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 Handling Job Search Rejection

By Joe Stein

Of course, no one wants to hear that they did not land the job they were seeking. How you handle this job search rejection, however, may prove crucial to the rest of your job search.
 
This week, we will examine what you should do when you find out that you have not been hired for a job that you wanted. There are some actions to consider, both in the immediate moments of this communication and also the days/weeks that follow.
 
·        Minimize Your Emotions – It is human nature to feel one or a variety of emotions. You may be upset, frustrated, embarrassed, or something else entirely. It may be because your self-esteem has been damaged, or you believe you have let people down. You will negatively impact your future opportunities, however, if you can’t move on immediately. The rejection is usually not personal, but rather because another person is a referral, or perhaps he/she has some knowledge or a skill unique to the needs of this employer. If you need to, consider asking a friend or family member to listen to you as you express your emotions. Sometimes, by letting all of this out, you can more quickly move forward with what you need to do.
 
·        It Happens to Everyone - The harsh reality of doing a job search is that everyone is rejected. The job search market is usually competitive with more qualified applicants than open positions. We all have been told by a Hiring Manager or Recruiter that we did not get the job. This is especially true if we are seeking a promotional type of role that we have not previously worked in, as we have to convince a Hiring Manager to provide the opportunity. Most of the time, no one even bothered to personally tell us, rather finding out by a letter/e-mail or even from the silence of the prospective employer.
 
·        Handle with Class – Although it may seem like a good way to make yourself feel better, telling off the Hiring Manager who rejected you is never a good idea. For one thing, it is not the right thing to do. But, more practically, you never want to close the door on any person or company. This employer may have another positon come up soon, or perhaps the person they hire for this role does not work out.  I would even consider following up your rejection by sending the Hiring Manager a thank you for the consideration. The gesture will be so unique, it may keep you in the person’s mind for the next opportunity. This section includes the phenomenon of airing out your feelings on social media. When it comes to your job search, don’t communicate out anything that you may regret later.
 
·        Ask for Feedback - Try to learn something from this rejection. It is certainly harder than ever to actually receive feedback from a Hiring Manager, since everyone is afraid of being sued. If given the opportunity, be sure to ask for this type of feedback, focusing on what this person felt you did well and what areas you have to improve on. Do not react poorly to any feedback you receive…considering you asked for it. If you are lucky enough to receive honest and specific feedback, use it to get better. When asking for feedback from the Hiring Manager, close the conversation by expressing your interest in future opportunities and how you hope to work for the organization in the near future.
 
·        Do Some Reflection – In a job search, you want to emphasize your strengths. So, make sure that your Cover Letter and Resume highlight these areas. Understand your areas of need and work on them.   You can perform tasks, such as re-reviewing your resume or interview role-play with friends or family, that can prove beneficial.
 
·        Focus Forward – Conducting a job search is a “numbers game”, just like being in sales or playing anything that is odds-based. The more opportunities you give yourself to be successful, the more likely you will eventually succeed in some form. It may have seemed like this job was perfect for you, but chances are a position will open up that seems as good or even better. Do not dwell on the past, especially on other interviews, by discussing the opportunities that you did not land successfully.
 
·         Play the Field – A good job search does not just focus on one opportunity. By casting a wider net and looking at a variety of openings, roles, and industries, you provide yourself with options if you are not selected for a specific position. You also increase your chances of landing a position by simultaneously looking at a variety of positions. Do not ever stop your job search until you have started your new position. Things can fall though, and you do not want to restart your job search from scratch if something does happen.
 
 
The rejection is one of the primary reasons why most people dread looking for a job. In essence, you have to open yourself up and expose your thoughts to a complete stranger, only to find out, in the end, that you still did not get the job. How you react to this rejection, however, will determine how quickly you bounce back and receive the offer you are seeking.
 
As always, best of luck in your job search!