Dealing with job rejection | Photo by Daniel Herron

When you don’t get the job: Dealing with rejection

It happens to the best of us: You apply for a job and have a terrific interview; maybe you even talk about salary and benefits. But, instead of a job offer, you are told that you are not the right fit for the position.

Whether you’re a professional with decades of experience or a just-out-of-college, entry-level applicant, these situations are always hard. But your efforts don’t have to have been in vain if you take our tips and turn rejection into an opportunity for growth and learning.

Accept rejection graciously

When first notified of bad news, you may be tempted to cut the call short or fire off a disappointed email to the hiring manager. Take our advice and avoid saying any of the following:

That’s fine; I didn’t want the job anyway.
I’m too qualified for your company.
Thanks for wasting my time.

Instead, think long term: A company or staffing agency may not see you as the right fit right now, but that doesn’t mean you will never be the right fit for a position with them. Therefore, a more appropriate response would be to say:

I appreciate your time and hope you will consider me for another position in the future.
Thank you so much for considering me; I enjoyed learning more about this position and your company.
Please keep me in mind should another opening come up for which I would be better suited.

Ask for constructive criticism or feedback

If your rapport with the hiring manager is good, use this opportunity to find out what you could do to make yourself more hirable in the future.

Was there a problem with your interview etiquette or style?

Are there skills you are missing that you could possibly work to acquire?

Were you asking for too much money or specialized working conditions that the company wasn’t willing to entertain? (this does not mean to imply that your requests were unreasonable, but it may provide closure as to why you were not selected for this individual position)

Don’t take it personally

OK, we realize that it’s hard not to take rejection personally, but there are so many factors that go into job placement that may be far outside of your control. Perhaps the company has a long-standing employee that requested a transfer internally. Or, the job really needs one particular specialized skill that you lack. Or maybe you were one of a couple of extremely qualified candidates, and they decided to go with someone else.

By all means, get angry or frustrated BUT

. . .don’t take it out on the hiring manager or staffing agency! Instead, call a close friend or corner your significant other, and ask them to let you vent for a few minutes. Just try to keep your rant to a few minutes and leave it alone after the first couple of days. Belaboring the point will do no one any good.

Use this knowledge to refine your job search or make improvements to your “pitch”

Remember that you are trying to sell “yourself” to a company so look closely at your sales pitch and your sales “materials” (i.e., your resume and email correspondence).

How can you improve your resume to highlight the skills an employer might want?

Do your emails look and sound professional? (Tip: set up a Gmail account under your name and not a nickname. And, yes, we mean Gmail: a Hotmail or, gasp, AOL account will make you look out-of-touch, especially nowadays when companies want employees who are tech-savvy.)

Do you need to clean up your online footprint and social media presence?

What do employers see when you walk into an interview? The days of hiding tattoos are (hopefully) long gone, but looking neat and dressing nicely go a long way to making a good first impression.

Send a letter

While it may be tempting to turn your back on the company or staffing agency that has rejected you, if you’ve listened to our advice, you’ll understand why crafting a considerate and gracious email to your interviewer can go a long way to keeping you in a company’s good graces.

Sure, you weren’t the right fit, this time. But, if you leave things on good terms, you may end up finding yourself in another interview with this same company. And, maybe, this time, your outcome will be much different.

Want to be considered for more jobs? Contact us at South Shore Staffing, and we’ll try to find you the perfect job!

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