I have been denied for several jobs in the past. Once, I submitted an application to a job opening I was sure was a slam dunk, but that was not the case. I was denied for an interview and at first, I was quite hurt and disappointed. My ego was dinged and my balloon of hope was popped in a moment's notice. But, after one day (yes, only ONE), I’ve come to terms with it and I still hold all the respect for the company as I did before I submitted the application.
Being passed by or being told no, that your qualifications don't meet the requirements for a position when changing jobs and/or trying to climb up the ranks of the business world can be rough on the ego.
Nonetheless, lost opportunities give a job-seeker an opportunity to reevaluate their desires and goals. But handling the rejection can be a hurdle in the process.
Here are 4 tips for dealing with being rejected by a potential employer:
1) REMEMBER EGGS, CHICKENS, AND CASTING WIDE NETS. Over the course of 4 days, I had queued myself up for an interview with this prospective employer by writing my fingers off, reading all the relevant material I could, and constantly thinking of what questions they may ask and how to best answer. Essentially, I put too many eggs in one basket, okay, I put one BIG FAT egg into my basket, and then I counted my one egg as one BIG FAT Thanksgiving turkey before it hatched by assuming this one interview was going to be the pot of gold at the end of my unemployment rainbow (if there were such a thing). Well, I was awoken from this dream very quickly. Don’t think that just 1 submitted application will be the be-all-end-all-dream-job-til-the-end-of-time because it likely won’t. Casting a wide net and applying for several (3-5) positions at least to start is going to help increase your chance for employment as well as help make the job-seeking experience one of learning and self development.
2) BEING PREPARED AND CONFIDENT GOING IN. After submitting an application or having your first interview, know there is a chance you may not get a call-back. I am not saying that you shouldn’t get your hopes up and assume nothing will come of it, I’m saying to also always have a least some level of belief that something will happen. And, you likely owe yourself some confidence and praise after all the difficult prep work of scouring job boards, attending networking events, working on your resume and cover letter, sharpening up interview skills and writing answers to practice questions, and networking on Linkedin. Further, having this confidence from your preparation is the safest thing to do in case you DO get an interview, a second interview, OR the ever-elusive golden ticket: a job-offer, depending on your phase of the process. It is always better to be prepared and from this confidence grows resilience.
3) BEING RESILIENT. If you get rejected, like I mentioned previously, being told NO kinda hurts. But knowing and trusting that you prepared as well as you possibly could and holding the belief that you would succeed in the position is really golden (sorry for this repetitive gold analogy, I really like it). You must be okay with possibility of rejection and you must not let it affect you for too long. Yes, I was quite sad and frustrated after I was rejected but for no more than one day. After allowing yourself one day maximum to feel down about it, you have to turn that energy around to something positive in order to continue your momentum forward. You must keep going because dwelling on the rejection just makes the job-search even harder, and not to mention slower. Being okay with it and moving forward to the next thing is freeing and make the experience so much more pleasant. Here is a quick and enjoyable article from Katharine Brooks Ed.D. on this topic at Psychologytoday.com, called Rejection and the Job Search.
4) HAVING NO HARD FEELINGS. Moving past the rejection is required for both a healthy mental and emotional emotional space. This means not holding a grudge or having hard feelings for the company or person who may have rejected you. At the end, you must remain with the respect for the company you had initially because you may never know exactly the reason they didn’t hire you, and, simply the reason may be bigger than you. The company might have a reputation to keep or a certain credential standard for staff they must hold fast in order to achieve a particular company goal. Or, it may have been because your transferable/translatable skills were not portrayed or sold to the hiring manager strongly enough on your resume and in your interview (Brooks, 2013). Either way, don’t take the pass too personally, see it as an opportunity to grow and keep respect for the company. As Annette Richmond who wrote in Forbes Magazine recommends, definitely write that thank you note or give a quick call to say thanks again and mean it. The person on the other end will remember your sincere thanks and may consider you for their company again in the future, or they may actually send your info to a colleague or network connection also looking to fill a position (Richmond, 2013). Burning bridges, especially professional ones, is not wise to do especially with the tight network of connections established through social media these days. We all could be very few degrees away from a new career!
I hope this was informative and helpful for those on the job search path. Keep your head high and your confidence higher!
**Every Thursday I post a new blog. Let me know your comments here or leave questions or suggestions on the Questions page. Please excuse any citation errors, I am working on getting them back up to par :)
Brooks, Katharine Ed.D. (2017) Changing Careers? Do This First. Psychologytoday.com https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/career-transitions/201702/changing-careers-do-first
Brooks, Katharine Ed.D. (2017) Rejection and the Job Search. Psychologytoday.com. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/career-transitions/201707/rejection-and-the-job-search
Richmond, Annette (2013). What to Do When You Don't Get The Job: It Starts With Being Proactive. Forbes Magazine Online. https://www.forbes.com/sites/85broads/2013/08/16/what-to-do-when-you-dont-get-the-job-it-starts-with-being-proactive/