Job rejection is always a tough pill to swallow. After all, you prepped as much as you possibly could’ve done for what would’ve been your dream role. Then, after convincing yourself that you did brilliantly, you get the dreaded email. It starts with: ‘I regret you inform you that on this occasion….’ – and then your heart sinks.
Everyone goes through job rejection at some point in their lives. It’s easy to obsess over how you think it went in your head over and over again. Here’s a mental checklist for you to organise those thoughts:
- Did you really do your best?
It’s easy to totally convince yourself that you did your absolute best in an interview and they’ll be mad not to hire you! However, it’s usually the little things that may have tripped you up. Did you dress properly? Did you keep on topic when asked questions? Have you got the technical know-how that the job requires or were you actually a little bit out of your depth?
- Did you come across as passionate about the role in the interview?
A lot of the time, nerves can get the best of us, which causes our emotions to change in ways we don’t like. Passion for the job may be replaced with serious-ness or making too many jokes.
- Were you actually just interviewing for practice?
Sometimes, you don’t really want the job but you take the interview anyway for experience. This can be both a good and a bad thing. Because you might not take the job, you’ll come across in the interview as ambivalent and aloof. If this is the case, you might be confused as to why you got rejected, even if you don’t care much for the job itself.
- Was there an opportunity to gain feedback at your interview?
Interview feedback is probably the most invaluable advice you’ll ever get during your job search. It’s the basis on what you can improve for next time, and can even influence the type of job you go for next. Make the interviewer aware of how important feedback is to you. A follow-up email can be a good way of doing this. It shows you’re professional and keen (and that you haven’t forgotten about them!) After all, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
What’s reassuring is that chances are, you weren’t offered the job because of things out of your control. Whilst you’re obsessing over whether you wore the wrong pair of shoes, the employer will have most likely forgotten about you entirely. They may have had so many candidates that someone who’s 90% perfect for the role just isn’t good enough. They’ll be looking for reasons to say no rather than why to say yes.
Rejection may happen a further two or three times during your job search. You need to be prepared for this and have the resilience to be able to brush it off and move on. It’s easier said than done, and it can knock your confidence. Maybe you need to be more realistic the next time you search for a job. Were you punching above your weight on the technical side of things? Did that white lie on your CV catch you out more than you thought it would?
Research other methods of getting that job you really want. LinkedIn is a fantastic place to start. Build up your digital profile, join groups and contribute to discussions. Get in touch with recruiters and employers. If they can’t help you, they’ll surely know someone who can.
As well as researching other job methods, you’ll need to know your stuff. If you failed on the technical knowledge section of the interview, this is when you need to start heading to the library. There’s no shame in being a little rusty in certain areas. If you can go to an interview and really know what you’re talking about, you’re on the right path. You may have heard the STAR technique before too (Situation, Task, Action, Result) – if you can give good examples of achievements in your most recent place of work, this is what they’re looking for in a strong candidate.
You wouldn’t have been the only person who got turned down from that interview. One thing for certain is that you’re still competing with the other candidates who also didn’t make the cut. Competition is fierce, and if you can take away something from the rejection that they can’t, you’re already one step ahead!
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