How to deal with rejection…it’s a great learning opportunity…
There aren’t many people that enjoy being rejected, particularly if it was a job you really wanted. How to deal with rejection depends on your mindset and resources at the time. Rejection is feedback and depending on your mindset at the time, you can view this as defeat or a learning opportunity. You’ve probably spent a few hours researching the company and prepared some great examples to share. It takes quite a lot of your time to prepare cover letters (or emails), and time to tailor your CV to the requirements of the job. So, here’s how to deal with rejection.
Most of us know how important it is to reflect on our experiences and not just the things that didn’t have the desired outcomes. It’s also good to reflect on our successes so that we can duplicate this in the future. Lots of people don’t practise celebrating their successes, subsequently they tend to ‘beat’ themselves up about their perceived failures. When failure is part of the journey.
“There is no such thing as failure, only feedback.” Jo Casey
Reflecting objectively can be challenging, particularly when you are feeling emotional about a recent rejection. You may be feeling all sorts of emotions, like upset, disappointment, or even angry. If the rejection you’ve just received means you are out of a job, then it’s a worrying time.
You may have been given good indications during the interview and feel let down. These feelings are all normal however, it might not be the right time to process the information or your experience objectively.
Therefore, it’s always good to leave a little space between receiving the news that you haven’t been selected and when you reflect.
Keep the door open
It’s so important to handle the rejection positively. It’s okay to be upset or disappointed. The recruiters will be expecting a range of reactions, that’s just part of the recruitment process.
However, even if you are disappointed or upset try to be as professional as possible and take on board their feedback.
Remember that feedback from a recruiter is limited, as they don’t really know whether you are competent or not. And, another important thing to recognize is that the recruiter is only giving you feedback on your fit to that job and that company. They are just making a judgment based on the information shared in a relatively short amount of time. The recruiters are making some predictions based on the information you’ve shared.
Here’s something to consider. You may not have done anything wrong! Yes, that’s right. You may have interviewed well and presented your experience, knowledge, and skills very well. There is usually one vacancy and many candidates and the hiring managers often have a tough decision to make.
If I take myself back to my recruiter days, I can remember several occasions when the manager said all the candidates I put forward could do the job. That’s a tough decision to narrow the last few candidates down to one. This means we’ve rejected perfectly good and competent candidates.
And, that’s why it’s also important to keep that door open. They may have another vacancy they are considering you for or the job may become vacant sooner than you expect. There could be lots of different scenarios that make you the front runner.
Ask for feedback
Let’s be realistic here, it’s often the case these days that you won’t get feedback after you’ve been rejected. I know, I know! It’s not great and I’m constantly disappointed as an ex-recruiter that companies don’t take the time to give you decent feedback. After all, you are a walking talking advertisement and will no doubt share your experience with friends.
If you do get any feedback, it might not be quality feedback. Just be aware you are likely to receive a vague or generic response. Which, is not going to help you with your interview performance.
Here is some generic feedback:
- Not the right team fit
- There was a better candidate
- It was close between you and another candidate
- We offered to a candidate with more experience
We often get asked whether giving candidate feedback is a legal requirement. No sorry! Companies do not have to give any feedback. That shouldn’t put you off asking politely for feedback.
What’s quality feedback?
You’ll recognize quality feedback because the recruiter will spend a little bit more time explaining how they assessed your competence and how they measured the information they gathered against the criteria for the job.
Most recruiters will use the S.T.A.R. model to gather information during the interview. Then after the interview, they will use the S.T.A.R. framework again to assess the information and data. Most larger companies will have their own behavioural competency framework too and this will give the hiring manager lots of information to measure the data against.
Sounds a bit scientific doesn’t it! Well, it can be, however, absolutely no selection method is 100% reliable because behavioural science just doesn’t work like that. We all have bias and unconscious bias and with the best will in the world, we’ll bring that to the interview.
How to deal with rejection as a learning opportunity. It’s important you take some positives from your experience. Don’t let the main focus be rejection. View every experience as an opportunity to learn.
Our final point is not to carry one interview experience into the next interview. Please take onboard this last piece of advice.
It’s so important you don’t take this baggage into the next interview because it’s not fair on you or the next interviewer. Interviewers may pick up or sense defeat, exasperation, or even frustration.
These feelings will leak out during the interview if you allow them to. Your body language will show how you are feeling. Fed up going through the process.
So, it’s important to manage these feelings and move on. Dwelling on the past will be less than helpful to your future. Focusing on the experiences that didn’t generate your desired outcome again will be less than useful.
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