In a competitive job market, searching for your dream job can feel hard. It takes time to sift through all the available opportunities and find openings that might be a fit for your skills and experience.
Once you have found a job you think could work for you, you then need to put dedication and thought into submitting your application. Putting in so much effort to go through the application and interview process, only to feel that you have flunked the all-important job interviews can lead to self doubt and feelings of defeat.
But with the right mindset, job rejections can set you up to ace future interviews. Be open to detailed feedback, identify the things you can realistically change, and work on your interview technique. With some self care and a little work, you’ll be able to bounce back from your job rejection, and make a positive impression next time around.
At CareerWise, our friendly team are experts in all things job related. We know that job rejection is a universal experience and that the most important thing is to get back to chasing your dream career. We can help you identify future opportunities and follow up on a job rejection, so that when the right job comes along, you’ll be ready and confident to impress the hiring managers and ace the application process. Here’s our guide to how to bounce back from a bad interview and job rejection.
Being rejected doesn’t mean that your professional qualifications and personal attributes are anything less than spectacular. Employers weigh many considerations when recruiting staff – many of these factors are beyond your control. You can’t know the inner workings of the company or their hiring manager.
Keep it in perspective; their decision doesn’t necessarily reflect on you.
Don’t set yourself up for a fall by using the interview process to seek professional validation. It may very well prove to be disastrous.
You are more than your job description and there are many factors at play for a hiring manager making recruitment decisions.
Accept that rejection is part of the job search process.
Don’t use the job interview as a measure of your professional worth.
The decision to not hire you was based on the company’s specific criteria and needs which may or may not have anything to do with how you showed up at the interview.
You may not have been a perfect match for this role; however, it does not mean that you’re not an outstanding professional with excellent attributes and talents.
It’s easy to blame yourself and focus on your imperfections. But don’t let bad news ruin your career. Focus on what you’re really good at, and what you’re passionate about.
Understand that every day, countless others are sharing your experience. Reach out to others in similar situations. The mutual support and shared knowledge will be enormously helpful. Contacts and job leads, as well as friendships and offers to share technical expertise with each other, result when connecting with others who are on a similar job search journey.
Remember there isn’t a person alive who wasn’t picked last for a team, hasn’t asked someone to a dance who said no, didn’t get cast in the play, or didn’t get every job they interviewed for. Rejection is normal.
If you hear something you disagree with from your feedback conversation, do not get defensive and confrontational. Thank the interviewer for their time, make note of their comments and discuss them with a spouse or trusted colleague or friend to see if they have any merit.
When we ask for the opinion of others and disagree with their assessment, it’s common to feel angry, bitter or defensive. But you need to be open to their assessment of your performance, in order to identify any recurring themes and find out where you are going wrong.
Overcome negative emotions and concentrate on the learning aspect this situation offers you.
When you find out that you did not get the job, be gracious, thank the company for the opportunity, and offer to stay in touch. You never know when you may cross paths with these individuals again.
By conducting yourself in a professional manner and not burning any bridges, you have positioned yourself for another possible opportunity within the company should jobs come up in the future.
Accept your responsibility for your part in the rejection and stop blaming everyone else.
Without being negative or beating yourself up, acknowledge where you possibly went wrong, and put actions in place to prevent history from repeating itself.
Go into your next interview with a clean slate and realise this company wants to hire you, otherwise you wouldn’t be there.
Leave your bad experience and rejection at the door. Don’t let any negative energy accumulate and do not bring up past rejections in your interviews.
If you have been conducting an effective job search, you will have generated multiple opportunities and offers and this rejection won’t matter much, if at all.
Of course, you will have your preferences, but never turn down an offer or turn down an interview for a viable opportunity while interviewing or negotiating with other companies.
Think more broadly about your career and look at related jobs.
“When one door closes, another door opens”. It might sound like a cliché, but the lesson it teaches is true: this maybe an opportunity lost, however, it’s your chance to investigate others opportunities.
Ask yourself questions so you learn from the experience.
What would you have done differently?
What did you learn from the interviewing process?
How would you have handled yourself differently?
By asking questions, we focus on learning and growth and put corrective actions in place for moving forward. When weaknesses are pointed out, be prepared to put a plan in place to fix to them.
If you do not learn from the experience, the problems will most likely re-occur in the future. Although rejection is sometimes hard to live through, the lessons we learn from it can be invaluable and position us for future success.
It’s hard to ask for an honest and objective review of your interview performance – especially from someone you may have only met once. But in order to do better next time, you need to know if there are areas you need to improve. Ask the people who interviewed you for direct and honest feedback.
After a job rejection, the only thing you can control is your attitude. You can’t manage their hiring process or even influence it in your favour any more.
But you can control your reaction to the circumstances. Allow yourself that moment of disappointment and then put on your best face and be positive. This will help you move on a lot more quickly, which is imperative to your job search.
No one wants to hire someone who is negative. As stated previously, rejection is hard enough to deal with but it’s harder when you deal with it on your own.
We have the tendency to keep the news to ourselves, either out of embarrassment or fear. However, by sharing your circumstances with others, you will not only find support systems, more importantly you will let your networks know that you are still on the market and available for potential opportunities.
While a negative interview and a job rejection can feel disappointing, don’t let it defeat you. Your career is still full of potential and with the right help you’ll be getting the results you want in no time.
Recruitment professionals such as the team at CareerWise are experts in helping professionals achieve career success. Whether it’s revising your cover letter, tweaking your C.V., or talking through interview pitfalls and mistakes, we can help you achieve application success.
Whether you are just at the beginning of your job search, or feeling demoralized by repeated job rejections, at CareerWise we can help you find the perfect role.
As experts in all things work related, our team at CareerWise can guide your search, assessing your skills and matching the best talent with the best roles, every time.
We specialise in the Engineering, Supply Chain, Science/Pharma, IT and Accounting industries in Ireland, and we look forward to working with you. Contact us online now or call us on +353 (0) 21 206 1900 to arrange a consultation.
Joe Robbins is co-founder of CareerWise Recruitment. A graduate of the University of Limerick (Degree in Business Studies, 1985), Joe worked in the UK for five years where he specialised in materials management, production management and plant management for a number of companies.
He returned to Ireland in 1992 to become Operations Manager for a Cork-based start-up, FMC Automotive Division which was subsequently taken over by Snap-on Equipment. Joe managed the business re-location of this company to Shannon in 1997 before setting up CareerWise Recruitment in 1999.
He is a committee member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Mid-West region, and a former Director and Vice President of the Shannon Chamber of Commerce. Joe is former Chairperson of the Sixmilebridge Camogie Club and current Chairperson of the Clare County Camogie Board.
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