Every job seeker experiences this at least once, if not several times in their careers. You apply to your dream job, get the interview, and fall in love. You have what I call a serious, “job crush” – and it does crazy things to you. You spend hours dreaming what it will be like to work there. You stop applying to other jobs because you just can’t imagine working anyplace else. And then, you get the terrible news: they picked someone else. And, you promptly go into the five stages of grief:
Denial – There must be some mistake, this rejection was sent to the wrong person.
Anger – They stink! How could they lead me on like that? What liars!
Depression – I’m a loser. NOBODY will hire me. My career sucks.
Bargaining – If they can just give me feedback on why the other person was better than me, I can show them I’m really the right person for the job!
Acceptance – What have I learned from this experience and how can I move forward?
I can tell you from experience that most of the job seekers who come to me for help are stuck in stages 2, 3, or 4. They can’t get over what happened. As a result, they miss out on a huge opportunity to potentially land a job with the employer.
They didn’t say, “no, not ever.” They said, “not today.”
When a company doesn’t choose you, they aren’t rejecting your entirely. They just had a lot of good options and ended up selecting the one they thought would be the best fit. Hiring isn’t a science. There are so many subjective factors involved. To assume something is wrong with you or you did something wrong is silly. Instead of assuming the worst, use the rejection as an opportunity to show your character and professionalism to the employer – and it could get you that job you want. Here’s how…
Compliment them on their choice and show them you’re willing to wait.
Most job seekers when they get rejected send back a snarky comment, or desperately ask for feedback on what they did wrong. These responses make employers uncomfortable and usually results them marking your file as “do not hire.” Instead, you should send them a note that proves you know how to rise above:
“Thank you for letting me know. While of course I’m disappointed I didn’t get selected, I’m really happy for you that you found the right person for the job. That’s what’s most important. That said, I really enjoyed the hiring process and am even more excited by the idea of someday working at —. I was wondering if you have any suggestions on how I can be proactive so I can stay on your radar screen for future opportunities?”
By sending this message, you’re able to keep the relationship going. Why waste the connection you’ve established just because you didn’t get this particular job? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a company:
A) realize they hired the wrong person within a month.
B) end up having similar or better roles available soon after.
C) have the new hire quit because their first-choice employer offers them a job.
If you can show the employer you meant what you said in the interview and that you are willing to wait until the time is right to be hired – that day may come a lot faster than you think!