It can feel defeating to receive a job rejection letter after getting through the interview process. Everyone has faced rejection at some point and it's never a pleasant feeling, especially if you really had your heart set on that position or company.
It's okay to feel disappointed, these feelings are natural. The first step to handling rejection after a job interview is to take some time for self-care. Take a walk, do a meditation, or call a good friend. An outlet will help you relieve those disheartened feelings so you can reset and refresh.
The key to handling rejection is to reframe your perspective and keep setting goals. Once you have taken some time for self-care, you can bounce back stronger than before with a fresh approach.
Here are some actionable steps you can take to handle rejection like a professional.
Respond to the Rejection Email
You should always respond to the rejection email and thank the hiring manager for their time and consideration, even when they didn't choose you for the role.
You shouldn't respond to the rejection email until you have processed the rejection and made peace with your disappointment. It's never a good idea to respond hastily when you are upset or angry because you could risk saying something you regret. Take a deep breath and some time away to process the rejection before you react.
Keep it gracious and professional when responding to your job rejection letter and always lead with a thank you message. By thanking the hiring manager for their time and consideration, you show that you have good manners and class.
Ask for Feedback
After you lead with a thank you, ask the hiring manager for feedback about your interview techniques and qualifications. Make sure that you have a positive attitude when you ask this question so you are prepared for constructive criticism.
Feedback after rejection will highlight the areas you can improve and ultimately give you an edge up in future interviews. For example, the hiring manager may tell you that you lacked certain technical skills for their standards or your interview responses were too short. With this information, you can feel empowered to know what to work on.
Some companies may not provide detailed feedback because the candidate pool was so strong and it came down to very small details. Other hiring managers may not respond because they are too busy. This can be frustrating, but at least you gave it a shot!
Keep the Door Open
After you impress the hiring manager with your opening gratitude and openness to improvement, you are already on your way to keeping the door open for future opportunities at that company. The next step is requesting that they consider you for future roles.
Close your response to the job rejection by reiterating how much you were impressed by the company and that you are still interested in working there. Request that they let you know if a position opens up that you are qualified for and continue to check their website for openings.
If the hired candidate doesn't work out, you have a strong chance of being fresh in the potential employer's mind for a second shot. Keeping the door open and thinking ahead are some of the best habits of highly effective job seekers.
Complete your response out with one last thank you then hit send. You can rest assured that you handled rejection with class and professionalism.
Reflect on the Experience
Even if the hiring manager doesn't get back to you with feedback, you can still reflect on your experience. Where did you feel confident in the interviewing process? Where did you feel you lacked?
Make a list of what you think you did well and where you can improve. Brush up on your interview skills by doing some research on common interview questions and habits of successful candidates.
Behavioral questions and talking about your weaknesses in interviews are some of the trickier ones, so make some extra time for those skills. Practice with a friend and draft some sample responses so you're prepared for that next interview.
Remember that even though you received the dreaded rejection letter from this role, you still gained some valuable experience that you didn't have before. Take advantage of what you learned and use that as fuel for your continued job search.
After a rejection, don't give up! Just keep looking for your dream job and stay motivated. There are so many open roles out there and you might come across something even better if you widen your search.
Continue to check the websites of the companies that seem the most attractive to you and browse through job sites like LinkedIn and Indeed often. Ask around in your professional network for opportunities and attend some conferences or networking events in your field.
Since you were able to secure an interview with one company, there will be many more inviting you in, you just have to keep looking. If you are finding the job hunt to be taking longer than you expected, you can benefit from working with a staffing agency.
Research staffing agencies in your profession and prepare your resume so you are ready to ace a staffing agency interview. Staffing agencies know all the ins and outs of the hiring process and they are matchmakers for professionals and employers.
Who you know plays a huge factor in securing a solid job opportunity and a staffing agency will have those connections you've been dreaming about. Staffing agencies also have useful career development opportunities to get you a step closer to that coveted role.
Handling rejection is never fun, but resilient people always succeed in the end. Your dream employer is out there waiting for you, so just keep searching.
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