Battling Job Rejection

December 28th, 2010 | Job Search | 1 Comment »

Logically, you know that most adults have experienced job rejection, and you know it’s just part of the process whether or not the economy is weak or strong. And you know deep down that it’s nothing to take personally. But none of this stops that little voice in your head, sizzling with anger and irritation, feeding your stress, and generally beating you up about the latest rejection.

So this is a pep talk. Take that rejection by the horns, give it a good shake, and then breath and read on.

The Vicious Cycle

If job rejections are getting you down, chances are you’re stuck in a vicious cycle. When you take that depressed and negative attitude to a job interview, your interview performance will suffer and you’ll be facing another rejection. Which makes you more depressed and negative, just in time for the next interview. And so on.

A negative attitude really does affect your interviewing skills, drain your energy and passion, and lower your confidence, which are all things interviewers are looking for. The longer you hold onto the depression, anger, and frustration of job rejections, the harder it will be and the longer it will take to break out of the cycle. Read more about tackling the job search blues in our previous post here.

Not a Science

The easiest way to convince yourself not to take rejection personally is to fully realize that the rejecters are human and that hiring is not an exact science. The factors behind their decision are beyond your control, maybe even beyond their control, or maybe they even made a mistake. They’re probably reading hundreds of resumes a day and conducting tens of interviews a week, and it’s easy to lose some candidates in the masses or accidentally confuse you with someone who has the same last name. Or there could be too many cooks in the kitchen and someone carelessly misplaced your resume.

There could be any number of reasons why the fallible process of hiring failed you. Instead of chasing the culprits down with a stick and pouring your heart out, let it go and move on. It’s the healthiest option for everyone.

Bigger, Better Fish

A job rejection is a blessing in disguise. What if they didn’t think you’d be a good fit but had chosen you anyway? Chances are, they were right in the first place and you would have been miserable, trying to fit in somewhere it turns out you hate. Ultimately, if they don’t want you, then you shouldn’t want them. End of story. Take solace in the fact that this job rejection just saved you a ton of future unhappiness. Plus, you’ve now successfully narrowed down your search for the job that will bring you the most happiness.

Don’t Be a Stalker

But do try to get feedback from your interviewer. Shoot them an email or give them a call, and politely ask if they could give you some feedback about your interview and candidacy. Some companies and hiring managers won’t be willing to provide feedback, but some will, and what they say can be valuable.

Thank them for their time, and learn what you can from what they said. Maybe you just weren’t what they were looking for, but maybe it’s because your body language appeared disinterested. Or maybe your answers seemed too rehearsed or too desperate, over enthusiastic or unprofessional. Their perspective could give you brand new insight about the way you act in interviews. So learn from their comments and apply your lessons in future interviews.

The Bottom Line

Rejection is inevitable, so take it in stride. Don’t let it get you down, and don’t take it personally. Thank rejection for leading you to better opportunities, and learn from your mistakes. Focus on your strengths, and you’ll bounce back in no time. End of pep talk.

Clare Saumell – Marketing Director at Ashley Ellis

Related Links

Job Searching Burnouts: 24 Ways to Refuel Yourself

Your negative attitude just cost you your dream job!
Mind the Gap: 4 Ways to Banish Employment Gaps

One Response to “Battling Job Rejection”

  1. Evan says:

    What is often daunting are issues that resurface in the interview and pre-screening process that did not happen prior to this tough job market. Employers now hold applicants accountable for the time they were not employed -they want insurance that the applicant has not been idle and involved in some way with their field of expertise even if they were unable to find work through normal channels. One might turn to freelancing or volunteering if possible, however be ready to be asked which specific tasks were performed and what the end result was. Often companies in the past would have tried to find people with a number of skill sets -now they ask for more as if they wish to hire one person that can do two jobs. It is difficult to convince a prospective employer or a pre-screener even that if you have leaned a new skill that was holding you back from getting hired before -that there is no reason you are not up to the task just because you haven’t the field experience to in that skill set and the work samples in some cases to show for it. Add to this if an applicant is worried about losing their home all the while it is very hard to stay focused. Personally I have taken on volunteer projects where to attract people to me so I can test my new skills out on them and add this experience and gain referrals and even some business. The best advice is really take on a stoic attitude and keep trying -and remember there was a time when you were working, you were valued, and you were there because you are good at what you do!