How To Handle & Accept A Job Rejection

  • Published on:
    November 10, 2021
  • Reading time by:
    4 minutes
How To Handle & Accept A Job Rejection

The call finally comes through … Ouch. You are not the preferred candidate this time, and you didn’t get the job.

It happens to everyone at some point in their career. You were already dreaming about your new role and new life that would accompany it and now that future has disappeared before it even started.

Interview processes are more drawn out than they used to be with numerous stages. It is hard to discover you’re not the one when you thought you had a chance when down to the last two.

Here are some ideas to manage the news of not getting the job …

Receiving the news

Let’s hope you are advised that you didn’t get the job via a phone call. I also think people should reduce the amount of small talk that happens at this point and rip off the band aid with the news as quickly as possible. When it happens, it is ok to be surprised and disappointed. This is natural. Be gracious in being told the news as you never know if you might deal with this person again. 

If you receive the news of not getting the job via email then this is very hard on the soul, but many people believe that you probably don’t want to work for an organisation or business that tells people bad news via email. Sometimes it happens due to time zones though and it is harsh reading you are not wanted in black and white text. Make sure you have someone to call and chat it through reading disappointing news can sometimes be harder than hearing it. 

Ask for feedback

Most recruiters or businesses will try and give you some feedback when they provide the bad news. Most of them time you hear that the other person just had more experience than you in a certain area or overall. Of course, that is minimal help in helping you work out what you should do differently next time.

Even if you don’t get much feedback when the bad news is delivered you can also call back a day or two later and ask for more specific feedback. There is a chance they can offer you more details to help you improve or provide some insight on the experience of the other candidate in case it could help you in other ways. Feedback is just one person’s opinion so consider it but also don’t let it get you down.

Other parts of the business

If you really thought that it was the dream company to work for then talk to the business about keeping you in mind for other opportunities. Most businesses hire staff throughout the year and if you really want to work for that business tell them again.

Business requirements can change yearly, and many businesses can create roles for the right person. Ask if they can contact you about other appropriate roles or ask if you can check in with them every six months about roles. They will be impressed with your commitment and should keep you in mind for other opportunities.

Shake yourself off

Give yourself a good 24 hours to feel a bit down about the news. It’s ok to be disappointed and grieve the opportunity. Just don’t let yourself wallow for days though. It can be hard at the time but in most cases, it wasn’t meant to be.

You do need to believe that the right role and opportunity will present itself at the right time. Yes, in the moment it doesn’t feel that way but in a year’s time this will be a distant memory and you will be on your way to bigger and better things.

Finding the next role …

Keep your chin up and get on with finding the next role. Set up alerts, send out your CV and covering letter, keep contacting recruiters and talking to your network. The job market is quite cyclical so don’t feel dishearten if the right role isn’t there straight away for you.

Spend a solid hour a day each day checking and applying for roles. It will take time to find the right role and business and before you know it you will be getting that call saying you were the preferred candidate and it will be time to pop the champagne!

Alicia Cohen

Currently, a freelance consultant, Alicia has over 20 years of the UK and Australian experience in professional and corporate roles within sales, management, and leadership. With post-graduate qualifications in publishing, communications, training and directorship, Alicia loves to chat about all things business, women’s affairs and digital.

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