Being rejected from a job is a painful experience that everyone goes through over the course of their working lives.
Given that we’re all familiar with job rejection, we should get better at sharing our learnings from those experiences. Here are a few starting points to consider.
You don’t know the whole story
After you’ve sent off a job application, it can seem like you’ve submitted your carefully-researched and well thought through proposal into a black hole. What’s happening in the background in between the moment you click ‘submit’ and the time you receive an email or call from someone in the recruitment team? Why can it take so long to get a response?
Well, that depends on the size of the organisation, the number of applications they’ve received for the job you’ve gone for, and how many other vacancies the recruitment team is trying to fill. Depending on the seniority of the role and popularity of the company, they may receive hundreds of applications just like yours and the reality is that the recruitment team won’t have enough people available or hours in the day to carefully read through every one of those applications. In some cases, employers may only sift through the first batch of applications received, so to have the best chance of getting noticed, try applying as soon as the vacancy opens.
You may be rejected at the first hurdle simply because the recruitment team created a shortlist of candidates to interview, before they even got to your application. There could be so many factors contributing to you not being offered the role, including ones the recruiters don’t tell you about.
As soon as you’ve sent off a job application and at every stage of the assessment process, it can be tempting to fantasise about the moment the recruiter offers you the job, along with the reactions of your friends and family when you tell them the good news. But sometimes you’re not offered the job you were convinced you were made for, and the disappointment you’ll feel will be crushing. So if you don’t get taken forward for the job you thought you were so perfect for, treat it as a blessing; maybe you weren’t perfect for that job or the company after all. Soften the blow by coming up with reasons why it wasn’t prefect after all, because the honest truth is that there is no such thing as a perfect job. Were you entirely satisfied with the amount of time you’d spend commuting to this job, the office layout, your potential team mates, the salary or level of flexibility?
Don’t keep these experiences to yourself. Share them with your mentor, your friends or trusted advisors. Talking it through may help you gain a new perspective and they’ll prompt you to consider what you’ve learned from that application and rejection process. Better yet, use these valuable people to make you accountable – what adjustments will you make to your job hunting process going forward, and how will you demonstrate that you’ve taken on board the employer’s feedback?
Believe that you are capable. You are valuable, employable, skilled, experienced and desirable to employers. You have to believe that truth before you can convince an employer to believe in you.