By Jim Wong, CPA | May 11, 2016


“Fall seven times, stand up eight.” –Japanese proverb

No one likes to get rejected in life—whether it’s in a relationship, applying to a school or interviewing for a new job. These various snubs can leave you feeling inadequate, unimportant or even untalented. However, you and I both know that’s likely not the case.

In order to properly handle rejection, especially during your job search, you must approach it head on and plan for what’s possible to come. Good or bad, you should handle rejection like a pro.

Now, even though the U.S. labor market continues to remain strong and the advantage is swayed toward job seekers, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get an offer for every position you apply to.

Additionally, when it comes to accounting, finance and IT roles, there are often many interviews and screenings that need to happen during the hiring process. Many times, there are several candidates vying for the role. Someone is bound to get rejected.

So, what do you do when that person is you?

I recently came across a good article by CIO.com that tackles the topic of job search rejection. This articles discusses helpful tips to handling IT-specific rejection, but I think they can be applied to any profession—and any type of rejection. I’ve taken a few pointers from the article and added a few thoughts of my own in the 8 Ways to Handle Job Search Rejection below.

1. Don’t take it personally. 
Even though it’s a natural response, do your best not to take the rejection or lack of a job offer as a personal attack on your self-worth. Sometimes, it’s just not a right fit. You might be perfect for the culture, but might lack a technical skill or specific experience that’s necessary for the role. Try to understand that these decisions are out of your hands. Don’t blame yourself for something that is not your fault.

2. Face the facts. 
Often times, if a job seeker ramps up the job in his or her head too much and paints the role as a dream of a lifetime, the rejection can seem even more difficult to accept. The fact is that there’s no such thing as the perfect role. You should try to focus on the reality of the job instead of the fantasy spin you may have put on the position.

3. It’s not you, it’s them.
There are times that companies do make a mistake during the hiring process. No matter if they genuinely missed out on a chance to have you on their team or not, you can only control your decisions and thoughts—not theirs. It’s usually best to chalk the rejection up to bad timing or poor judgment on their part, rather than tear yourself apart for thinking you’re not good enough for the role.

4. Follow up. 
So, you got rejected and your ego has taken a hit. Why not find out why? Follow up with the interviewers to see if you can receive additional feedback on your interviewing skills or find out what ultimately led to their decision. This will help you apply the feedback to your future job search. This will also show the hiring managers that you’re dedicated to bettering yourself as a professional which can set you apart from the rest of the job seekers. When a new role arises, you may then be on their mind to call.

5. Stay connected. 
It might be beneficial to stay connected with the interviewers, recruiters and hiring managers in some capacity. Whether it’s connecting through LinkedIn, Twitter or staying on an email list, you can keep tabs on what’s going on in the company, and they can keep track of what’s going on with you. You never know what type of networking can come as a result.

6. Show grace. 
Even if you’re upset with a rejection from a prospective company, it’s important to not be a sore loser. Stay poised and collected, especially if you receive the rejection in person. Be sure to thank everyone you came in contact with during the hiring process and let them know you would like to be considered for other endeavors, if new opportunities arise.

7. Keep moving forward.
The quicker you accept that rejection is a part of the job-search process, the better off you’ll be in the long run. It’s normal to need a day or two to reassess after a rejection, but don’t take so much time that you lose motivation or lose the sharpness of your skills. Keep moving forward and take things one day at a time. This will benefit you in the long run. As the old saying goes, all good things come to those who wait.

8. Stay positive.
It’s understandable to be frustrated by rejection—we’ve all been there. However, you shouldn’t let it stop you from continuing your job search with other companies. If you channel the negative energy into positive, productive energy, you can get back in the job hunt in no time and ultimately find that desired role. You might also be able to see your current position in a better light than you had before the rejection. Regroup to make sure you want to continue the job search in the first place.

What are some other tips for handling job search rejection? Comment below and let us know what you think!


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