Dealing with Rejection


You search for jobs and find a position nearby that would be perfect for you. You read through the requirements and determine that you are the ideal candidate for the job. You research the company, apply, and prepare for the interview. You show up 15 minutes early and feel confident in your business casual attire. You impress the interviewers with your firm handshake and solid delivery of each answer to their questions. You write a thank you card to leave a lasting impression. And now you wait.

One week later you receive an e-mail: “It was a very difficult decision, but unfortunately, we are not able to offer you the position.” Now what?

If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, whether it be for a job or other opportunity, the following five tips will help you overcome rejection and stay motivated:

  1. Don’t make emotional decisions. When you are overcome with feelings of rejection always stop and reflect. Recognize that just because you were not the perfect match for the company’s specific needs, it doesn’t mean that you’re not an outstanding professional with excellent attributes and skills.
  2. Ask yourself questions. In order to learn from the experience, ask yourself questions that will help you focus on moving forward. What would you have done differently? How would you have handled yourself differently during the interview process? What did you learn? These questions will allow you to gain insight and prepare for future interviews.
  3. Have a backup plan. Always pursue multiple opportunities. Especially in this fast-paced and uncertain economy, it’s a smart idea to always have a few career options. With more options, you will not feel stuck or defeated.
  4. Focus on your strengths. After being rejected from a job or opportunity, it’s easy to blame yourself. Chances are, if there are things that need to be improved with your interviewing – you sense what they are. The best next step is to seek advice and gain a few new strategies and techniques to add to your toolkit.
  5. Know that you’re not alone. During this time, it is important to reach out and share mutual support. Chances are that you have a friend or colleague who has experienced a similar situation.

It is important to remember that, more often than not, you didn’t actually mess up. A survey by Harris Interactive in May and June of 2013 included 2,076 hiring managers and human resources professionals from across industries, and the data revealed that a candidate with whom the interviewer has more in common can give that candidate a 21% better chance of being hired. Recognize that some aspects of the hiring decision are out of one’s control and start moving toward your next opportunity.

“Often you think when you’re rejected that you are not good enough, but the truth is, they weren’t ready for all you have to offer.” -Anonymous

By Ellen Morelli
Ellen Morelli Career Intern