• Matt Black

How Job Seekers Can Handle Rejection Like a Pro

Unfortunately, we’ve decided to move forward with another candidate…”

Cue the disappointment. Strike up the “boo-hoo” band. You didn’t get the job – and you’re pissed.

Sometimes you’ll have every right to be; at other times you may have been in over your head. But no matter the case, it’s always upsetting to go through the application and interview process only to lose something you cared about to someone else.

News flash: Even though you didn’t get the job of your dreams, life goes on. And while at the time it may seem like you’re never going to hear those two magic words – “you’re hired” – trust me, you will.

Especially in the face of tremendous adversity, one of the most important traits we must master is resilience.

Even when the answer seems like a never-ending “no” – each job interview offers you another opportunity to hone your story, improve your performance and demonstrate to employers what separates you from the pack.

So how can YOU demonstrate maturity, leave a great impression, grow your future candidacy and continue to explore similar openings? Here are a few strategies to handle rejection like a pro:

Ask For Feedback – and Use It!

In the immediate aftermath of an unsuccessful interview, most people’s natural instinct is to run… run as far away from the hiring managers, company – hell, even industry – as possible! We tend to avoid or hide from disappointment, embarrassment, failure. As human beings, it’s just the way we do things.

But in fact, there’s real value in understanding a) why you weren’t selected, b) how you can improve and c) what you’ll do next time. And the best way to learn all of the above is via feedback from the individual(s) you interviewed with.

Period. Full stop.

Many hiring managers or HR folk are willing to provide feedback (you may have to prompt some – don’t just wait for it!). So why not use that to your advantage? Think about it: if you intend on applying to another position within the same organization, what better way can you prepare yourself than by using specific insights shared by someone who currently works there?!

The answer: There isn’t a better way. Not one.

Don’t shy away from the truth – you weren’t good enough this time. But rather dwell on that, own it. Learn. Pivot. Move on.

Grace Not Growl

You didn’t get a good vibe from the person who interviewed you; there was no chemistry.

Was it the tie you chose? Maybe it was the lack of eye contact? Perhaps they had already decided on an internal candidate? Regardless, you feel like they had it out for you… so now it’s time to let them have it on Facebook, Twitter and Glassdoor, right?

Wrong. Really wrong!

Despite the inclination you may have for venting, blaming and making excuses… now is the time to demonstrate grace. All of the growling and grumbling in the world isn’t going to change the decision that’s been made. In fact, if anything, it may hurt your chances at another opportunity and, in extreme cases, the industry altogether.

Showing humility can contribute to your future candidacy and employability – so save your displeasure for private conversation with close friends and family.

Dig Deeper… Much Deeper

The more people you know at an organization, the better your odds. So what are you waiting for? Just because things didn’t work out doesn’t mean you have to pump the brakes and stop networking. Get out there and meet them!

Especially if you had a great interview and were legitimately close to landing the gig, chances are good they were impressed, and may consider you for another position in the near future. So who’s to say that your efforts to connect with different professionals within the company won’t push you over the top – and lead to a job offer.

Don’t kid yourself. That’s exactly how it happens.

And you have the chance to create that scenario for yourself. Dig deeper. Build new relationships. Even after that “no” answer.

Obviously it’s important that you don’t harass anybody or obsess over failed efforts. As far as they know, you’re just another inspired professional looking to get your foot in the door!

Get Back On the Horse

Whatever you do, just keep doing.

Simple enough, right? But seriously – one of the worst ways we react to disappointment or rejection is to take our ball and go home. More than any of the strategies mentioned above, this might be the most important of all.

Finding out you didn’t get the job can be crippling… the list of negative effects is seemingly endless. But the one constant remains: the decision to get back on the horse and enthusiastically chase the next opportunity is entirely yours to make! The best way to overcome nervousness or apprehension about the future is to face your fear head on – and go after it full force.

Don’t use that “no” or “not right now” answer as an excuse to stand still! Take a little time to understand what happened. Assess your next move. Adjust and improve. Rebuild your confidence. And handle rejection like a pro!

What have you learned from the jobs you didn’t get? How has rejection in your life motivated you? Feel free to discuss in the Comments section below!


*Originally published on June 22, 2015 for YouTern.com*

©2020 by Matt Black Ink | All rights reserved | Toronto