“You’ve been unsuccessful” – how to handle rejection when job seeking!

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Job seeking is tough for most people. The applications, the interviews, the emails, the phone calls, the references…. and the rejection.  In the line of work I do, I reject a candidates on a regular basis.  It’s a recruitment funnel – there will always be more applications than there will be jobs to offer (oh, how I wish it was different some days).  Check out the usual recruitment funnel below.

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We all suffer rejection at some time – the role might be too senior (or too junior), you might have flunked the interview or you might just not be quite right for the role.  Rejection is a tough pill to swallow – particularly if you really want a certain position or to work for a specific company.  Rejection can affect us all differently and people take rejection from me as a recruiter well, and not so well. They can either take it incredibly personally, bounce back really well or somewhere in the middle.

Unlike in England recently, where a woman staged a sit in for 90 minutes at an employer who rejected her application (and had to be removed by the Police), there are much more tactful ways to handle rejection!  I’d encourage you to:

  1. Remain professional and polite.

It’s a small world out there, and a lot of people in industries are connected (especially in recruitment!). Remember what Mum taught you about treating others how you want to be treated? This is still the case when dealing with rejection from a job application.  If you are rude upon rejection – do you think you might be the first person they call if they get a similar or better suited to you vacancy? No.  You just cement the reason for rejection.

  1. Don’t take it personally.

It’s not always all about you. As a job seeker you usually have no idea who you are up against in the running, if there is an internal candidate, any specific quirks or requirements with the role etc. There may have just been a better suited candidate.

  1. Ask for feedback.

If you have been unsuccessful, it’s OK to ask for feedback.  I would even encourage you to do so – it’s only going to give you insight as to where you could improve and it might help you on your job hunt for future roles.  I give all unsuccessful candidates I decline feedback – it’s part of running good recruitment practice!

  1. Keep in contact.

If you are unsuccessful, and the company is one you still want to work for, then sign up to their job alerts from their careers page, add the hiring managers you met with on LinkedIn, follow their company pages on social media and engage with them ongoing. I’d also encourage you to send a thank you note to your interviewers (if you had a face to face meeting).  You never know what role might be coming up in their business that you could be perfect for – so keep the lines of communication open!

Overall, I would encourage you to not be discouraged by rejection, it’s a part of job seeking. It’s just not possible to get every job we apply for (although it would be nice wouldn’t it?)!

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