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Didn’t get the job you hoped for? Turn rejection into an opportunity

Nobody likes getting a job rejection, especially if it was a role you wanted and worked hard to prepare for the interview process and feel like you did everything right. But you can still turn it into an opportunity to grow your career. Many job seekers often get the new job they want following a disappointing rejection. Here is how to apply those lessons.

1. Ask for detailed feedback

After a rejection, the most important thing to do is ask for and listen to feedback. Reflect on what happened and what you can learn from it. Self-analysis alone will not give you the full picture. Get all the feedback you can from your recruiter, and through them, from the employer. If you get superficial or generic feedback, do not be afraid to ask for more details.

2. Say Thank You

Send a note to the company thanking them for the opportunity to interview; it is a great way to keep a relationship going with the company. It is important to remember that they did not necessarily say “No, not ever.” They said, “No, not today.” So, it is always important to keep that relationship going, and a simple thank you note can go a long way towards keeping that door open. Include the following:

  • Thank them for the opportunity to have interviewed.
  • Mention how much you learned.
  • Explain directly that even though you did not get the job, you enjoyed the experience and are looking for both insight and additional feedback from them if this has not already been received.

3. Review and reflect

Being rejected sometimes hurts akin to physical pain but do not miss the learning opportunity it offers. You may want to forget all about your interview experience and the employer’s decision, as rejection can trigger doubts about your competencies. Try to avoid pretending that it does not matter. Think about the feedback received and go back over how you prepared and researched and how you interacted during the interview process or subsequent follow-up. If there were stages to the process, rank your performance in each stage and work out where there is room for improvement – and what you did well. Did you focus too much on technical competence at the expense of showcasing your softer skills? Could a presentation have been prepared more thoroughly? What was your body language like, tone of voice, and eye contact?

There is always room for improvement and different ways to sell yourself to win over your next hiring manager.

4. Build a personal development plan

Think about the feedback you have received in the past, from other rejections, employee appraisals, etc. Can you spot any recurring themes? Note any weaknesses you can do something about, and make them your priorities when preparing for your future interviews.

Turn these issues into a plan: what steps can you take to fix them? Maybe you need some training or informal coaching, or perhaps all you need to do is work harder on some of your answers and practice them with someone.

Think about a structure and a framework you can use for a PDP (Personal Development Plan).

  • Be aware of the skills you have.
  • Identify and develop the skills you need.
  • Work out what you want to achieve.
  • Focus on potential study.

5.  Be philosophical

Feedback can help you realise that sometimes rejection is not about you and may even be in your best interests. If the interviewer wants some major skillset you do not have, you cannot develop it overnight. Just focus your plan on what you can realistically change and/or enhance. Identifying the silver lining in a perceived failure or missed opportunity can help you move on to other opportunities.

It also pays to realise that chemistry is vital in any successful working relationship. Even if you thought your interview went well, it does not necessarily mean that the role was right for you.

6. Refine your search

Sometimes interview rejection is a cue to do some rejection of your own. Look back at the job specification and consider whether you could see yourself enjoying that role. If it did not feel like the right fit, the interview may have picked up on this.

Use that experience to refine your job search. Look at your strengths – what would you have to offer that puts you above other applicants. Perhaps the role was not quite what you expected it to be from the job title or initial discussion.

7. Build resilience

One of the most in-demand skills in today’s rapidly changing workplace is agility. Developing your resilience will make you more employable and set you up for success when you get the next job.

Treat the setbacks you encounter as challenges to grow your self-insight and your ability to bounce back. Getting better at overcoming obstacles on your career path will make you better at winning the right job. Everyone experiences some rejections in life–what is most important is what you learn from them. So do your best to stay constructive. Warren Buffet once said,

“You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything said to you; true power is sitting back and observing things with logic. True power is restraint”.

Remember, you cannot change the past, but you can always look toward the future. Accepting change makes it easier to adapt and view new challenges as they are: Learning Opportunities.

Here at Redline, we are passionate about finding the right role for you. Why not get in touch today with one of our dedicated and experienced recruiters to see how we can help you?

Redline Group’s mission is to enable high-technology companies to build world-class teams through knowledge-led recruitment. With over four decades of experience, Redline is perfectly positioned to offer advice about future-proofing your permanent, contract, or interim needs.

Register your details and create job alerts if you want to be kept informed about the latest job opportunities. For more information regarding how we can help, please contact us on 01582 450054 or Info@RedlineGroup.Com


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