Rejection Trajectory: The Dos and Don’ts of How to Handle It

ShreelParikh.BusinessDoDontHow many of you have ever felt personally victimized by recruiters (you thought we were going to say Regina George there didn’t you)?  But seriously, nothing stings more than a rejection email (or phone call) after an interview you genuinely thought had gone well. So what gives?

Well, before you do anything rash, be sure to read over these dos and don’ts of how to gracefully handle a rejection. If you’re among the fortunate few who don’t need this advice, lucky you. We hope you have an awesome time soaking up all the awesomeness in your awesome employment.

Do: Send a response

As bitter and dejected as you might feel, you should send a reply (whether it be via email, phone, whatever). When it comes to professional connections, you definitely don’t want to burn any bridges. It doesn’t need to be anything elaborate – a simple “Thank you for your time,” or “I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you,” will do just fine.

You never know what could happen – another position might become available or the accepted candidate might back out. Plus, if you decide to reapply in the future, you don’t want to be remembered as a sore loser. Last impressions are just as important as firsts.

Don’tBadmouth on social media

You’d think people would have learned this lesson by now, but apparently it’s worth reminding: Don’t rant about your employer (or in this case potential employer) on Twitter, Facebook, your personal blog, etc. Unlike the water cooler, what you say online is permanent and will come back to haunt you one day.

Do: Ask for future advice

Sometimes, employers might provide a brief explanation as to why they chose a different applicant. However, more often all you get is the typical “Thank you for your interest.” In the latter case, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback.

While constructive criticism can be hard to hear, it’s probably the best way to improve your interview skills. You may not have necessarily done anything “wrong,” but if you did make a mistake, how can you be sure you won’t repeat it the next time?

While you might not always get a response, hey, it can’t hurt to ask. However, in the case of automated emails, don’t even bother (obviously).

Don’t: Let it discourage you

Do you know how many times J.K. Rowling was turned away before someone finally agreed to publish the first Harry Potter book? Twelve. Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first job and Steven Spielberg was denied admission to film school not once, but twice. While it’s fine to feel disappointed at first, don’t let one rejection (or two, or three…) completely derail your long-term goals and aspirations.

Do: Learn from it

Wayne Gretzsky said it best: you miss 100 percent of the shots you never take. Failing isn’t doing poorly during an interview – it’s not trying in the first place. So, use each experience as a way to grow in your interview and overall professional skills. Interviews should really be viewed as win-win. If you get the job, congrats, you’re a real person. If not, you still come away more experienced since you’ll have a better idea of the types of questions recruiters ask and how to effectively answer them. It’s also a good opportunity to practice thinking on your feet. So fetch.

So keep on keepin’ on and at the very least, consider each interview a valuable life lesson.

Photo by Shreel Parikh

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