Don’t Take it Personally: Helpful Tips to Deal With Job Rejection


Being on the receiving end of the dreaded “we’ve decided to go in another direction” phone call or email is never an easy position for a job seeker to find themselves in, but with clear-headed reflection and some good, old-fashioned gumption, you just may realize that this universal experience is an invaluable learning moment along the journey to your next great job.

Take a Deep Breath

So, your dream job turned out to be just that: a dream. The pain of rejection is very real; in fact, psychology studies compare it to physical pain because similar areas of the brain are stimulated during both experiences. Evolutionary psychology suggests that in early humans, being ostracized from the tribe was literally a death sentence, so we developed ways to change our behavior when we fear being “kicked off of the island.”

If you consider the process -- the average job seeker is typically rejected numerous times before getting an offer -- you’ll realize that not only are you in very good company, you’re actually one step closer to hearing that coveted “yes.” Use this knowledge to boost your spirits and forge ahead. Confidence goes a long way in the hiring process.

Ask for Constructive Feedback

Always ask yourself at the end of an interview: “What was one thing I could have done better?”. Maybe you could have prepared a few more meaningful questions to ask of the hiring manager. Perhaps you stumbled over a gap in your resume or came across as too glib. This type of continual self-evaluation is what brings about healthy growth and confidence in yourself, your background and what you uniquely bring to the table.

It’s also appropriate to (respectfully) ask the hiring manager for feedback from your interview. You just may be surprised what you hear, and you can potentially keep the discussions with this employer open and productive.

End on a Positive Note

Be gracious in receiving this information. Thank the hiring manager for their time and their insights, and let them know that you enjoyed meeting them and learning more about their company. Projecting a positive attitude can go a long way in maintaining a connection with this company -- and, you never know, another opportunity just might present itself now or in the near future. Remember it’s what you do after rejection that moves your trajectory towards your next position forward.

The 20/20 Foresight Executive Marketing & Job Finding team are experts in helping candidates shine brighter than the competition to get the job they really want. Our expert career consultants, whose influence extends across the country as well as globally, navigate the discovery, interviewing and hiring process to streamline communications and ensure the best possible match for long-lasting relationships. Connect with us today by filling out the form at right or calling 708.246.2100.