What you can learn from a job rejection

Finding out you’ve been rejected for a job can be very disheartening, especially if you felt you were a good fit and you’ve progressed through several stages of the recruitment process. It can be tempting to give up the search completely, but it’s important to remember that rejection is a vital part of the job-hunting process and every negative response will eventually bring you closer to your dream job.


Here are some tips for making the most of a rejection:


Don’t take it personally


When you’re smarting from a rebuff, the proliferation of employer review websites like Glassdoor or Indeed can make it tempting to slate that company online and get some revenge. This is rarely a good idea; the legal world is a small one and you never know who you’ll need to work with in the future. Instead, pick yourself up and look at the positives of the experience.


For every vacancy, there are usually hundreds of potential candidates, and a hire depends on so many more factors than simply your ability to do the job. Just making it to the short listing stage means that you’ve already done better than the majority of applicants, so congratulate yourself on that and move on to the next opportunity.


Reassess your position


A rejection is a really good time to consider your job search and possibly revaluate what you are looking for. If you are not entirely sure about a role, an interviewer is likely to pick that up. Is this really the best role for you right now? Would you actually be better off transferring to a new role or sector? What do YOU want from your next move? Don’t be afraid to reject vacancies if you don’t feel they would be right for you.


Get some feedback


If you’ve used a recruiter to apply for a role, they will be able to give you some honest feedback about why you weren’t chosen. If you applied directly, just drop the interviewer a quick email requesting some feedback. Even though it can be painful to hear negative comments on your performance, it’s important, as they may let you know about behaviours or body language that you simply weren’t consciously aware of, as well as giving you useful tips on improving your interview performance.


Sharpen your sales pitch


Once you’ve found out from the interviewer exactly where things went wrong, it’s time to put that knowledge into practice. If you were rejected for not adequately demonstrating your technical knowledge – spend more time rehearsing specific examples from your past experience and think about how those could be adapted for typical interview questions.


Make sure you’re not overselling yourself on your CV and taking credit for other’s work. It can be tempting to make your experience seem broader than it is but an interviewer will discover the truth as soon as they start asking detailed questions.


Be yourself


When you’re asked to an interview, it can be tempting to try and second-guess the employer and present yourself as exactly the person you suspect they are looking for. However, faked personality attributes are never a substitute for the genuine enthusiasm and interest that will come from naturally being a good fit for a role. Even if you did manage to bluff your way into a new job, it’s unlikely you’ll enjoy the experience if it’s not right for you.


No one is expecting you to be the perfect candidate and being candid about your strengths and weaknesses demonstrates self-awareness and gives the employer a better idea of how you would work in a team.


Ask more questions


Don’t forget that interviews are a two-way process, and it’s just as important for the company to sell themselves to you. Use the time before an interview (and your recruitment consultant’s knowledge) to do as much research into the company as possible, then demonstrate that knowledge and interest at interview by asking pertinent questions.


At the end of your next interview, consider asking if they have any concerns about your ability to do the job. This should give you an opportunity to address any doubts about your ability they might have and nip any false impressions in the bud.



Don’t forget that rejection can be a blessing in disguise, saving you from a company where you might have struggled to fit in, and giving you an opportunity to do better in your next interview. If you’d like any more specific advice on how to present yourself at interview or getting the most out of your career, why not get in touch on 0333 370 46 16 or info@zestrc.co.uk