By Rodel Ambas on July 7, 2018
No matter how successful someone may be, rejection is a regular feature of ordinary life. In fact, every time we reach out or strive for something—acceptance, approval, a promotion, or a new job—there is the risk and definitely the certainty of getting rejected from time to time. Rejection, in fact, is something we have little control over; however, it is how we respond to this experience that matters and could determine the course of our future.
For many jobseekers, being rejected after a job interview can be devastating and can severely dent their confidence. However, by thinking objectively, candidates can use it to build on their strengths, address development points, and ultimately find a job that suits them best.
Here are ways jobseekers can bounce back and overcome rejection.
1. Acknowledge Your Emotions
Rather than suppress, acknowledge your emotions. Admit it when you are embarrassed, sad, disappointed, or discouraged that you did not get the job. Having the confidence to deal with uncomfortable emotions head on is essential to coping with the discomfort in a healthy manner.
2. Remember That Rejection Is Part of the Process
No jobseeker will ever land every job they have applied for. Accepting this fact and learning to accept rejection as part of the process—and of one’s progress—will help build your mental and emotional armor. According to Melody Wilding, a performance coach and licensed social worker, learning to let go of the need for a guaranteed outcome opens yourself up to a world of other possibilities: other jobs, opportunities, and companies that could be an even better fit.
3. Be Unafraid to Try
If one has never been rejected, it may be proof that one is living inside their comfort zone and they are not taking risks. Mentally strong people, on the other hand, recognize that rejection is always a possibility and even though they know that a certain objective is a long shot, they are not afraid to go for it. According to Dr. Fredric Neuman, a psychiatrist and Director of the Anxiety and Phobia Treatment Center, if the odds are long, that is not a reason for not trying.
4. Do Not Let Rejection Define You
Understand that many candidates are often rejected because of an interviewer’s gut feeling—and this should not define who you are. Instead, focus on other opportunities and continue to present yourself to the best of your ability. Getting rejected after a job interview does not mean you are incompetent. One hiring manager’s opinion of yourself should never define who you are and should not dictate your self-worth. “People get turned down for every sort of thing for all kinds of reasons that have nothing to do with merit,” said Dr. Neuman. “Keep in mind that a rejection is not necessarily—probably not even usually—a reflection on who you are, what you have written, or the way you present yourself.”
5. Keep a Number of Applications
According to Dr. Neuman, to withstand the upset of getting rejected, it is better to keep more than one iron in the fire at a time. Writers, for instance, submit their manuscript at different publishing houses simultaneously, so that rejection in one is less devastating because they are still being considered somewhere else. The same with job-hunting: an unsuccessful job interview does not feel so bad if you have another one or two scheduled.
6. Learn from Rejection
Our brains are hardwired to pay more attention to negative experiences, which is why we remember them so vividly and they tend to get blown out of proportion. Instead of wallowing on the after-effects of rejection, ask yourself: “What did I learn from this?” Rather than simply tolerating the pain, turn it into an opportunity for self-growth. Rejection can be a good teacher—use it as an opportunity to move forward as a better person.
7. Address the Issues
A rejection in one company can be used as an opportunity and a reason for acceptance at another. If the reason for non-acceptance is lack of technical knowledge, then try to improve on this by revising answers for technical questions or pursuing further skills development courses. If it is communication skills, then practice and be more confident next time.
8. Ask for Feedback
If you can, obtain feedback after an interview, either from the headhunter or the hiring manager directly. It may be difficult, but it is essential for your development. It sends a message to the interviewer how committed you are to self-development and may convince them to hire you the next time.
You can drive yourself crazy replaying the rejection scene over and over again in your head, or you may endlessly ruminate about the reasons you received a rejection, but you know deep down that this is counterproductive. A rejection should be used as an excuse to rally, pick yourself up, charge forward, and land your dream job.