When you’re interested in a new position, you really hope that you are the person who receives the offer of employment. Of course you do. After all, you’ve invested a certain amount of time and energy into the process and you’d like to be rewarded for that investment.
Sadly, that does not always happen.
Yes, sometimes you interview for a position and you do not get the job. However, how you react to not getting the job is just as important as how you acted during the hiring process.
First, though, let’s look at this from strictly a numbers perspective. Depending upon the position and the circumstances involved, you could be competing against as many as 50 other candidates. Of those 50, maybe 10 make the first cut. Then five of those become finalists, and then only one will receive an offer of employment.
That’s a 1-in-50 chance of getting the job. Keeping those odds in mind, you would have to be a truly exceptional candidate to receive an offer every single time you apply for a job. We’re not saying that it can’t happen. It can. However, it’s the exception and certainly not the rule.
Bottom line: you’re going to get rejected at some point in your career. It’s inevitable. So how do you handle it correctly?
There are two main ways to do so. First, don’t take the perceived rejection personally. We say “perceived” because it’s not a rejection of you as a person. It was more about another candidate being better than you being worse. The fact you didn’t get the job is not a personal indictment of your worth as a human being, so try not to view it that way.
Second, don’t do anything that could potentially hurt you and your career in the future.
Sure, you might be hurt. Yes, you may be angry. However, don’t allow your emotions to rule your actions. It is absolutely not worth it. You could feel better in the short term, but it could hurt you down the road.
Miffed candidates have been known to make angry phone calls. Some have written scathing emails. Others have made their displeasure known on social media. All of these tactics can backfire. So do NOT engage in them.
Instead, react in a gracious manner when you discover that you did not get the job. Keep in mind that the hiring manager may not let you know that you didn’t get the job. If you’re working with a recruiter, though, your recruiter will inform you.
If you’re not working with a recruiter and you haven’t heard from the company, it’s acceptable to inquire about the position after a period of time has elapsed. In such a situation, the hiring manager may very well inform you that the organization decided to “go in a different direction.”
If that’s the case, thank the hiring manager for their time and for the chance to pursue an opportunity with the company. You might even be able to solicit feedback, asking them what you could do better to enhance your candidacy for future opportunities.
If you approach the situation correctly, then you could receive feedback that could help you eventually land the great job you’re seeking.