How to Handle Rejection From a Job

We understand: No one likes rejection. During a job hunt however, we’re likely to experience this more than we would like.

What do you do when things don’t work out? It’s an important question because handling rejection poorly can set a job search back several weeks. On the other hand, a well-handled rejection can turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

No two rejections are exactly the same, but there are a number of smart strategies we can employ to ensure that rejections don’t become the setbacks they have the potential to be. To learn how to handle these moments, read on.  

What to do if you get rejected for a job

how to deal with job rejection and move on

Ask for detailed feedback

In the event of a rejection, feedback is a valuable resource. Feedback allows you to learn from what went wrong and improve in the future, and the best person to tell you what went wrong is the person who rejected you.

So start by getting all the feedback you can from the recruiter or the employer. If the feedback seems very generic don’t be afraid to ask for something more specific – explain you are keen to learn and grow using this information. Always thank people for feedback, even if you don’t agree.  

Reflect on the series of events

It’s important to remember that rejection is a common part of the job search process.

Feedback from others is important, but it mustn’t stop there. Remind yourself of each step of the process, from the interview, to your follow up, your preparation and more.

Rank how you performed at each stage and ask yourself whether there’s room for improvement. Ask yourself which areas you felt you excelled in or where you didn’t do so well.

Those areas where you were lacking are where you should try and improve, so that you can go into your next job application feeling more confident. Similarly, those areas you did well, celebrate and repeat.

How to stay positive after job rejection

how to stay positive after job rejection

Take a step back to reflect

Sure, you didn’t get this one. But was it really right in the first place? Reassess your professional aspirations and question them. Did you choose the role for the right reasons? Does it really excite you? If not, the interviewer might have picked up on this lack of enthusiasm and rejected you based on that.

Consider what went well and what could be improved. Use this self-reflection to enhance your skills and tailor your approach for future job applications.

What are your values? What skills to you have? Look back over the job description and ask yourself whether it’s really you. 

After reflecting, you may still feel it was the perfect role for you. In which case, continue looking for similar opportunities.

Upskill with online courses to improve your prospects

Use the rejection as a learning opportunity. Consider taking courses or gaining additional certifications to enhance your qualifications. This can make you a more competitive candidate for future positions.

If your skillset let you down, improve it! The internet offers a wealth of extremely helpful online courses that can help train you and make you more employable. Check out for ideas on what to study. 

Don't burn your bridges

Although it can feel bitter, don’t let these feelings affect your conduct. Remain professional and gracious, thanking them for their time and expressing your wish to work with them in the future.  

A hiring manager may keep your details on record and think of you when the next suitable role arises. 

Remember that success in the job search often requires persistence. It may take time to find the right fit, but don’t give up. Keep refining your approach and applying for jobs that align with your goals and skills.

What to do if you get rejected for a job

how to bounce back from a job rejection

Sometimes it's beyond your control

Remember that job rejection is not a reflection of your worth as a person. It’s a part of the job search process that everyone faces at some point.

You might have done everything right, but, it just didn’t work out. Unfortunately, the outcome is not always your fault or something you could influence. In some cases it can just be a matter of bad luck. 

There’ll always be others out there with similar or better/more relevant skills, and sometimes you’re unlucky enough to be competing with them for the same job. Let it go, what’s done is done. Move on and face the future and focus on what you can control; your next move.

Talk to the experts

When it comes to connecting people to their ideal role, we’re the experts. We want to help you find that job that truly fulfils you, and we’ll be with you every step of the way. Contact us here.

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