I have completed my fourth round of interviews with a panel of five interviewers for a $55,000 a year job as a financial analyst with a leading institution. The process included a 45 minute pre-screening interview on the phone followed by three face-to-face interviews with the team and managers.
I called the HR manager to follow-up this morning and I am devastated. I was turned down. I was shocked, and needless to say, I am feeling completely rejected and would like to give up the job search completely.
How do I handle the pain of rejection?
Signed: Painfully Rejected (PR)
Being turned down for a job after spending so much time, effort and hope is quite a painful experience. I cannot imagine how you must feel, but I do know that you deserve much praise and recognition for your motivation and commitment to your job search. I know that you are close to the finish line with a suitable job offer. Do not give up just yet. Some of the most celebrated success stories have happened because of rejection. According to her Wikipedia page, J.K. Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, was rejected by 12 publishers before becoming successful. It seems that handling rejection with its slew of negative emotions is the only solution that you have right now; perhaps it is time to turn this experience into an opportunity to learn and grow, so you are ready to seize the next job opportunity with the same gumption and motivation.
According to Lisa Evans in Canadian Immigrant, here are some tips as to how to handle the pain of rejection:
Find a support system. Do not look for work alone. Don’t be afraid of sharing your experiences, as painful as they may be, with professionals and friends or agencies like JVS Toronto. Try to join social groups or attend courses related to your field or even volunteer, to ensure that you have a balance with your job search life and your personal life. Sector-specific associations and Toastmasters are great places to meet people and learn presentation and public speaking skills. If you can find a job search partner, use them to get some feedback on your job search, share your concerns and frustrations, as well as practice interview skills.
Make a plan. Setting simple, achievable goals and preparing a plan regarding your job search is always a great tool in overcoming the negative feelings of rejection. A plan can help you keeps you motivated, focused, engaged and hopeful — all critical aspects for a successful job search. For example, one goal could be joining a LinkedIn group and posting three weekly comments; another goal could be to attend a networking event, or send out four resumes. Checking of the accomplishments at the end of each day can help you with developing a positive attitude.
Ask for feedback. The interviewers might be open and provide you with feedback (although I would not count on this). For serious and honest feedback that could determine the success of your work search, I encourage you to meet with an Employment Counsellor, Job Developer and/or mentor to receive this information. If you insist on asking the interviewer for feedback, ask specific questions like “Is there anything I could have done better on the interview to be closer to being hired?” (don’t forget to thank the hiring manager for their time and help!). Following up on interviews can be an open door, but it can also be an obstacle as it depends on the type and personality of the hiring managers. Be professional and confident, though I would not follow-up more than once.
Practice your interview presentation on the phone and in person. If you get constructive feedback from the hiring manager or employment support staff, chances are that applying this new information and suggestions to your presentation can enhance your interview skills. Either way, practice does often make perfect; I recommend that while you are looking for work, practice with as many people as possible, including the Employment Counsellor, Job Developer and/or mentor. This is a great opportunity to check out your body language, words, voice tone and all of your non-verbal and verbal communication.
Research the company’s culture. Before going on an interview, check out the company on LinkedIn. Follow the company and research the profiles of different employees. Also, check out the company on Twitter and Facebook. You can get a sense of the types of staff they have, including their skills, education and experience. Perhaps you can identify a pattern in their hiring processes through this. Do what you can to learn as much as possible about the company that is about to interview you.
Best of luck, PR. Remember that rejection happens to everyone at some time. It’s an opportunity to learn, grow and be even more ready for the next interview, which could lead to the job offer you are waiting for.