One of the most difficult things to hear after a job interview is, “You didn’t get the position.”
Rejection is disappointing no matter what the situation (even when it wasn’t something we really even wanted in the first place). Humans have a natural need to connect with others and to feel like they belong.
However, some things in life are fraught with rejection, and the job search is one of them.
In a recent poll by Careerealism, 30% of respondents indicated that the ratio of applications sent to the number of interviews received was 50:1 (the next largest response group at 29% indicated that the ratio was 10:1). While it’s hard to quantify this type of data due to different types of roles, industries, and other factors, what’s clear is that rejection is a common part of the job search process.
It can feel even worse after an actual interview. By this stage, you may be planning your new commute, thinking about how it will feel to work with the team, and even visualizing what your business cards will say. In other words, you start to get emotionally invested.
The thought that this one might be the last first interview in your search is enough to make you giddy, which only makes the news that the company selected another candidate even more crushing.
Here are some ideas for making the blow of rejection in a job search a little easier:
– Recognize that rejection goes both ways. According to Forbes, 56% of all employers reported that a candidate rejected their job offer in 2012. After all, you can only accept ONE job in the end, and employers can only hire one candidate for the open position.
– Have a realistic mindset. If you go in estimating that 1 in 15 applications will lead to an interview, and 1 in 5 interviews will lead to a second interview, you won’t be as frustrated when you get a few “Thanks, but no thanks” emails.
– Put it into perspective. A decision was made that you were not the best candidate for the job right now. That’s it. Don’t make it about your overall worth or talent. Dust off, and move forward.
– Network to reduce rejections. Of the 3.6 million jobs that were open at the end of 2012, 80% were not advertised according to Forbes. When applying online, you’re competing with every job applicant in the market for only 20% of the jobs actually available. Remember – referrals are the #1 source of hiring volume and hiring speed (29 vs. 39 days compared to applicants from job boards – ERE.net).
– Define rejection appropriately. I’ve worked with many clients who were extremely disappointed about not getting a job that they knew wasn’t a good fit anyway. What looked perfect on paper turned out to be a poor match during the interview process. The company likely realized this too, which is why they were cut. This is a win-win.
For some, rejection gets easier with time. For others, it continues to sting. Whether in a job search or other life situations, unless you’re sitting at home doing nothing, you’re going to experience rejection from time to time. In fact, the more new things you try, the more you will fail, be rejected, and make mistakes. Proportionally, the more great things you will learn and achieve as well. So, onward and upward.