We have all been there.
You put in hours to polish up your CV/Resume, you meticulously write your cover letter and have several friends review it to ensure you have put your best foot forward. You get invited for the interviews.
Once again, you have friends conduct mock interviews with you, you read through all the interview preparation materials you can get your hands on. You prepare. You do your part.
Then comes the moment of truth.
You do all the interviews and feel like you have aced them and are told to wait to hear back from the interview team within the next 2–3 weeks. It’s now over a month and you have not heard back from them or you have heard back from them and have been told those familiar words, “unfortunately, we could not offer you the position at the moment as there were other candidates who had a much better fitting experience than yours’ “.
This is just one of the many job rejection scenarios that happen to job seekers. There are many other reasons why our job applications fail or we fail interviews. Just like another rejections, job rejections can be disheartening and take a huge toll on our emotional and social well being. However, when looked at from a different perspective, they can offer a lot of positive learning, personal growth and development to you as you seek for better job opportunities..
I have failed many job interviews. In fact, even for my current role, I failed the first job interview in 2019 but I did what I needed to do and finally applied again a year later and got the job.
Here are a few lessons I have learnt from the several job rejections I have received through out the last 12 years of my career:
- It’s nothing personal: Many times when we face rejection in our lives, we take it personally. We feel inadequate. We feel like we don’t measure up and are not good enough. This gets worse when we get rejected for jobs we feel we qualify for and have prepared extensively for. A friend of mine and I always joke about these job rejections. We always say, “oh they just missed having the best and most hard working person on their team.” We should move on quickly because in many cases none of the people on the interview panel knows you personally or has anything against you and as such they couldn’t have made their decision because they have anything against you. They just chose the best person based on their point of view and how you both showed up. Additionally, as a person who has hired people for my teams as well, I know how hard it is to choose among several very good candidates. I have now learnt to cut hiring managers some slack each time they end up not hiring me as the best person for the job.
- Do not give up: The next common reaction is the feeling of wanting to give up especially because we feel like we have given it our all and still not been offered the job. Just because one company has not given you the job you have worked so hard for, does not mean others won’t. Now is not the time to give up. You can take a day or two to grieve and reflect on the process but be sure to dust yourself off and get up and get back to the hunt. Apply to other companies and other positions. Rejections should not stop you from applying for other jobs or positions. The job hunt continues.
- Request for feedback: One of the other things I like to do is to write back to the hiring team requesting for feedback on how I performed in the interview. Some hiring managers may respond to your request for feedback and some may not but it is always good to ask. This does not only present you in a positive light to the hiring manager but it also gives you an opportunity to collect actionable feedback that can be very useful in helping you grow. Every time I have asked for feedback on how I performed, I have collected a lot of useful information for my personal growth. For example, after interviewing for a senior position at one international organisation, I was told that the position required me to provide thought leadership in their industry so I needed to gain some experience in their sector. I was able to immediately incorporate that learning in my personal development plan such that the next time that or a similar opportunity comes around, I have done some work in that sector.
Ultimately, job hunting is tough work and job rejections do not make it any easier. However, they also present a great learning opportunity that we can continuously use until we either get that dream job or the career advancement we badly desire.
Did you find this article helpful? Please feel free to leave behind your feedback, personal tips and comments on what you think about job rejections and how we can all handle them better.
Your friend and personal growth partner,
Allan Kakinda, Co-founder and Productivity Coach
Eaglelite Associates Limited