It doesn’t matter how experienced you are or what sector you work in, job rejection can be crushing news. Especially if the role was one that would have been a great fit.
It can be difficult not to take the rejection personally – especially if you’ve gone through the interview process and you felt you had a good rapport with your interviewer.
Similarly, it’s easy to over analyse your every answer – exercising the problem-solving skills you mentioned in your interview, in an effort to figure out what went wrong.
Rejection is never easy, and many rejected applicants fall into the ‘I never wanted the job anyway’ trap and move on without really learning anything from the experience.
It’s understandable, it can be difficult to separate our feelings from what is a business decision. Knowing to handle a job rejection is an important part of the recruitment process. By reflecting on the outcome, you have the opportunity to learn from it and do better next time.
If you’re currently looking for a new role and you’re getting turned down, here’s a method to help you move forward constructively.
A job rejection can be bruising to the ego. It’s easy to take that rejection as a sign that you’re not good enough or in some way not up to the role.
The reality can be quite different. You may not have been on top form that day, or you weren’t the right fit for the team already in place. Or someone else was better qualified.
The hiring manager has to go with the person they believe is right for the business, which is the responsible thing to do. Unfortunately, that sometimes means choosing someone else.
But do your best to think positively about the experience. At the very least you learned something from that interview experience.
If nothing else, you got the opportunity to make yourself known to individuals within the business. It’s perfectly acceptable to connect with them on LinkedIn and keep in touch in case of future opportunities.
A job rejection allows you to reflect on the interview. This may seem arbitrary, but you learn more from failure than from success. With an objective hat on you can probably determine what went well and what could have done better.
Where possible, get feedback after you’ve had a job rejection as it may help clarify why you weren’t suitable. Not all businesses provide feedback but do your best to find out. However, hiring managers and recruiters will often sugar coat the feedback so be prepared to press for clarification if it’s not clear.
Although occasionally the feedback can be as simple as they liked someone else better. Again, don’t take it personally. The hiring manager has a responsibility to the business to hire the best possible fit to preserve the company culture.
In fact, the interviewer has done you a favour. Imagine how miserable you would be working with people you don’t get on with.
It’s also important not to dwell on the rejection. Frame it as learning experience and move on. And remember – just because it’s a no now, doesn’t mean it will be a no in the future.
If you are being rejected a lot then you may need to do some deeper reflection to make sure that your communication skills and body language aren’t selling you short.
Review your Job Search
If you’re getting a lot of rejections – before or after the interview stage, it may be worth revisiting the kind of jobs you’re applying for.
Use the feedback you’re getting to help refine the kind of role you should be focusing on.
Consider the following:
- What kind of role do you want?
- What kind of organisation do you want to work for?
- Do you have the right skills and experience to do the role you want?
- Are your salary expectations realistic?
Remember, not every role is going to be right for you whether that’s job spec or cultural fit. If you’re already employed, don’t be afraid to walk away from roles that aren’t going to be the right fit for you.
It’ll save you a lot of time, energy and disappointment.
Once you’ve found a role you like the look of, research it thoroughly. Research the company to make sure it’s an organisation you’d be happy to work for. Then read the job specification thoroughly to make sure you have the right skills, knowledge and experience.
If your job search is being supported by a recruitment consultant then take advantage of their skills and resources. They will be able to get together relevant information quickly and summarise it for you.
Reflect and Improve
If you’re being turned down because your skills or qualifications don’t match the specification, then you need to do one of two things:
- Better communicate those skills or qualifications on your CV if you have them
- Gain the skills and qualifications
In the case of the former it is usually a matter of making sure your CV reflects the job specification. That means picking out the skills and experience that meet those requirements. Even if it means dialling back on other things you’d like to mention.
Remember, hiring managers are extremely time poor so they want to see the relevant information up front, not have to work for it.
If you’re lacking skills and qualifications that are coming up regularly in job specifications then the best option is to study an online course.
They allow you to study around your existing commitments and will provide you with a nationally recognised qualification.
You can complete the course within a few months, so you won’t have to wait long until you can start applying for jobs again.
Another common reason for rejection is interview style. Perfectly normal, likeable individuals can come across as too anxious or too arrogant when thrust into an interview setting
Whether you are a bag of nerves or overconfident is irrelevant, the interviewer can only go by what they see on the day.
Preparation will help you stay calm, answer questions and equip you to think on your feet when you get those difficult questions. This is especially important now competency-based interviews are becoming the norm.
Starting a new Career
If you want to start a new career but you don’t have the right qualifications, we can help.
Stonebridge Associated Colleges is a leading UK distance learning provider. We support thousands of students each year to achieve the qualifications they need to get the job they want.
Check out our full course offering by click the link below.
To learn more about online courses and distance learning, check out our blog.