August 23, 2013

Turning Job Rejection into Opportunity

U turn road sign, against panoramic blue sky.  Time to change direction.Sometimes it seems that the whole point of a job search is to score the coveted interview. It is a common misconception that once you perform well at the interviewing stage you are a shoe in for the job. But this is far from always the case. You could be just one on a long list of qualified candidates, and one of them could sell themselves in just the right way to earn the job offer. So what do you do when you hear that someone was chosen over you? You could get angry, depressed, or discouraged, but why not take the opportunity to possibly get your foot in the door for other positions at the company and gain some insight about how employers see you as a candidate?

After the initial emotions have died down a bit, take some time to step back from the situation to assess your particular skill set and the job in more detail. Double check that your qualifications and those required for the job were a precise match. Think about your interview performance. Can you think of any questions that stumped you or tripped you up? Were there aspects of your education or job experience that you should have mentioned but didn’t? While reliving a fresh rejection experience is never pleasant, what you can learn from the memory can help you become a better self-promoter and overall candidate. Once you determine your interviewing short comings you can apply your new knowledge to future interviews.

Now that you have been officially declined employment, it is time to reach back out to the employer even if you are still feeling bitter about the experience. Wait a couple of weeks then send a follow-up email to your interviewer(s) thanking them for the opportunity and requesting to be considered for future job openings. This lets the employer know that you are still interested in the company and don’t harbor any negative feelings for being overlooked (even if you do). Keep the email open by using phrases that subtly fish for feedback. This can include a phrase such as, “Please inform me of any questions or concerns that may have arisen regarding my candidacy.”

Although it is not likely that an interviewer will divulge the complete details as to why you were not selected for the job, recruiters typically do. If a recruiter was involved in initiating your candidacy, reach out to him or her for the specifics of your rejection. What you learn can help you refine your approach and try to strengthen any perceived weaknesses in your interviewing skills.

Finally, if you have been denied employment at a company that interests you greatly and you feel you would make a great fit among its ranks, commit to remaining in periodic contact with the employer’s HR department or your interviewer. After a few months have passed, shoot an email to check on any positions that may have opened up and keep the company abreast of any new skills you have gained since your candidacy. Keeping in contact keeps your name fresh in the minds of the right people, lets the company know that you are truly interested in a long-term position, and demonstrates your desire to continually improve your value as a candidate and an employee.


Read more in Unemployment

Joshua Bjerke, from Savannah, Georgia, focuses on articles involving the labor force, economy, and HR topics including new technology and workplace news. Joshua has a B.A. in Political Science with a Minor in International Studies and is currently pursuing his M.A. in International Security.