How to Deal with Job Rejection

In a world of swiping left and ghosting, rejecting someone is easy. Being rejected, on the other hand, can be a much harder pill to swallow. Especially when that rejection comes from your dream company. While it’s an uncomfortable feeling, there’s every chance it’ll be a common one. So let’s tackle dealing with it, rather than dwelling on it. 

It’s Thursday afternoon, 2 and a half weeks since you interviewed for your dream company. The interviewer said you’d be notified of the outcome in a fortnight. You don’t want to seem impatient… so you give it another day.

It’s Thursday night and the job interview continues to play over and over in your head as you try to fall asleep. “Why on earth did I use that example?! Why didn’t I mention that project?!”

Friday morning comes around.

*Bzzt Bzzt* You yank your phone from your pocket. [1 new email]. Your palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. A blended mix of anxiety and excitement rush from head to toe. You unlock your phone…

Dear candidate,

We regret to inform you that….

[insert generic rejection text with no useful feedback]

Kind regards,

[the company you wish you were working for]

You get the picture… So what’s next?

Well here are some helpful tips to better deal with job rejection.

1 // Give yourself a moment to be emotional
Research has found that being turned down by others can inflict not only emotional pain but also physical pain – ouch! So, there’s really no need to put on a macho mask and pretend it doesn’t hurt, because smart people in lab coats have your back with the facts.

If you need to shed a couple tears and eat an entire bucket of ice-cream in one sitting then that’s totally okay, we won’t judge. Just promise yourself that in the morning you won’t let your tea go cold and wonder why you got out of bed at all, because we promise it’s not so bad, truly.

2 // Don’t take is personally
Remind yourself that job rejection is not a personal attack on yourself even though you might feel that way.

Try not to forget just how tough the job market is at the moment, especially for young people! Australia and many other countries are entering recessions, unemployment is at a historical high and unless you’re in the lab whipping up a vaccine, it’s probably safe to say there isn’t a whole you can do in that respect.

Please never forget that you are smart and amazing but just like that high-school relationship, sometimes it wasn’t meant to be (sorry Taylor).

3 // Ask for detailed feedback
Instead of driving yourself bonkers wondering why you weren’t successful, reach out to the interviewer or recruitment officer and ask for some feedback on your application.

Worst case scenario… they simply don’t respond or say they don’t have the time.

Best case scenario… they tell you where you performed well and where room for improvement exists.

Seeking feedback demonstrates that you were genuinely interested in landing the job, that you’re coachable and may even push you towards the top of the recruiters list for future opportunities.

Well as long as the reason why you didn’t get the job wasn’t because you decided to interview as a team like Brennan Huff and Dale Doback. 

4 // Reflect reflect reflect
Once you’ve taken a moment to be emotional, not taken the job rejection as a personal attack on yourself, reached out for detailed feedback (and hopefully received some), it is time to reflect!

Yes, we said reflect, just like the final assignment for all those subjects at uni that you once thought were a complete waste of time.

If you managed to get some useful feedback that’s a great starting point, if not that’s okay as well. Use a reflection model like the 4 R’s (for example) to report, relate, reason and reconstruct your experience.

Reflection is such a useful tool and you’ll thank yourself in the future when you’re lying down on your private yacht sipping sangria in the Bahamas (or whatever else your goals are).

By taking the time to properly reflect, this will allow you to better identify your weaknesses and ultimately improve on and better articulate your technical and transferable skills in the future.

5 // Network network network
As around 70% of jobs are not publicly advertised but rather exist in the hidden job market, the age old saying rings true “it’s all about who you know.”

Networking has drastically changed during this new normal so forget about your attempts to perfect the firm handshake for now. Instead why not invite someone in your industry for a virtual zoom coffee?

Or better yet, head out and attend a networking event just like the genYOU Inspire series.

Shameless plug? Yes.

Super useful, potentially life changing amazing wonderful insightful plug? Also yes.

This article was written by Jak, one of the genYOU interns.