It’s the email nobody wants to get. It starts with “We regret to inform you….” and ends with you wondering what went wrong.
So, you didn’t get the job you really wanted… Now what should you do? First, realize that rejection is a part of life, especially if you’re on the job hunt. While your first instinct might be to delete that flashy company’s contact info and pretend like the interview never happened, that’s not the smartest move.
Instead, here are some things you should do (and one thing you definitely shouldn’t) if you want to make the best of a less-than-ideal situation.
1. Stay Positive
It’s hard not to take professional rejection personally, but realize there are a ton of factors that go into hiring decisions. Maybe you had the right skills but weren’t the best culture fit. Perhaps they were planning to hire internally from the beginning. Whatever the reason may be, it’s important that you don’t let the experience bring you down.
Give yourself some time to bounce back—call a friend, go for a walk, order a pity pizza—do whatever it takes to process your emotions. Also remember that while not getting this job may create some challenges for you financially or in your career, the situation is not permanent and not the absolute worst case scenario. As the saying goes, this too shall pass.
2. Learn From The Experience
Once the initial sting has subsided, try to take a step back and reflect on the situation. Start with the job itself – was the company looking for people with a specific qualification? Does your previous experience align with the position? Try to identify any potential skills gaps and work to overcome them. For example, if you’re looking for a web development position, taking a course in UI/UX Design could help your resume stand out to potential employers.
If you made it to the interview stage, think about what you did well and what you could improve upon for next time. For instance, if there were any questions that gave you pause, write them down and prepare some answers just in case you come across them again.
Additionally, finding a candidate who fits in with the culture of an organization is becoming increasingly important – some companies even prioritize this factor over a candidate’s competence. Before your next interview, do a trial run with a brutally honest friend. They might spot some body language quirks or less-than-ideal answers that you didn’t even realize you had.
3. Ask For Feedback
Some employers might give you an indication as to why they passed on you. It’s possible that you even know exactly what that reason is without even having to ask. However, there are those times where you’re left scratching your head in disbelief.
In these situations, it can be helpful to seek clarification on their decision-making process, but there are a few things to consider before you send your request. Firstly, you shouldn’t ask for feedback if you did not meet with the hiring manager in person. Additionally, keep in mind that you may not get the candid response you’re hoping for due to legal concerns.
However, if you feel it is appropriate, the best way to ask for constructive criticism is to start with a thank you letter, letting them know that you appreciate them taking the time to meet with you. After you have expressed your gratitude, conclude your email with a request for feedback. Also, be sure to frame your questions in a positive way and be specific. Ask “Do you have any advice for how I could improve my interviewing style?” instead of “Why didn’t you hire me?”
4. Don’t Hold A Grudge
While it’s normal to feel some animosity toward a company after getting rejected, it’s crucial that you don’t let your hurt feelings cloud your judgment. Always be gracious and thank your interviewer for their time and wish them the best.
If you’re still interested in working for the company, ask them to keep you in mind for future openings and maybe even connect with them on LinkedIn. Staying in touch with the company can help ensure you’re top-of-mind when a new position opens up.
Turn Rejection Into Resilience
Once you’ve followed the above steps, remember not to dwell on the situation. It’s important to get back on the horse and continue applying to jobs and learning new skills. While rejection is often painful, it’s also a huge learning opportunity – it forces you to look inside yourself and identify areas for improvement, both professionally and personally. Plus, it’ll feel even more rewarding when the right job is offered to you.
Ready to move on? Authentic Jobs has an opportunity waiting for you.