It doesn’t matter if it comes from a crush, boyfriend, or friend, no one likes rejection. Actually, being ignored or rejected by a job can feel just as bad, if not worse. But the reality is that it doesn’t matter how hard we prepare for a job interview or how “good” we think we are for the job, sometimes being “good” isn’t good enough.
I know you’ve been there before. You’ve put in application after application, held numerous phone interviews, snuck away from work to interview in-person, and still you were denied. It doesn’t matter if you are rejected immediately after sending in the job application, or after finishing the last round of interviews, rejection sucks. When we are rejected from a job, we tend to feel disappointed, angry, sad, and confused, especially if we are consistently receiving rejection after rejection. Unfortunately, feeling like this stifles your growth and it can put a damper on your confidence.
If you do receive the “thank you, but no thank you” email or call, think of this as a time to reflect, revise, and rejoice. There is so much that you can learn from being rejected.
Here are 5 tips on how to cope with job rejection.
1. Get out of your feelings
When we are rejected, it is easy to stress over what we think is wrong with us. We downplay our skills and education, and sometimes question whether we are good enough. Just because you didn’t get the job doesn’t mean you were not qualified. There are other factors that play into hiring decisions. Maybe the company couldn’t meet your minimum salary requirement or maybe the company decided to hire internally. The reason behind the hiring decision is out of your control, so why stress yourself out about it?
Also, sometimes not getting the job is actually the best thing that could happen to us. Sometimes, we apply to work with companies that do not have our best interests at heart, and we do not see the red flags during the interview process. I remember when I applied for a company that I really, and I mean really, wanted to work for. After I was rejected I felt terrible. Months later, this company had to lay off thousands of their employees. I was so happy that I didn’t get that job!
2. Ask for feedback
A close mouth doesn’t get fed. If you really want to know why you didn’t get the job, simply ask the person who interviewed you. I will admit that some employers avoid answering this question, but sometimes you will come across a hiring manager, like myself, that doesn’t mind giving feedback. If you decide to ask for feedback, be prepared for the outcome. You may receive information that you would rather not hear, but it can definitely help you in the long run.
If you do decide to email the hiring manager for feedback, always tell them that you were “thankful for the experience and to consider you if any related positions become available.”
3. Don’t think of it as a “no”, but think of it as a “no, not right now”
As aforementioned, there could be a thousands of reasons why you didn’t get the job. Maybe you didn’t get hired because you were not a good fit for that certain position or for the company at that time. If this is the case, you will not know this at first because this isn’t information that hiring managers typically disclose. After you receive the rejection email, respond with humility and resiliency–you never know what other positions the hiring manager has you in mind for.
When I was applying for jobs, I was abruptly denied after my phone interview. However, a month later I received an email from the same recruiter, asking if I was interested in interviewing for a similar position that she thought I would be a good fit for.
All of the time, a “no” just means “no, not right now” so we have to learn how to be accepting of decisions, how to be humble, and positive no matter what. Unless the hiring manager looks at your application and thinks “oh hell no”, your job application will remain in the company’s database and can be considered for future opportunities.
4. Reflect and revise
After every job rejection, I don’t recommend driving yourself crazy and spending every waking minute thinking about the woulda, coulda, shoulda. However, I do think you should take a little time out to revise your master plan for getting your dream job. Maybe you need to practice on your elevator pitch, or work on talking about your weaknesses. Nonetheless, after you experience a job rejection, you should definitely take a few moments to reflect on areas that you can improve on. Focus on your strengths and identify weaknesses that you can turn into strengths. Use this time to really think about your career goals and your passions. Apply for jobs that align with your passions, and find ways to communicate this in interviews.
5. Consider having a plan B
Never put all of your eggs in one basket. I always believe that you should have a plan A, B, C, and D (and more if you can). If you get the job–great, if you don’t get the job, that is still great. When you are job searching, pursue multiple opportunities so that if one job doesn’t come through, you will still have other jobs to consider. Even if you are applying to multiple jobs and receive offers from all of them, you will then have the luxury of choosing and deciding which is the best for you.
When I was graduating from undergrad, I applied and interviewed with so many companies. In then end, I received a few rejections, but also a few job offers. It felt so good to have more than one offer!
Just because you are rejected from a job doesn’t mean that you can’t push pass that time of denial. Use the time of rejection to your advantage and learn from it.
What are some different ways that you cope with job rejection?