How To Respond To A Job Rejection In A Way That Benefits You

By Stephanie Kirby

Updated December 19, 2018

Reviewer Laura Angers

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Job rejection is one of the worst experiences we go through in our professional lives. Typically, job rejections happen after a long hiring process, one where you have sacrificed time and energy to attend interviews, patiently waited for a decision and spent a great deal of time imagining yourself in your new potential role. When the phrase, "sorry, we have chosen another candidate" is uttered, it is difficult not to feel the world crashing down around you. As much as it stings, you can respond to a job rejection in a way that benefits you.

The Do's of Responding to a Job Rejection

If you have had the unfortunate experience of receiving a job rejection, keep in mind the following list of "do's." Not only will they help you get over the pain of not being selected faster, but they will also help you be better prepared for your next round of interviews, showcasing yourself as the professional you are.

Act Classy

Responding graciously to a job rejection that comes your way is the most important thing you can do in this situation. Although you're hurt on the inside, do not forget you are a professional. Whether the correspondence occurs over phone or e-mail, do not forget to address the hiring manager, or human resources representative politely, thanking them for considering you for the position. It is always helpful to ask them to keep you in mind for future opportunities and if possible, briefly restate how you believe your knowledge and experience would be an asset to their company.

Ask Questions

If you are fortunate enough to speak directly to the individual who interviewed you, ask if they have a few moments to provide you some feedback for the future. Some interviewers are comfortable answering straightforward questions such as, "Can you please elaborate why another candidate was better suited for the position?" Others, may not be allowed to disclose any information.

If possible, simply ask what you could do differently in the future to improve your chances of being hired by the company. You might be surprised to find out that you lacked a certain skill set they were looking for, that your education needs updating, or that a specific answer in your interview concerned them. Getting information about why you were not selected will help you know what to work on next.

Network

Although you did not make the cut this time, you should continue making contacts within the company. Ask your interviewer, or hiring manager if you can keep a hold of their contact information for future reference. Reach out to them after some time has passed and inquire about new opportunities coming up.

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As you communicate back and forth with your contact, remind them of your eagerness for employment, the skills you possess that you feel benefit the company, and what you are working towards that makes you an even more suitable candidate for a position than you were before.

If you do end up establishing a good relationship with someone in the company, ask them to keep you informed of open opportunities you might be well suited for. Take a look at networking resources online if you are unsure how to establish this type of professional relationship.

Make Changes Now

If the employer lets you know that a professional or educational shortcoming was behind their decision to choose another candidate, take immediate steps to make yourself more competitive in your field right away. When in doubt, simply ask the hiring manager what qualifications you are missing, and they can point you in the direction of supplemental coursework, degree programs, or areas of experience you are missing on your resume.

Learn From The Experience

Just because you did not end up with the job, it does not mean the experience was a waste of time. Keep in mind all the valuable information you learned from the company during the hiring process. Maybe the individual interviewing you gave you a solid idea of what they are looking for in a candidate, or perhaps they seem most interested in a certain aspect of your background. All of this information is yours to use in a future interview with the same company or their competitor.

Look At The Competitors

Speaking of competitors, if you did not land a job with the company you had your heart on, look to them. Often, job descriptions will be the same for equal roles between two companies, meaning your likely already qualified for a similar role elsewhere if you managed to get an interview at your first choice company. Since you have already been through the hiring process with one company, you will be more prepared for another round of interviews at their competitor, an experience that may potentially help you get the job you want.

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Do not forget that although you did not land the role with your dream company, getting your foot in the door in your industry will be as helpful in the long run. Often, professionals move back and forth between competing companies of the same industry, meaning you can network with individuals who have come from or are moving to the company you have your eye on.

Seek Professional Help

If you seem to meet all the requirements for positions that you desire, yet never seem able to get the job, it might be time to consult a professional. Take classes or find a consultant who specializes in how to write a job-winning resume or speak with someone who can help you fine-tune your interviewing skills.

The problem may be as simple as you not selling yourself in the right way. Too many good professionals get looked over simply because their resume lacks important information, or they come off too quiet or nervous during interviews. If a mental or emotional obstacle is standing in the way of your interview success, reach out to Betterhelp today!

The Do Not's of Responding to a Job Rejection

When it comes to not being selected for a position, it is not always what you do that matters, but what you do not do that makes a difference.

Confront

If you are having a hard time finding out why a company rejected you, and they are not willing to provide additional information to you about their selection process, do not seek out those answers yourself. Never ask to speak to your interviewer directly just to confront them, and never demand answers from them. This is a quick way to get yourself disqualified from any future interviews with the company.

Fight Back

If a hiring manager or interviewer graciously gives you information about why you were not selected, never argue with them about their reasoning. For example, if they claim they could not offer you the position because you did not have enough experience with computers, do not try to refute them by suddenly presenting all your PC knowledge.

While they might be wrong, the responsibility to present yourself as the most qualified candidate for the job is yours. If you did not effectively communicate your expertise in the subject area, this is not the interviewer's fault. Simply keep in mind for your next interview that you need to focus more on proving how you are the best person for the potential job.

Trash Talk The Company

Since you did not land your dream job, chances are you will be interviewing at other companies until you find your next role. While doing so, do not talk badly about the company that rejected you. Not only is it possible the person interviewing you knows someone in the previous company you interviewed with, but you may also come across as someone who is not professional.

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As a general rule of thumb, never talk badly about past professional experience, company, or hiring process. The job interview should always focus on you and what you can bring to the table. Dwelling on past experiences will only show the hiring manager that you would rather work with another company on their own, eliminating your chances of landing any job at all.

Stop Looking

At no point in the job search should you ever give up looking for other roles? Even when you were going through the hiring process with the company of your dreams, you should have applied to other similar positions. If you skipped this step, send out applications today-now! The longer it takes for you to get back in the game, the longer you will possibly go without an income, and the less impressed future hiring managers will be (especially if you are currently not working).

Give Up After a Job Rejection

Never give up on your career goals just because you get a job rejection. There is always another opportunity, another company, and another role that becomes available each day. After you spend some time thinking about what you could do different, use that as fuel for motivation to pursue another role.

Responding to a job rejection takes class and strength. It is painful knowing you were not selected for a role that matters to you. Luckily, when one door closes, another one almost always opens in its place. Do not waste any time when it comes to getting back out on the playing field. Remember the "do's" and "do not's" of a job rejection, and you will have no trouble landing a role shortly.


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