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  • Theresa Linn

Handling Rejection After the Interview: What You Need to Know

It’s inevitable that in the job search process, a job seeker will face rejection after they have had an interview. Even when you feel like you aced the interview, a rejection will sometimes occur. Handling rejection with grace and professionalism can help you grow as an individual and a professional, and demonstrating those behaviors to the hiring manager in the face of rejection allows you to exit the situation with your head held high. Below are five tips for handling rejection after an interview.

Don’t Take It Personally

This is difficult for most people, but job rejections aren’t personal. They are business decisions, and the hiring manager is making a decision that will impact their business well into the future. Sometimes, this means turning down great candidates who aren’t the best choice for a position. Remember, it’s not personal. It’s business.

Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

Just because you have had an interview--or multiple interviews--with a company does not mean that you should stop your job search. Until you have an offer on the table, keep going with your job search! This is important for managing not only disappointment but for finding the best position for yourself and one where you will feel the most fulfilled. Keeping your options open allows you to take advantage of all interview opportunities as they arise and help alleviate the disappointment that comes when a job offer is not extended after an interview.

Many job seekers focus heavily on one job at a time, and this can be a mistake. Applying for positions that interest you as they become available, and working to put your best effort into every resume and cover letter submission will provide you with the highest probability for landing a new position quickly. Casting a wide net on your job search and focusing on key positions where you can thrive is key to a successful job search.

Practice, Practice, Practice

There is always room for improvement, and practice is the best way to improve your skills. Whether it is conducting mock interviews to help you feel more confident or investing in skill training or professional development, continue to work on yourself after the interview. These skills will help prepare you for the next adventure in job seeking and may even give you a leg up on the competition if you invest the time in skill learning or developing existing skills further. It will also help keep you busy while you wait for those responses to start coming in.

Avoid Over-Analyzing

Just because you didn’t get a job offer after the interview doesn’t mean that everything you did during the interview was wrong. Ruminating for too long on an interview can cause more problems than it solves, and isn’t necessarily constructive. If there was an area that you feel you could have improved or a question you could have answered better, incorporate that into your mock interview process so that you can approach it more effectively if or when it comes up in the future. Don’t dwell on it, however. Use it as a working point to move forward and grow.

Ask for Feedback

This is a topic you will see coming up more frequently, as the job market is very competitive. Asking the hiring managers for feedback is standard practice, and doing so politely while thanking them for the opportunity to interview with them says a lot about your character and leaves the hiring managers with a positive view of you. This may provide future opportunities with the company even if the current position you were applying for didn’t pan out. Soliciting feedback also gives you an idea of where you can improve so that you have an even better chance of landing the next job that comes along.

Job rejection is inevitable: we all face it at some point. The ability to bounce back after rejection may not be inherent, but you can learn to handle rejection with tact and grace. You can also choose to learn from it and use those rejections to propel yourself forward and improve your skills. Doing so may make the difference between another rejection or a job offer after your next interview.

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