12 Tips for Managing Job Rejections
Updated January 30, 2023
When looking for a new job, you'll likely encounter a few job rejections before being offered the right position. While receiving a job rejection can be disheartening, it a natural part of the job-search process from which you can learn. The knowledge you gain from the company can actually help you improve your job searching plan and ultimately help you find the ideal job.
In this article, we explain the methods most companies use to share job rejections and offer a list of tips for handling job rejections.
How do companies share employment news?
Companies all handle hiring practices differently. When selecting a candidate for a position, some notify every applicant who was not selected while others only contact a few or none at all. In most cases, if you didn't interview for the position, it's common to receive a mass email notification that you didn't receive the job or not receive any confirmation at all.
If you interviewed for the position, you'll likely receive an email or a phone call from the hiring manager explaining that you didn't receive the job. If you're not sure whether you should wait to hear from the company or move on with your job search, you can always contact the hiring office for clarification.
12 ways to handle a job rejection
Job rejections are a normal part of the job searching process, but they can impact your resilience over time. Use these 12 tips to help you take the information you get from job rejections and use it to improve your job search:
1. Manage your emotions
The first thing to accept is that it is completely normal to be upset by rejection, and it is also normal to feel upset by it. Allow yourself to feel that emotion briefly and then return your focus to your job search. Moving out of a negative emotional space and into a positive, goal-driven mindset can help you maximize your job hunt and avoid missing potential job opportunities.
2. Stay objective
While some job rejections might feel personal, remember that they're almost always professional in nature. Ultimately, the hiring manager is going to select the candidate with the best professional qualifications, education and experience for the role. More than likely, you performed well during the hiring process—the company just chose a different candidate.
3. Remember your brain chemistry
For most people, rejection and negative emotions are much easier to remember and dwell on than positive experiences or feelings. Human brains generally remember challenging situations and painful feelings better than positive ones to help us avoid difficulties in the future. While this evolutionary skill can be useful, it's often necessary during a job search to remind yourself of the positive aspects of your career and actively focus on those rather than the rejections.
4. Review the feedback
Some companies will provide feedback for you during a rejection phone call or in a rejection email or letter. Use the feedback you receive to help you optimize your resume, review your interview etiquette and move forward with your job search.
5. Itemize your strengths
Make a list of your unique strengths to help you focus on the positive and hone the value proposition you can offer to a business. If you received feedback from the company, make a note of any areas in which they mentioned you excelled. Use your list to help you improve your application documents for your next potential job.
6. Consider the interview
If you interviewed for the position, take the time to review how the interview went. Note questions you thought you answered superbly and questions you weren't prepared for. Use that information to help you better ready yourself for your next job interview.
7. Use the information
One crucial step in improving your job prospects is to use the information you get from a job rejection to help you optimize your application package. While moving forward from the negative feelings is vital, it's just as important to keep a positive mindset and use the information you received from the rejection and hiring process to improve yourself.
8. Focus on the normalcy
After receiving a job rejection or two, it's easy to start feeling like receiving a job offer is an unlikely prospect. Instead, remind yourself that most employees around the world get far more job rejections than they do job offers. Not receiving a job is totally normal, and it's not a reflection of your overall suitability for the workforce.
9. Avoid over-analyzing
While reflection is important, keep yourself from over-analyzing job rejections. Spend some time reading the rejection letter and thinking back on the interview, but then move on with your job search and avoid dwelling on the past. Too much time spent reviewing a single rejection can take valuable time away from applying and interviewing for other potential positions.
10. Have a plan
Regardless of how much of a sure thing a job may seem to be, don't give up the job search and keep planning for your next steps. Actively seeking employment up until the moment you accept a position will help you feel in control of your future and spend less time dwelling on job rejections.
11. Ask for feedback
If you interviewed for a position and received a job rejection with no specific feedback, consider asking the hiring manager why you weren't chosen for the position. You can use this information to help you better prepare for your next round of applications and interviews.
12. Grieve and move forward
Whether it's your first job rejection or your tenth, any sadness or disappointment you may feel is to be expected. Allow yourself these feelings and then move forward. Recognizing your emotions is an important skill and can help you move through the hiring process more smoothly in the future.
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