Looking for a job is one of the scariest things that you can do in life.
Your future is entirely up in the air, and there is no rule to say that you should apply to this company or go for that particular role. Your self-confidence has taken a knock, and part of your identity is still sitting at your old desk.
There are fewer times in life where you have so little control over events. Yes, you can prepare, you can plan and you can sparkle at interview, but at the end of the day, it is the decision of a virtual stranger that will decide your fate:
“Should we hire this guy?”
The recruitment process is far from perfect. They will not quite ask the right questions. You will not quite give the right answers. You may be able to tell your story, but you will never fully know what the hiring manager’s motivations are.
What I mean to say is that there are hundreds of reasons why a candidate might be rejected for a job. Many of them may be nothing to do with their competency or suitability for the role. The simple fact is that it is hard not to take that little word to heart….
It might be a phone call; it might be an email; it might be an automatic rejection from some ATS software that didn’t like your keywords. In whatever form it is, it is still a rejection. That is one door that closes, or so it seems.
It is hard to take.
However, if you go into the process with the right expectations, it is possible to handle a rejection in a positive frame of mind.
Recruitment is a matchmaking process, and if you view it logically from the point of view of the employer and the candidate, you need to kiss a few frogs to get to the prince. Just as you will tell the recruiter that an employer doesn’t quite fit your expectations, so a hiring manager will tell you that you don’t quite fit the bill.
Rejection is perfectly normal. The key is how you learn from it.
Recruitment is an iterative process if handled correctly. You learn from each interview, you finesse your skills and fine-tune your understanding of what you actually want from your next move. This is often the same for employers, and if you find yourself at the start of that “what are we looking for” cycle, then rejections are far more common. Sometimes it is just about the timing….
If you view rejection as a stepping-stone to progress rather than a closed door, psychologically the process will become so much easier.
It is never easy hearing the word “no”, but, as long as you don’t let it get in the way, it can be a powerful weapon in taking your search to the next level. Of course, “no” is the word that makes the difference, but the company will still have seen lots of positives in your candidature. Ask for feedback – take it on board, and you will be stronger for the next one.
As the phrase goes “Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”