So, you didn’t get the job… Making the most of rejection
Sadly, we all have to deal with rejection from time to time and job hunting is no exception. It always sucks to hear when you have missed out on that job you really wanted but you can do things to make the most out of a negative situation.
Here we go…
Send a Follow-up Email
It’s hard not to take it to heart when you’re told that you aren’t what the company is looking for. It’s all too tempting to avoid the company and anyone who works there from now on.
Rather than letting your disappointment lead you to make rash decisions, consider the benefits of sending a polite, understanding follow-up email.
Just because you weren’t the right candidate for this particular position doesn’t mean your application and interview weren’t impressive.
The aim is to portray yourself as polite and grateful, to reiterate your interest in the company, and to reconnect with the interviewer. This is the kind of extra step in the application process which proves that, like you said in your cover letter, you really do go ‘above and beyond’.
Ask for feedback
You can ask for advice or feedback on your performance on the interview, but don’t do this straightaway in your follow-up email, as it might come across as too confrontational.
Use the opportunity to ask specific questions about any room for improvement, such as “did you find any key qualifications which were missing from my CV?”, “how could I better frame my responses in an interview?” or “how could I strengthen my marketing, business or interpersonal skills?”
Work on your Weaknesses
If you’re lucky enough to be offered a feedback phone call, you’re left with a ready made list of suggestions. Even if the employer declines, you should try to recall the interview and pinpoint questions which tripped you up. Did you research the company enough? Were you struggling with nerves? Did you use the STAR technique?
Looking back at the job description on the advert you originally responded to can be a great help. You probably had to stretch or exaggerate some sections of your cover letter in order to appeal to the skills they were after. After you’ve identified these weaknesses, there are several ways to tackle them.
You could take an online course to brush up your tech know-how or marketing skills, get voluntary experience in a specific field, or adjust your job search to find descriptions that you’re already a perfect fit for.
A lot of rejection advice focuses on ‘staying positive’, but this can seem pointless or impossible when you’re stuck in a cycle of job rejections.
It’s more important to be proactive – doing something, however small, is always better than nothing. The hiring process is incredibly complicated and competitive, and you never know how much something as simple as a thank you note might improve your chances.