What Happens When They Say, “No.”

Image by Careerealism.

Our parents had the hardest time of their lives when we learnt how to say, “NO!”. We said “NO!” to everything; from refusing to eat our greens to not wanting to do our homework.

As children, we thought it was funny to say, “NO!”.

However, as we got older, that word itself was thrown back at us and we were forced to re-evaluate how this word changed our lives. When your girlfriend said, “NO!” when you proposed, how did you feel? When your parents said, “NO!” when you wanted to go for a road trip with your friends, what did you do? When the company you applied to for what you thought was your perfect job, and they said, “NO!”… Did it feel like it was the end of the world?

Rejection is Unpleasant

Being rejected after a job interview (for some of us, having gone through three interviews only to be told that we’re no longer needed) can do severe damage to your self confidence. Nobody likes being turned down, whether it was for a job offer or a marriage proposal. It’s human nature to feel as unwanted because we’re useless. The aftermath of rejection is the same for everyone, but how we suffer it and deal with it is different.Some of us dwell on it forever, but here’s the thing: We shouldn’t. We can allow ourselves to wallow in it, and go through the motions.

I’m not saying that rejection is something we should enjoy but if you think about it, perhaps there is a silver lining in the rejection after all! Rejection can teach us a thing or two and we can use it to our advantage! In this case, we can use rejection to build on our core strengths, address development points, and ultimately find a job that suits us best.

Allow yourself to go through the motions and feel it. Don’t hold back. Cutting your emotions off cold turkey might have negative results as you’d only bottle your feelings up and one day, you will explode at the slightest offense. Allow yourself to wallow in it before picking yourself up and moving on. Being rejected isn’t always bad. It could be a way to tell you that whatever it was, wasn’t right for you, and that there will always be a better opportunity waiting for you. We can never know, so it is a risk that you’ll have to take.

How do you deal with rejection anyway?

Here’s what I found after doing some “geographical digging” on Google:

The Stages of Grief

You’ve done your best, you’ve outshone the other candidates, and you’ve impressed your interviewers. At least, that’s what you thought. So how did you lose the opportunity for a potential job offer? Tragic. Yes. Conspiracy! No. It’s not. Yes, you might feel as though your dreams have shattered. But don’t ignore the feelings of rejection. Embrace them. Go through the stages of grief; the denial, the anger, the depression, and the acceptance. Drown yourself in wine if it makes you feel better (though, the last thing you need is a hangover if your dream job called you up the very next day!).


While having that last interview with the overly fussy and manic-OCD business director, did you notice anything else besides how hard you were trying to impress him (or her)? If you thought it was a thoroughly cringe-worthy interview and had to hold yourself back from correcting the director’s mispronunciation of your name (who wants to work for a boss who can’t even say your name anyway?), then you might want to reconsider the reasons for his or her rejection. Perhaps it was better that you didn’t get the job. It would be good to find out that the job wasn’t the right fit if during the interview itself, you had trouble connecting or communicating with the business director.

Ask for Feedback

Never assume that you have all the answers. It is fine to ask for feedback. If you couldn’t get some from your prospective employer, then look for the best people to ask for feedback. It could be someone from your previous company. Or you could ask your friends, family or relatives who are or were in the management line and might know what it takes for you to excel. After all, what’s the worst that could happen? At most, you will get some constructive criticism that you can take on board, address, and improve on for the future. At worst, you could be told that the blouse you wore that day had such a low neckline that interviewers found it too distracting to focus during the entire interview.

Get Up and Move on

Whatever you do, don’t stop now. Keep calm and carry on searching for other jobs! There are always plenty more fish in the sea, and if you don’t reel in one now, there is always an opportunity for you to reel in something else (and probably something better too!). Spend time throwing your cast out to sea, and widen your search so it is easier to find one that will really suit your skills. Try to find a company that shares your values and goals will be much easier to convince to hire you. Make sure their culture bodes well with you too. You wouldn’t want to find yourself with colleagues who think that blasting the stereo out loud is the best way to concentrate. Find a role that matches your experience, strengths, and offers development to target areas you could improve on. It will be out there, even if it’s hiding somewhere you might not expect.

Don’t Stop Applying

Applying for jobs has never been easy. If any, it is a ridiculously laborious process, but you can’t deny that it helps to get you back into the jobs market. Don’t be  too picky. You do want and need a job, after all. Don’t send out blanket applications either. Don’t apply for the sake of applying. Apply because you feel that it will work for you. Or else you will find yourself rejecting the invitations for interviews because you suddenly felt the location is too far, or the job scope sounds unreasonable. Do your share of networking as well – even if it is over LinkedIn – so that people will recognize the name on your CV.

Intern or Do Freelance

For fresh graduates, applying for a job is a challenge as you don’t actually have any work experience to show. But don’t let it stop you. If you’re just starting out, think of getting some experience in your field by applying as an intern or do some freelance work with a company that will help you in future. These will help to improve your employability and confirm that you are applying for the right jobs. During this time, you may even discover that you don’t like your chosen company or field. Do take note, however, that some internships are unpaid, but you shouldn’t let that get you down. Unpaid internships are just as good as the paid ones — they provide the experience that you need, which is worth the boost to your CV and the reassurance that you’re following your dream.

Alternatively, you could hunker down and get round to doing a short course or a professional certificate that would prop you up in the employment market. Show your potential employers that while you didn’t already have a job, but you took the initiative to boost your marketability by doing a paper qualification that will enhance your knowledge in your preferred field or industry. And no, it doesn’t have to be a degree (unless you didn’t have one).

Rejection is a Part of Life

Yes, accepting a rejection is not easy. And you have to accept the fact that you don’t always get what you want. But learning to come to grips with this fact and learning to accept rejection as part of the process will help build your mental and emotional armour.

Do yourself a favour and go into the jobs application market with an open mind. Attend each interview with the possibility that may not get the job, but you will learn something. If you get the job, good for you. If you don’t, then smile and thank the interviewer for his or her time. Whatever you do, don’t fight back and insist that you are the only one for the role. That will leave a bitter taste in the interviewer’s mouth and might even result in you being blacklisted.

Quit Overanalyzing

What’s done is done. There’s no use crying over spilled milk.

Don’t drive yourself crazy by replaying the scene over and over again in your head, and trying to find out why you were rejected. Stewing in your own disappointment will leave you stuck in the past and render you useless in the present at the exact time when you need to rally and pick yourself up, and charge forward to snag a dream job.

If it makes you feel better about wanting to know what went wrong, you could try following up with the hiring manager or the person you had an interview with. Ask him or her how you can improve for the future. It will feel awkward, though, but sending a simple email and asking how you can improve is quite common. Recognize your strengths. Tune in to your ability to succeed in the face of challenge.

A job rejection might seem like the end of the world, but it is really an opportunity to learn more about yourself and the job search process and improve for the future.

Sources: | The Muse | The Guardian Jobs | Careerealism |

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