrating especially if you are not sure why you did not get the job. It can perhaps be worth asking for constructive feedback. Gaining feedback can be difficult, however, it is important for your development. Not all hiring managers will provide feedback but a phone call or an email can potentially give you a clearer idea of why you did not receive the job offer.
You may find it easier to receive feedback if you applied through a head-hunter as they usually have long-standing relationships with employers, ensuring that candid feedback is given to them about a candidate post-interview.
Make it clear to the interviewer that feedback is important to you. This will make you come across as someone who is committed to self-development and may convince them to hire you. Attitude can be just as essential as ability. Additionally, there could be a good reason why you were overlooked, and it will at least put an end to any doubts that you may have. If it turns out there are gaps in your skillset, consider enrolling in a course. It could give you a real advantage when you apply for other roles. Let your interviewers know that you are open to feedback whether it be positive or negative. Either way, it would be good for you.
2. Remember that if the company did not want to hire you, you probably would not have wanted to work for them anyway. If a company did not send you a personalized rejection letter, or perhaps made you feel like they did not value your time, there is a good chance you would not have felt welcome once you got to the company.
3. If you are currently employed, taking on another project at work could bulk up your resume. Taking on a new job could mean sacrificing the flexibility you earned through years of working at your current job. One way to get over rejection is to focus on what you have, rather than what you do not have. You can also build skills for when you do try to seek greener pastures. Take on a new project at your current job and work smart and well on it. Otherwise, focus on growing your side hustle.
If you feel your job search is taking longer than you'd like, ask yourself what some positive items are you can focus on in other aspects of your life. That may help you move from the “We regret to inform you…” email or letter.
4. Narrow your job search. The job market is getting more competitive day-by-day. Pre-recession organisations had larger budgets and less lean organisational processes. Thus, they were more flexible when hiring new employees. If a candidate was a 90% match of their criteria, they would consider that to be a good fit. However, now, with stricter requirements, companies cannot afford to hire you unless you are a 100% match.
Be very selective with where you apply. Do not be afraid to turn down opportunities pitched to you as perfect by recruitment agencies if you feel they are not right for you. Where you feel you are suitable research the role, the company and its organisational culture and the team you will be working within as much detail as possible to determine how appropriate you are before accepting an interview. If you are represented by a recruitment agency, ask them to provide you with as much accurate information as possible and back this up with your research. It is advisable to read the profiles of those interviewing you on LinkedIn.
5. After building your skills, do not be afraid to try again at your dream company. If a hiring manager tells you that you were a good candidate, but they found someone better, stay in touch and do not take information lightly. If you can figure out the skills you may be missing, you could try reaching out to a similar position at the company down the road. It shows that you are very interested in the company
6. Maintain that momentum. It can be tempting to put your job search on hold while you wait to hear back about a role, but it is 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. This proactive approach nurtures your confidence and helps to prevent you from banking on a role that does not land on your lap.
7. It is nothing personal. Do not regard a rejection letter from a job as a statement about you personally. In the cut and the thrust of the commercial world, employers need to make a decision based on the candidate they feel is best suited for the job position. Rest assured, it is not likely that not getting the job was a result of the hiring manager making a conscious decision to vote against you. The greater likelihood is that another candidate’s experience or personality resonated more strongly with the hiring manager.
Handling rejection is never easy, here are the other 17 ways to deal with rejection, 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.
Sifiso Dingani is a Talent Management Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm. Phone +263 4 481946-48/ 481950/ 2900276/ 2900966 or cell number +26377 551 7211 or email [email protected] or visit our website at www.ipcconsultants.com
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