How To Cope With Failure and Rejection in Job Search

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Ah the hard ‘no,’ it’s never a pleasant thing to hear. The word ‘no’ quite often implies rejection and failure. Applying for jobs is always a tricky and time-consuming process – one can say that looking for a job, is a full-time job.

With technological advances and social media platforms such as Linkedin, applying for multiple jobs per day is as easy as a click. However, rejection or worse complete radio-silence from a potential employer can be crushing to a fresh graduate looking for a job.

Do not fret, even the most successful businessman has had soul-crushing rejections in his time. Just look at Steve Jobs before Apple became the globally recognised brand it is. No one ever said it was going to be easy, but pick yourself up and try, try again.

Keep at it and learn from each ordeal to better yourself for the next round. Here are some tips on getting over a failed interview (and they can also apply to all other types of rejections!):

Ask for Feedback

Usually, if you do get a rejection email or phone call. Collect your thoughts and be thick-skinned enough to ask why you were not selected and what the successful applicant had that you did not. Most employers usually give a modicum of reasoning. However, if they view HR processes as private and confidential, don’t take it to heart if they do not respond.

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Try Your Luck

It never hurts to be optimistic and polite; you never know how things will go. If you felt that the interview went smoothly and you really want to work with this employer, buttering them up by telling them how impressed you were with their company and how you would be happy to fill the position should the selected candidate not work out, or work with the company in a different position – this can work in your favour as this paints you as a gracious candidate.

However, be very cautious against sounding too desperate. Keep things professional and avoid emotional blackmail. No one likes being made to feel bad for rejecting an applicant.

Always Network, Even When It Doesn’t Seem to Work Out

You know the saying, smile although your heart is breaking. After an unsuccessful turn of events, try to link up on LinkedIn with the hiring manager or your interviewer. If the odds are ever in your favour, your profile may be floated up to other people in the hirer’s network, which pushes you towards better prospects or a more suitable role.

Try to attend industry-specific networking events, join meet up groups. You never know who you’re going to meet, and when your guard is down in a less formal setting – you’ll feel less pressured and more likely to be yourself. That in turn, can create a positive first impression on a potential contact.

Don’t Blame Yourself

Remember, it’s not personal, it’s just business. There are many factors that can affect hiring, from headcount to budget cuts. A lot of it is completely beyond your control. Some hiring managers already have a profile in mind and will not hire anyone outside of their perceive candidate; this is also not something you are able to foresee.

Or quite simply, there was a candidate that was a better fit than you were, or that the hiring manager felt more chemistry with. It may be a hit to the ego when you’ve failed one too many times, but trust that it will work out eventually.

Use each failure to build up your interview skills, learn what you can do better. Reading up on interview tactics and body language, brushing up on your resume or cover letter writing, and learning how to craft a career narrative can do wonders for your next interview.

It also helps to research the company and try to find out the culture and working style. This would help build rapport with your interviewer and come across well prepared and knowledgeable about the enterprise.