Rejection Hurts

“Thank you for your interest. You have an impressive background; however, we have candidates in the queue who more closely match the requirements. I’ve kept your resume for possible future openings. Best of luck with your career.”

Fargo takes a nap!

Feeling rejected: NOT!

They made a huge mistake! I was perfect for the job. How could they reject me?

Things We Can’t Change

We cannot change the color of our skin, our age, or our ethnicity. If a hiring manager wants to hire his next door neighbor who lacks the required skills, we cannot control the decision. We must keep moving forward.

Our skills may be perfect for the job description, but the team needs a younger person, to replace “old Arnie” who wants to retire to Santa Fe next month. The hiring manager is aware the new grad has a learning curve while our 20 years of experience could be useful on the first day. But s/he wants a new grad.

While writing this article, my 13 pound guard dog began to bark. I’ve written about Fargo in the past. He takes rejection in stride. He barks incessantly when someone walks past the windows.  He wants to protect his territory and family, just as we do. When we are rejected, we often become angry or dejected. Although I scold him, he may look ashamed momentarily, but he’ll do it again and again. He spends relatively no energy moping. But people are not dogs.

We may wail far too long when we are rejected. We may rant and rave, feeling angry, sad, or both. The sooner we realize we are in charge of the next steps, the sooner we succeed on the journey.

Things We Can Change

Listen to feedback, if available.

If we know someone in the company who can vouch for our integrity and work ethics, we’ll have a better chance of getting hired. We cannot change number of years of experience, but we can look for someone to be a mentor within the company.

We could offer to work for a target company on a contract basis. Many companies are turning to contract positions to check skills and work ethics before offering any full time employment.

The word “fit” makes me wince as it seems overused but accurate. Applying for a job flipping hamburgers won’t work, if we are looking for an executive or leadership role. If we are willing to take a “lesser” job, we’ll need to explain why and how we fit.

Handling Rejection

We can lose faith in ourselves with the discrimination we face. Through self-talk and the support of family and friends, we can continue to move forward. If someone says, “You don’t have the skills,” when you think you do, keep marching to find another project or job opening that you can fit.

Sometimes we must be realistic. If you realize you aren’t “good enough,” you must find ways to become better. Take a class, a webinar, or attend a conference. We are fortunate the job market is robust at the moment, but we need to prepare for what comes next and not blame others for their decisions.

No, we can’t change the color of our skin or our age, but through introspection, we can package ourselves with more passion and energy than ever. We don’t have to continue barking at strangers. How long do you want to feel ashamed? Get over the rejection and keep going!




Twist Job Search Rejection into Opportunity

You hang up the phone in disbelief.  You didn’t get the job.  You feel like someone hit you in the stomach.  This was the perfect job.  You’re screaming, “I’m so angry!  I can’t stand this.”  How will you overcome this travesty?  Devastation reigns in the moment!  You plummet into the abyss of job search rejection.

I could tell you to “get over it,” but let’s twist the situation into opportunity.

man screaming into phone

He didn’t get the job!


What did you learn in the process?  Call the recruiter.  Likely, you won’t hear any meaningful feedback but you might as well ask.  Granted, the recruiter may not answer, but if you can entice the recruiter into a conversation, you can also ask if there are other positions  which could fit.   If you reach the recruiter, do not be belligerent.  Be inquisitive, not angry.  Recruiters document, especially about the angry candidates.

Thank you

Be sure to send a thank you note, whether you reach the recruiter for feedback or not.  Everyone likes to be thanked.  I don’t care if the thank you note is hand-written or an email, but do it!  If you still want to work for the company, seeing your name again will help the people you met remember you.  Don’t just thank the recruiter, thank the hiring manager. Share that you want to work with their company.  Add why you hope the recruiter should contact you when the position becomes available again.  Be friendly.

Social Network

Have you connected with the team members you met?  If you collected business cards from everyone, you can send each a note through either LinkedIn, Google, Facebook or Twitter.  Facebook is good for forming relationships.  If you become a friend on Facebook you can see what your new friend likes or possibly where he or she eats regularly.  Remember that “like-ability” is often number one in hiring decisions.  Don’t be invasive but make a new friend, not just a business acquaintance.

Again and Again

Do not be fearful to try again with the same company.  Maybe they will tire of you contacting them and realize they need to hire you!  That, of course, can backfire, so you must be careful. I interviewed twice with the same company.  When I saw a third opening, I took a deep breath, shunned my ego’s message and called again.  I got the job!  Looking back, the third job was a better match for all of us.  I was prepared when asked, “Why would this one, rather than the other two, be the right position for you?”

Personal Insight

Use the rejection for personal examination.  What challenges would you have faced?  Did you truly fit the team?  Were you dressed appropriately?  You must realize that you are closer to the yes with each rejection, but it’s difficult.  Set a time limit to feel bad about the rejection, then review your marketing plan. Where have you had the most traction?  Where did you feel the most comfort when interviewing?  What do you really want to do?  Are you on track?  Do you need to revise the target companies on your list as a result of this rejection?

Our system of hiring is often irrational.  Maybe no one ever read your resume.  You didn’t have a chance To limit your pity party, do something nice for yourself and repeat after me: “They were foolish not to hire me.  I am closer to the right job now.”  After you walk, go to the gym or visit to the zoo, it’s time to move forward.  Rejection in job search is part of your future success!