How to bounce back from job rejection

By Chris Devonshire | 14th March 2024

5 ways to turn job rejection into a positive experience for future opportunities.

Get that sinking feeling when the “sorry, you were unsuccessful” email drops into your inbox?

It’s natural to feel doubt or a knock to your confidence when you are rejected for a job. The key is to take control of this emotion and develop your approach to avoid negatively impacting your performance in future interviews.

Rejection is tough.

Human instinct following rejection is to wonder why. The important part of reflecting is to ask yourself what you can learn from your job rejection experience to build on your core strengths and address development points, to create future opportunities.

Here are 5 ways to turn dejection into development for career success

  1. Feedback is vital

Guess work and negative self-analysis doesn’t provide the fact-based answers you need to improve. Asking for and listening to feedback is the most valuable thing you can do when faced with a job rejection. You put a lot of effort into the interview preparation process, therefore you can expect to obtain actionable insights, whether you’re successful or not.

As recruiters, we make it our mission to deliver a thorough end-to-end interview process and that involves candidate feedback. Start by gathering the feedback from your recruiter to give you a clear foundation for learning and an understanding of what’s required for future development.

Constructive feedback helps prevent over-analysis and eliminate self-doubt. Remember, it’s not personal. 

  1. Reflect to understand

It’s not me, it’s them. This is a tempting approach to take when receiving job rejection. But this mindset will close you off to a valuable learning opportunity.

Analyse all the feedback you’ve received and couple this with your assessment of the process, from how you researched and prepared for your job interview to the interactions and follow up that took place. It’s likely that there were stages within the interview process.

Rate your performance for each primary stage and ask yourself:

  1. What did you do well?
  2. What could you have done differently?
  3. Were you aware of the interviewer’s body language?
  4. Did you build a rapport?
  5. Did the presentation reflect your knowledge succinctly?
  6. Did you focus on your technical skills and less of your soft skills?

These findings will help you identify if there is room for improvement or ways to incorporate more of what you did well. 

  1. Be pragmatic

No one is successful all the time. Feedback is useful to provide focus and mental clarity and eliminate the energy-sapping emotional response that could hamper you from learning from your experience. Feedback helps you enhance and develop the areas that could give you the edge in your next job interview and turn you into the successful job applicant.

Here’s the rub. Sometimes rejection is simply out of your hands. The current economy has led to an increase in qualified candidates applying for the same job as you. It may have been the best interview of your life and simply boiled down to chemistry because the interviewer was spoiled for choice of equally qualified candidates.

There could be other considerations, for example, a very strong internal candidate, familiar with the business. Or, there was a candidate with more relevant experience. They’re factors that are beyond your control. Let this motivate you to bring the same positive energy and approach to your next job interview.

Learning to accept rejection as part of the process will help build your mental and emotional resilience for the future. 

  1. Map out your progress plan

You’ve had time to assess your feedback and there are a few recurring themes. That’s a great start. An improvement in which of these areas would benefit you the most in future interviews? This understanding will help you prioritise your plan for future success. Then identify what you need to do to enhance your capabilities and fill the gaps in your performance.

Depending on the priority, it may be a case of improving your answers or referencing examples to evidence your experience which comes down to practice. Some of the areas for development may require training or coaching. Either way, ask for help.

We believe in empowering people to inspire innovation that shapes the future, which goes beyond traditional recruitment. It’s about supporting people throughout their journey to advance their ambitions and that means offering our expertise and guidance to give you the confidence and competitive edge for your job interview.

Plan and identify what’s needed to achieve priorities and ask for help where needed. 

  1. Setbacks or stepping stones?

You decide.

Your confidence can take a knock when you get a rejection, so it is important to build resilience. It’s a word used a lot and there’s a reason for that. It’s important. Building resilience helps you keep your motivation levels and morale high, maintain balance and enables you to tap into your strengths and support systems to overcome challenges and come back stronger.

By viewing setbacks as stepping stones to develop self-awareness, growth, and a constructive plan, you will increase your chances in securing the right job for you.

Getting turned down for a job happens to everyone. The most important thing is what you learn from the experience.

Is your shop window stellar?

If you’re in the job search stage, it’s important that you are reflected in the best light. What does your online brand say about you and how do you create a standout technology CV?

Need support for landing the job of your dreams, or simply looking for some advice to nail your job interview? Give us a call today.