Technology has made job hunting both fast and gruelling: where job hunters would have been limited by mail to, say, 10 applications per day in the past, you can now churn out 20 to 30 – or even up to 50 applications – each day now, all with just a few clicks.
But what this also means is that there is a higher chance of being rejected as well.
Being rejected can be demoralising as it’s often interpreted as a sign of failure and being stuck in the job search grind – and damaging the confidence of fresh grads who are just trying their best to kickstart their career adventure.
However, with a little positivity, it’s possible to turn your disappointment into motivation; use it to develop your personality and resilience to find your dream job!
It won’t be easy, but there are some things that can help you move on from the sting of rejection – and it’ll be more productive than ice-cream bingeing or a night of soap opera re-runs.
How to ask for feedback
Although getting feedback from the employers or interviewers involved is a good starting point, don’t stop there! Take the opportunity to ask about how you fared against the successful candidate (or candidates), especially if you felt that your interview sessions had been a success. Start by emphasising on how important their feedback is to your self-development, and take their comments with an open mind.
Typically, while most employers won’t mind giving you their feedback, some might see this as private and confidential information, so don’t feel insulted if they decline.
Push a little
In some cases, it might be possible – and very worth it – to push a little even after you’ve been informed of your rejection because it might just turn your “no” into a “yes”. This calls for a delicate touch, though, so you’ll have to be discreet about the way you go about it.
Begin by telling them that you’re very keen on working with the company, and if their selected candidate doesn’t work out, or a similar position opens up, you’d still be very interested in joining the company.
However, emotional appeals will not help your case!
Don't play the blame game
Falling into an unhealthy cycle of self-doubt and self-blame is easy, to take some measures to prevent that! Turn it into a learning experience by asking the interviewer for feedback, and using it to improve your performance.
Also, it pays to keep in mind that there may have been other factors that influenced the hiring manager’s decision. For example, the interviewer may have been looking for someone who is familiar with a specific business sector. These are work experiences or portfolios that you can only build over time, and are completely beyond your control.
Hiring managers also tend to have a pre-imagined candidate profile, and will only hire according to these expectations. This is another factor you cannot control.
But if you managed to strike a good chord with your interviewer, try networking with him or her! Connect on LinkedIn or through their professional Twitter. It’s even better if you can get people beyond the hiring manager to connect with you.
With some luck, the suitably-impressed interviewer might just recommend you to another hiring manager in their own network. You may even be end up in a role that’s more suited for you!
After all this, try a fresh approach
Ultimately, how you handle rejection comes down to how well you manage yourself emotionally and moving on from there. Instead of wallowing in misery and bringing that emotional baggage to your next interview, take the lessons you’ve learnt from your experience, and approach the next application with a fresh perspective.
Easier said than done? Maybe. But remember: every company has a different idea of the “ideal candidate”, and you can only do your best by ensuring you’re fully showcasing your personality and abilities with the right attitude and mindset.