Business

How to deal with job application rejection

  • 17 December 2013
  • From the section Business
man ripping up paper
Rejection can be a chance to hone your approach to job hunting

Technology has made firing off multiple job applications easier - but as well as more opportunities for success, there is also more chance of rejection.

We wanted to know how experts suggest we turn rejection around so that it helps a job search be successful in the long run.

"Don't take rejection personally," says Los Angeles-based business coach Joanna Garzilli.

"Often there are a number of factors at play including timing, circumstances, office politics and budgets. Just because someone says no today doesn't mean it's a no in the future."

And About.com job-search expert Alison Doyle says: "The best way to deal with rejection is to consider why you were rejected, and then move on."

Feedback

But analysing rejection is easier said than done. It may be tempting to follow up a rejection email or letter by asking an employer how they reached their decision, but you won't always get a response.

"Many employers won't disclose any information to applicants they rejected, because they are concerned about legal issues like discrimination," says Ms Doyle.

"That said, it can't hurt to ask, and if you do get feedback, consider how you can use it enhance your chances in the future."

If you can't get feedback, you should spend some time asking yourself what might have gone wrong.

Ms Garzilli says: "Do a self evaluation on what went well, what didn't and why? This will help you to be well prepared for the next job interview."

Re-focus

In the relatively anonymous world of online job searching, where the number of applications and rejections can mount up very quickly, it it easy to lose focus on the ultimate goal.

Ms Doyle says: "Do consider how effective your job search is - or isn't.

"Are you applying for the right jobs? Jobs that are a strong match for your qualifications? If not, you are wasting time because there are so many applicants for each position, only the most qualified candidates will be considered."

Sheri Bennett
Sheri Bennett has applied for more than 200 jobs but won't give up

'Disappointing, disillusioning and discouraging'

Since May, Sheri Bennett, from California, has applied for more than 200 jobs online, but she is still looking for work.

"I have not had many call-backs at all, and a lot of the companies don't even send a courtesy email that you've not been selected," she says.

"Not even an acknowledgment, not even a thank you for applying. Nothing."

The former teacher says it can be very "disappointing" and "disillusioning."

Emotional toll

Ms Bennett, who says she is "discouraged" at times, responds by simply "trying harder."

Dan Sparks, vice-president of sales at Hire Live, which stages career fairs, says: "There are very qualified candidates out there and sometimes it just takes a little time to find that right position. says .

"Don't just talk to one company and say, 'That was it, that's all I need to do, I already got that job.' Keep an open mind, don't be disappointed if they say no or don't be disappointed if they move forward with somebody else."

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Being out of work for a prolonged period takes its toll emotionally. Relationships suffer, and unsuccessful candidates can find themselves on a downwards spiral into depression.

Ms Doyle says: "One way many job seekers have dealt with lethargy or depression is to not focus all their time and energy on job seeking.

"Spending time volunteering, for example, will help you feel better about yourself. It may also help you make valuable contacts who can help your job search."