Posted by Robert Half on 07 April 2017
You’ve been checking your inbox nonstop for days. Finally, it comes: "Thank you for your interest in the Accounts Payable position and for taking the time to meet with us."
So far so good.
"We’ve completed our final screening, and regret to tell you…"
What, regret? Is this a job rejection?
It happens. You sent your best attempt at a resume, got a call, spent time preparing for the job interview and walked away thinking you nailed the meeting. What went wrong?
You may never know. It could be that someone inside the company was hired. Or you weren’t a personality match. Maybe you lack the skills and training they need.
Your rejection could be one of many, and if they didn’t find what they were looking for, it could be that no one got the job offer.
When you have built up your hopes and things don’t go in favour it can feel heart-breaking. One small comfort is that everyone experiences job rejection at some point in their careers and coping with that rejection is a way of moving on. Many famous household names received rejection at one stage of their careers, from JK Rowling to Bill Gates, and Albert Einstein and even Winston Churchill. These figures all had one thing in common – they all got back on the saddle.
So whether you’re applying for your first professional role, or you’re looking for the next step up the ladder, these are some of the ways of coping with that job rejection and staying motivated to continue your job search:
1. Ask for feedback
You may receive an email from the hiring manager or a phone call from your recruitment consultant to inform you that you won’t moving to the next stage of the interview process, and won’t be receiving that much anticipated job offer. While this can be difficult to hear and you may want to end the conversation quickly, this is a good opportunity to ask for constructive feedback.
Whether you’re turned down by letter, email, phone call or in person, you will want to respond graciously. You probably shouldn't start with something like this: "So, that's a 'no,' then?"
Your best bet is to take this seriously and express gratitude: "Thank you for getting back to me and for taking the time to meet with me. I enjoyed learning about your organisation and meeting the members of your team."
Keep your note friendly, short and to the point, but do think of this as one more networking opportunity with the interviewer. You’ve already established a professional relationship with at least one person at this company, and you never know what will come of your efforts down the road.
2. Give your job search a boost
Set goals to improve your resume, outlining your strengths, skills and experience with the most common keywords you find in your online search. Have someone you trust review your resume, and take the time to proofread it.
Stay active with your search. One way is to sign up with a recruiter. The best specialised recruiters know about candidate openings in your field, even the ones not publicly advertised. They can connect you to opportunities that are right for you and give you good advice about finding work with just the right employer.
3. Clean up your online presence
Make sure your information on social media is up to date, accurate and positive. Review your privacy settings to prevent sensitive or too-personal items from becoming public.
You can assume all potential employers will review your LinkedIn profile, so spruce it up and make all the sections complete. Use the summary space to describe your unique qualifications as a candidate and highlight your best accomplishments. Have a photo that looks both friendly and professional.
Be strategic about asking people for recommendations, and feel free to suggest the career experience you’d like them to highlight. (Also know that you can hide a recommendation, if you get something you don’t like.)
4. Make a list of interview questions to ask
For your next interview, remember that the interviewer isn’t the only one who needs to ask questions. So do you. In preparation, make sure you’ve researched the company and know what questions you shouldn’t ask. Then when you hear, “Do you have any questions for us?” you can show your interest and also find out if the job is the right cultural fit for you. To give you an idea of what questions are appropriate for a candidate to ask, here are a few samples:
- What qualities do you think would make someone successful in this position?
- What are the biggest challenges someone in this role would face?
- Can you tell me a little about the team I’d be working with, if I got the job?
- How would you describe the work environment?
- How would you describe your career path at this company?
- What do you see as the greatest opportunities for the company in the next few years?
5. Show your interest by following up
Send an emailed thank-you note to the manager within 24 hours of the interview. Following that up with a handwritten note could help to set you apart. If you were smart and collected business cards from others you met while at the company, you can send them notes, as well.
Write something that not only allows you to show genuine interest in the job but also helps keep you on the manager’s radar. Here’s an example: After meeting with you, I’m even more interested in this position, and I really believe I'd be a perfect fit.
If it happens again, don’t be knocked off your game by a job ejection. It doesn’t mean there aren’t other good jobs and opportunities out there.
Remember that in today’s employment market, candidates have an edge. Stay positive: Other doors will open for you.
6. Reflect on your job rejection
Reflecting on your experience may not sound like the action most likely to boost your confidence, but it's an essential process to go through after receiving a job rejection. You’ve had the feedback from those who mattered and you’re looking for a logical reason for why things didn’t turn out. You know things you can rectify and where you may need to develop further, so start putting things into place.
Don’t let a job rejection get you down. Coping with rejection requires you to stay motivated and strong while building up resilience. Self-improvement and reflection, combined with a healthy dose of optimism, will ensure that the effects of rejection do not linger, and that you’re ready for the next opportunity to come round.
This article was originally featured as "What Happened? You Got a Job Rejection Instead of a Job Offer" on the AccountTemps Blog.