When you apply for a job at your dream company, you’re hoping, maybe even praying, that you’ll be successful in the interview process and receive an offer. After all, it’s the company you’ve always wanted to work for. So when you don’t get an offer, it can feel devastating — but it doesn’t have to. Here’s why rejection happens and how you can learn from it to position yourself for success in future interviews.
Why rejection happens
The second you receive the rejection phone call or email, you immediately try to figure out why. But the answer may be elusive, especially if the person on the other end doesn’t give you much information to go on. There are a few possible reasons why you didn’t receive an offer:
There was a “better” candidate.
This may seem like the most obvious reason, but “better” doesn’t always mean better than you. Sometimes it just means different. Once a job is posted and candidates are interviewed, hiring managers sometimes realize they could use skills or experience they didn’t know they needed.
Or, your skills and capabilities may be right in line with what the hiring manager needs, but there are always intangibles that aren’t listed, like wanting a product manager who has worked on a novel product or wanting someone who is insatiably curious about the world around them. If another candidate demonstrates those intangibles during the interview process, they may be “better” because they can contribute and bring value in a different way.
You didn’t tie your skills and experience to the role.
You may have all the necessary capabilities and experience, but the hiring manager needs to understand how you’ll apply them to this particular role. Too many people focus on making sure they talk about their accomplishments but ignore the actual job description. Truly understanding the role and articulating how you would apply your skills and capabilities to it is key to helping the hiring manager visualize how you can bring value to the team and organization.
You have a mismatch with the culture.
This doesn’t mean you’re a bad person! Every company has a specific culture. For example, if your success has come from making unilateral decisions but this company makes all decisions through consensus, you may become frustrated quickly. The last thing a hiring manager wants to do is hire someone who doesn’t fit in with the team or company culture.
While you may believe you can adapt to fit the environment, the hiring manager will predict your success based on how you describe your work style and preferences during the interview process. There is nothing you can do if they don’t believe you’d fit in with the team or overall company culture.
The job scope changed.
Once a job is posted, changes at the company could change the scope of the job — for example, maybe someone departed the team or there was a reorganization of functions. While a company should update and repost the job accordingly, not all of them do.
The job was paused or cancelled.
In uncertain economic times, hiring for new roles can be placed on hold or even canceled as companies figure out their short- and long-term strategies. While the job may still be posted, a company may not be interviewing for it or may stop the process after you’ve already interviewed. Some companies have been rescinding offers after making them, essentially firing employees before they even start. It’s not personal or a reflection of your skills and capabilities — it’s the business resetting itself.
Learning from rejection
Rejection stings, and not knowing why you were rejected can cause you to engage in negative self-talk about your skills and capabilities. Here are some ways to learn from the rejection and move forward:
Understand that the perfect job isn’t always perfect.
It’s normal to romanticize a job and company based on what we read or hear about them. And part of an interviewer’s role is to sell you on the job and make it seem amazing and exciting from their first contact with you.
If you weren’t selected for whatever reason, use the rejection to reset that romanticized vision and remind yourself that no company or job is as perfect as described. To get a more realistic view of a prospective employer next time around, take time in advance to think through deeper questions than, “Tell me about the culture.”
For example, during your next interview, ask the hiring manager, “Can you give me an example of how you developed an employee?” or “Is there one common thread to being a stellar performer on your team?” This will help you assess whether a company will take your development seriously and how the company assesses and appreciates its employees.
Reflect on your values.
When we’re desperate to find a job — any job — we don’t focus on what’s important to us and whether the role will contribute to our overall fulfillment. Take a step back and reflect on the job you didn’t get and whether it truly aligned with your values. This exercise will help ensure that when you do land a job, it will be fulfilling.
Sharpen your interviewing skills.
Going through any interview process allows you to practice your interviewing skills and messaging for the next job interview. When I was trying to change careers from entertainment lawyer to human resources professional, I was asked why I wanted to make the change. I would say, “I want to help people.” One hiring manager said that’s not the role of HR; the role is to align people’s skills and capabilities to business goals. I knew that but had never said it in an interview.
So, in the next one, I changed my core messaging and landed the job. Think back to the questions you were asked and how your counterpart reacted to your answers. Which responses landed and which didn’t? Did the hiring manager rephrase what you said more succinctly? Do you have an opportunity to make your message crisper or change your messaging completely?
If you can obtain feedback from your interviewer, you’ll have some actionable information to apply to your next interviews. This is a neutral party’s perspective on how you were perceived in that short period of time they interacted with you. Even if you don’t agree with the feedback or it doesn’t resonate with who you are, consider the 2% rule: What if 2% of it was true? Use the feedback as fuel to advance your skills or change your interview approach.
The more you’re rejected, the more resilient you’ll become as you learn to recover from the disappointment. After finding out you didn’t get the job, figure out what kind of self-care you need to heal — for example, doing an activity you’re great at and enjoy, like bowling, drawing, or exercising. Knowing how you feel in that moment and what it takes to move forward will give you a formula you can apply when faced with any failure.
Hiring managers can sense negative energy during the interview process. Making rejection a part of your learning will help reframe it as taking one step closer to job that’s right for you. The quicker you learn what helps you move forward, the easier it will be to look at the next round of interviews as the next challenge to conquer.
By: Marlo Lyons
Marlo Lyons is a certified career coach and strategist, HR executive, and the author of Wanted – A New Career: The Definitive Playbook for Transitioning to a New Career or Finding Your Dream Job.
A job rejection can be hard, especially if you are trying to break into a competitive job market. It can make you feel deflated, angry, and cause you to lose your motivation and desire to keep interviewing for other career opportunities. We understand that and have experienced this disappointment throughout our careers as well.
However, it’s important not to let a job rejection keep you from applying for other opportunities. So, this week, we’ve put together some of our best advice on how you can not only deal with job rejection but also use it to improve yourself and future career prospects.
Let’s get started.
#1 Take some time out and get your emotions in place
After any rejection, you are likely to have many different emotions, and therefore we encourage you to take some time out to allow you to process your feelings.
Being rejected doesn’t mean that your attributes and professional qualifications aren’t remarkable. When it comes to hiring, employers weigh numerous considerations. Many factors may have led to your job rejection, including being under-qualified or over-qualified, your attitude towards the job and the company, your interview experience and many more.
Often some of these factors may be beyond your control. You have to understand that in today’s competitive job market, there are often hundreds of applicants for a role, so for an employer to pick just one person is a very challenging decision. As a result, even if you are not offered the job, it may not mean that the employer didn’t like you.
Whenever you receive a rejection, start by thanking the employer for their time and follow by asking if they can give you some feedback. If feedback is not an option, begin by evaluating how you thought you did in the interview. Did you cut off the interviewer? Did you not answer questions as well as you could do?
By identifying areas of weakness, you can then focus on learning how to improve yourself in these areas.
#2 Understand that you are not alone
Every day, countless others face job rejection. If you are dealing with job rejection, the best thing you can do is reach out to others who are currently, or have previously been in similar situations.
This way, you can share your experience and emotions and get mutual support that will be enormously beneficial. They can tell you how to deal with job rejection, and you can ask them what they did to overcome this phase.
There are also various books, podcasts and youtube videos on how to handle job rejection. Hearing how others were able to bounce back from a significant job rejection can help you feel less alone and more confident when you are ready to start reapplying again.
#3 Send a thank you email to the interviewer the day you get the job rejection mail
Sending a thank-you email after a job rejection sounds odd. However, it can help your career in the long run. You can use your thank you letter as an opportunity to build your network, receive feedback and ask to be considered for future opportunities.
After you have received the outcome of your interview, respond by thanking the employer for their time and giving you insight into the company. You can also highlight that although you are disappointed to have not been offered the role, you are excited to see how the company develops and would like to be considered for any future opportunities that may become available. Lastly, you can ask for feedback so that you can find out what you did well and areas you may need to improve.
By taking a few minutes out of your day to write this email, you will leave your interviewer with a positive impression of yourself and therefore increase your chances of receiving constructive feedback or even the possibility of being considered for another role in the future
#4 Think about what you could have done differently
After every interview, sit down for a few minutes and consider what you thought you could do better. This could be from how you answered their questions to your presentation skills and even your posture.
If you felt that you were a bit shaky with your presentation skills, work on presenting to others before your next interview to help reduce your nerves. The same idea applies to answering interview questions, write down some of the questions that you struggled with and do some research into how you may have been able to respond better to them. By doing this, you will create stronger responses that you can call upon in your next interview.
The point of thinking about what you could have done differently is not so you can beat yourself up over what you did wrong, but so that you can learn from it. Take each interview and each job rejection as an opportunity to grow stronger for the next interview.
#5 Focus on your strengths
Although you didn’t get the role, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you did not have any areas that you excelled in. So, take some time to reevaluate what you thought went well in the interview. If you were able to receive feedback, ask what areas they believed you did well in. It’s just as important to focus on your areas of strength as it is to focus on your areas of weakness.
By focusing on your strengths and highlighting them in future interviews, you’ll be able to show employers why you’re the best candidate. It can also help you improve your interviews and even help you land your dream role….To be continued..
Marketing Programs To Buy: