After many days and nights spent polishing your resume, searching and applying for jobs, and practicing your interviewing skills, getting rejected can feel genuinely discouraging. However, with fierce competition and many different factors that interviewers consider, it's important not to take things personally. It's also important to learn from your rejections and keep searching for the next best step in your career.
Here are six lessons that will help you become a better job candidate and interviewee.
1. There’s always room for improvement
There are two sides to a coin, even in situations that seem to be nothing but negative, such as a job rejection. It’s necessary to bounce back from it and perceive it from a more positive angle. Every rejection and every negative outcome is an opportunity to learn.
If a company doesn't hire you because you think you made a mistake during an interview, you'll know what not to do in the following interview. A failure is only failure if you don't take anything out of it, and there's a lot to learn from job rejections. So, analyze the entire interview and pinpoint what might have gone wrong. You'll figure out a way to avoid such a scenario again.
Moreover, consider all your skills. Carefully examine them and decide which ones need improving. Also, identify which skills you lack and work on developing them. Doing this will make you a better candidate when the next opportunity arises.
Sometimes, after a rejection, you'll receive feedback. If you don't, feel free to ask for it. It will help you improve yourself for the future.
2. Confidence is essential
Few things, if any, are more attractive than confidence. If you want anyone to believe in your abilities, you must believe in them yourself first. If you exude confidence, employers will trust you can make tough decisions. They'll see that you trust yourself and your instincts.
Never sell yourself short. Read the job description carefully and consider how you fit in. Think of all your experience, knowledge, and skills that make you a great candidate. And don't be afraid to highlight them whenever you get a chance. Be careful, though; you don't want to come across as arrogant. That's not a nice color on anyone.
3. Ask more questions
Doing your homework and researching a company before an interview is essential. Of course, there's no need to go overboard and dig out information that the interviewer might not know. It may seem forced and over-prepared. Find out enough about the company to show your interest and impress the interviewer. You want to learn about the company's history and its values.
Reading about a company will also help you come up with questions you should ask. This is one of the most critical parts of an interview because it’s your chance to impress the interviewer. Naturally, you can always ask some typical questions, such as inquiring about the day-to-day responsibilities for the position you’re applying for and opportunities for advancement and training.
However, know that sometimes interviews will cover these topics earlier during the interview themselves. Thus, it would be great to have a few not-so-common questions prepared. If you don't ask anything, you may seem disinterested or not well-prepared.
4. Weaknesses can be turned into strengths
Interviewers love to ask candidates about their weaknesses. This question is much more challenging to answer than the one about your strengths. Answering this question shows modesty. You’ll demonstrate that you know you have a weakness. However, that's also your opportunity to turn a weakness into a strength—a candidate who knows what they can improve and how is a valuable asset to a company.
5. Always have a backup plan
Your job interview might have gone excellently. You could see that the interviewers were happy and you had a good feeling about it. Even so, don't put all your hopes into that one interview, no matter how well you think it went. Always have a backup plan. Don't wait for weeks after a job interview to get a response. Use that time to work on your skills.
Also, whenever you see an interesting job opening, apply for it. After all, the more job applications you submit, the better the chances of getting hired. Explore all your options; look at other cities. If New York City is a place that you’ve always wanted to move to, why not apply to some positions there. There are many places in NYC for job seekers and so many great options to consider. You have nothing to lose, only to gain.
Moreover, the more interviews you attend, the more experience you’ll gain. It will boost your confidence, and you’ll learn what works and what doesn't. Ultimately, you’ll learn how to sell yourself better.
6. Although it might not feel like it, a rejection can be a blessing
A rejection is not necessarily a negative outcome of a job interview. Sometimes, it can be a blessing in disguise. If an interviewer decided you were not a good fit for the company because of your personality or experience, it could be a good thing. They might have saved you from an unpleasant work environment or a position where you would have difficulty fitting in. Employers don't want unhappy employees. No good can come from that. Had you been hired, chances are you would be looking for a new job soon anyway.
Alice Monroe is an English language teacher and a freelance writer. She loves writing articles on topics that will help graduates prepare for the world of work and get their first jobs. In her free time, Alice enjoys reading and listening to music.