How to handle job rejection.

How to handle job rejection

Table of Contents

“Thank you for your time today in the interview. After some careful consideration, we wanted to let you know that we have decided to move forward with another candidate for the position”

You’ve spent hours working on your CV, applied for numerous jobs, and feel confident about an interview, only to get rejected at the last hurdle. You’re disappointed.

You might sit there and start to think how you could have done better and feel like perhaps you’re just not good enough. These thoughts can bother you for days, leading you to lack motivation to apply for other positions.

Being turned down for a job can bring all sorts of feelings. From self-doubt to sadness, anxiety and frustration. It’s important to acknowledge these feelings and deal with them head-on, and in a positive way. Addressing these feelings sooner rather than later will help you recover from the setback, and bring back your motivation to continue with your job hunt.

In this article, we will go through the challenges you may face after a job rejection and bring you helpful tips and advice on how to deal with them. According to a survey by CareerArc, 60% of job seekers report having had a negative candidate experience with a potential employer. This shows the common nature of being rejected from a position and highlights the importance of learning to cope with them effectively.

After you receive the disappointing news, try to gather your thoughts to stop you from spiralling. One thing to know is that not getting the job doesn’t say anything about your worth or character. It certainly does not determine your value as a person or a professional.

When applying for a job, you’re putting yourself out there, facing the chance of not getting it. This is just part of the job application process. It’s important to remember that this happens to everyone, even those with lots of qualifications and experience.

There are lots of different reasons why you didn’t get the job. This might include things like the specifics of the job, what the company needs at the time, and the skills and experience of other people who applied. Sometimes, another person might have had a little bit more experience, or would culturally fit the role best.

There are also things a company is looking for that haven’t been mentioned in the job advert. Every organisation has its special things they want in a person. Things such as personality, how you communicate, and how you work with others are hard to get across in your CV, so the first time the employer has a chance to see this is in the interview.

If you don’t get this role, it doesn’t mean you won’t be a great fit for another similar role with a different company where what they are looking for matches what you can offer.

Sending a thank you email to the employer or hiring manager makes you stand out from the rest. This demonstrates that you are professional, and helps maintain a positive relationship with the company. In your email, make sure you explain where and when you met with the company, so they can remember you. This can leave a lasting impression on the business, and you are more likely to hear about new opportunities within the company at a future date.

It’s fine to say you’re disappointed about not getting the job, but try to keep this part short and stay positive in your email. Let them know that even though you didn’t get this job, you’d be happy to think about other jobs they might have later on.

Sending a thank you email won’t always mean you’ll get another job offer, but it can make them think of you as someone to consider for a different job in the future. And you never know, if their first choice doesn’t work out for some reason, your email may have put you at the top of their list to contact.

If you haven’t been told by the company why they decided not to choose you, it’s a good idea to ask them if they can give you any helpful feedback. This way, you can learn, develop and change things for your next interview.

This is where working with a recruitment agency can be beneficial to you on your job-hunting journey. When you apply directly to a company, you might not get any feedback at all. They are likely to have a lot of candidates to go through, meaning their time is limited to giving feedback to every one of them.

When you work with a recruitment agency, employers are more likely to tell them clear and detailed feedback about your application and why you were not selected for the role. The agency has constant communication with the hiring team and can easily pass on information to you that you may have not gotten otherwise.

Knowing exactly what you need to improve on can massively change how you approach your next job interview. You can start to practise giving better answers which highlight how your personality, skill set and experience match the qualities needed for a particular role.

Need an extra hand in practising for a job interview. Give Google Interview Warmup a try. This AI-powered tool can ask you the most common interview questions, giving you a good start to building confidence in an interview setting. Our team recently wrote a blog with more information on this tool, you can read that here.

It’s normal to question why another person was more suitable for the role than you. You may have a lot of great experience, and the right skills for the job, but sometimes, simple reasons like another person being a better personality fit could be why they went with someone else.

Employers are looking for people who fit with the company culture and who will fit best with the current team members. Different doesn’t always mean better.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the company may have received internal applications from current employees. In these kinds of cases, a company might choose an internal candidate as they already have a feel of the company, and know how the organisation works.

When you have faced a job rejection, one of the best steps you can take is to get in touch with your network. This includes friends, former colleagues, mentors or even people you have previously met in a professional setting. These connections can be a great source of support, and they may know about job opportunities that haven’t yet been widely advertised.

Start by letting them know that you are on the lookout for a new role. Be clear to them what kind of job you’re interested in, but also be open to some suggestions they may have for you. The more specific you are with them about the opportunity you are looking for, the easier it will be for them to help you if they can. If they suggest something that you may have not considered, be open to exploring that further, you may have transferable skills that would make you a great match for roles you may have dismissed previously.

Reaching out to your network isn’t just about asking for any open job opportunities, it’s a great chance to ask for advice, learn about new industries and maybe even gain insights into companies that you see yourself working for.

A survey conducted by LinkedIn found that a massive 85% of all jobs are filled via networking. This goes to show the significant impact that networking can have on your job-searching efforts.

Social media can be your best friend whilst trying to network, especially sites such as LinkedIn. Update your profile, join relevant groups and have an active participation in discussions. Sometimes, a quick message or comment can open up a conversation that could potentially lead to a job.

Remember, every conversation is a potential opportunity. Even if it doesn’t lead to a job straight away, you’re building relationships and expanding your network, which is always beneficial in the long run. Keep your approach positive and proactive, and you might be surprised at what results you get.

Another great tip to keep in mind, especially after a job rejection, is the importance of being open to learning and developing your skills. Try and change the setback into an opportunity for growth. Every job application and interview is a learning experience. Even though it’s disappointing to not get a role, there are plenty of things to learn from to move forward.

The first thing to consider is any areas you might need to brush up your skills. This could be something the employer mentioned to you if they gave you feedback from the interview. The areas of improvement could be anything from technical know-how in your industries to soft skills such as communication and teamwork.

In today’s rapidly changing job market, continuous learning is not just a bonus, it’s a necessity. And the good news? There are loads of resources available, from online courses and workshops to webinars and industry conferences. Many of these are free or low-cost, making it easier than ever to keep your skills sharp and up-to-date.

Another thing to think about is broadening your skillset. Sometimes, the skills that make you stand out aren’t the ones you’d expect. For example, if you’re in a technical field, learning about project management or developing your public speaking skills could give you an edge. These ‘transferable skills’ are highly valued by employers because they can be applied in many different situations.

Remember, learning and skill development isn’t just about formal education. Real-world experiences, volunteering, or even hobbies can teach you valuable skills and demonstrate your adaptability and willingness to learn. These experiences can also be great talking points in your next interview.

Being open to learning and developing your skills shows potential employers that you’re proactive, adaptable, and committed to your personal and professional growth. It’s about showing them that you’re not just ready for the job you’re applying for now, but that you’re also preparing yourself for future challenges and opportunities.

When facing a job rejection, it’s important to look at them as a learning experience to identify your strengths and areas to improve on. This is especially important to reveal patterns or specific areas where you consistently face challenges. By understanding this, you can then work towards highlighting what your strong points are in your next interview and also work on improving your weaknesses.

In your job searching journey, utilising the right resources is crucial. This is where we can help. As a recruitment agency, we offer personalised guidance and support, helping you through the job hunting process to the best of your ability. Our expertise can help you from refining your applications and CV to preparing for interviews.

If you would like to speak to our team about the next step in your career, you can call us on 0161 870 5000 or send us an email to

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