Job hunting is like a roller coaster. You have to complete a series of ups, downs, loops, and corkscrews before you’re done with the ride. Your highest moments might be meeting a great contact at a networking event or being asked to interview for a position. The lowest times are probably when you are rejected for a position that you wanted. So how do you handle rejection in your job search? Gracefully? Begrudgingly? Bitterly? Even though you might not want to, it’s important to respond positively and professionally to rejection. You never know, it might even help you to land the job after all.
I fell in love with one of the places I applied to. The company was in an industry in which I wanted to work, the job description lined up with what I wanted to do, and employees had given the company positive reviews online. I submitted an application and was eventually called in for an interview. After two interviews, my positive impressions of the company were confirmed and I knew that I wanted to work there. I loved it. I wanted it.
I was called about one week after I had my second interview and informed that I would not be receiving the position. My application would be put on hold in the event that a position opens in the future. From application to my final interview I had waited two months for this call. It wasn’t what I was expecting to hear. Rejection in the job hunt hurts. You invest a lot of time and energy trying to get a position for which you know you are a well-qualified candidate. Yet you essentially lose to someone else. Yuck.
Even though I was disappointed, I called the human resources manager, asked her some questions about what being “on hold” meant, reiterated my interest in working for the company, and thanked her for her time. I thought it was a closed door at that point and decided to move on in my search. About one week later I received a call from the same company offering me a job.
Had I cut off correspondence or responded negatively, I doubt I would have been given a second thought when the position was re-opened. I believe my decision to react to rejection positively and maintain my goodwill with the company helped me to get the job in the end.
I encourage any job seeker to respond to rejection in a positive and professional manner. It can be as simple as writing a short letter in which you thank the company for the opportunity to interview and reiterate your interest in working for the company. By doing this you are demonstrating professionalism and keeping the door open for future opportunities. Furthermore, I think it’s emotionally healthy. Having your final correspondence with a company be positive helps you to move forward with a positive attitude.