You spent weeks looking for the perfect job. You made sure your CV was updated. You gave the interview – and then another one. You think the interviews went really well. From what you could decipher, you could get an appointment letter any day now.
But eventually, the job went to someone else.
Have you ever been in these shoes? If you have, you realise how tough it can get when you’re passed over, and rejected – especially if your means of livelihood and career depend on it. Humans are wired to take rejection bitterly, and it is natural to feel low once you are not selected for a job, particularly when you think everything went well. There might be times when you question your own skill set and capabilities, or brood about how the interview could have gone better. However, it is a humbling thought, that every successful person must have been rejected from someplace at some point – the world is full of such examples, and you have heard them countless times.
First off, you need to understand that there are several factors that could have been at play for you to be rejected. Now a few of these factors like internal organisational issues, or budget issues are not in your control. Maybe another candidate was referred by an internal employee, or maybe the position was filled internally, changed or cancelled altogether. All these factors have nothing to do with how well your interview went but are integral to the outcome of the process. Additionally, even if you have the required skills or relevant experience, sometimes things like energy level, inquisitiveness, your ability to listen, your behaviour while you are waiting, non-verbal gestures like eye-contact, body language etc. play a spoil-sport.
Once you have ascertained if the reasons could be in the latter category, you need to consciously work towards making them better. But how do you identify this, and turn this otherwise gloomy situation into an opportunity? It’s much simpler than you’d think:
As bizarre as it may sound, calling the interviewer or the manager, or sending them an email AFTER you have been formally rejected is recommended. This step has a two-fold advantage. One, seek feedback as to what could have gone better from you side. If you get direct advice to work on a certain skill, it will help you be focussed and prepare you better for your next interview. Two, a majority of candidates do not take this information well, and do not reply or reply curtly. Your professional reply will not only make you stand out, but open door for future opportunities. But what should you say during the conversation or in the email? Begin with a thank you, and be understanding of the situation, but reiterate your reasons to work for the particular organisation subtly, get feedback, and enquire about similar roles in other departments or if there is a scope in the near future. You might just get referred to a new interview or a different department in the organisation. You will be surprised to see the effectiveness of such simple steps, and you can look at experts talking about its importance and success here and here.
One trick to keep you motivated
The job market isn’t very kind these days (or ever?), and chances are you might have to go through several rejections before actually being selected for a job. Remaining positive and upbeat during this process takes effort and focus. The writer of this article came across a wonderful, and simple strategy to ensure that the spirits remain high and the pressure of being selected doesn’t becoming daunting and overshadowing. The idea is to ensure that you do not see a rejection as a proof that you are doing it all wrong. On a sheet of paper, write, or print the word ‘NO’ a hundred times. Each time you are rejected or ignored, you cross off a ‘No’. Each ‘No’ that you cross off will bring you one step closer to ‘YES’, and it will help you remind that ‘No’ isn’t really the end. Testimonies of people who say that this helps as a reminder to not give up, attest to its success – even if on a small and subconscious level.
At the end of the day, the decision is entirely in your hands. Sometimes, just sometimes, not getting what you want works out wonderfully in your favour, and you move onto better and bigger things – only if you look at the rejection as an opportunity, and not a failure. You can choose to ponder as much as you want, and repeat the cycle of rejection without making any change and get increasingly frustrated with the same result, or spend some time introspecting, and making yourself better and getting back in the game every time you are knocked down. Everybody will react to rejection and disappointment in different ways, but what is important to remember is after the temporary setback, and essential feeling blue for a short period of time, you must dust yourself off, and move onto the next step, for there is only one direction to look towards: forward.
How did you deal with your job rejection? Let us know!