The official blog of Abacus Group — a place to share our knowledge and thoughts on trends in recruiting

July 07, 2016

Move Forward: How to Handle Being Turned Down for a Job

One difficult truth about the job market is that someone will always fail. This can happen from the employer’s point of view with a poor hiring decision, but, more commonly, job-related disappointments are the individual job seeker’s burden. Online career resource Workopolis estimates that fewer than two percent of applicants are offered interviews. Talk about a letdown!

Statistically, you will be rejected by an employer many, many times in your career. Because it’s so easy to become discouraged by turndowns, we’ve prepared four pragmatic approaches to move forward in your job search following an employer’s “Sorry, we’re not interested” note or, worse, silence.

Learn from any possible mistakes.

Reflect on your conversations with the hiring managers. Did they feel comfortable? Were you able to answer questions about your ambition, interest, and goals with confidence—or did you stumble? Consider your dress and appearance for any in-person meetings. Was there room for improvement? Did you ask questions? Review these items in detail and make note of any possible errors. Next time you talk to or meet with an employer, correct your mistakes in action.

Don’t overanalyze; it will drive you crazy!

Ultimately, you may never know the exact reason the employer chose applicant B over applicant C and you. Sometimes two or three candidates are so equally technically and culturally qualified but, under pressure to fill the position, the hiring manager makes somewhat of an arbitrary decision. Even as recruiters, we do not always receive a full explanation from the employer, so at a certain point, you need to respect the employer’s confidentiality and autonomy.

Accept that the role was not a match and move on.

This is especially applicable when you do not get very far in the interview process—if at all. Appreciate the fact that the employer did not waste your time or string you along on the trail to a job that would ultimately not be a good fit for your skills and personality and, therefore, your overall career.

Keep the door open for future opportunities or connections.

If remaining in touch with the hiring manager or human resources associate in some capacity—like connecting on LinkedIn—is an option, then go for it. Burning bridges with anyone in your field is a bad idea, so squash your resentment and try to stay in touch. You never know where you might meet the same individuals again or who you might be introduced to by way of the application process.

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