Talk to any successful business person what has taught them the most about success and nearly all of them will say, ‘failure’. The ability to fail, and fail well, is a prerequisite for success in any aspect of life. It is by trying and failing we begin to truly understand how things work, and begin to learn about ourselves. The key is to learn how to handle rejection and use it as a building block to improve the way we do things and learn what it has to teach us.
Think about it, Steve Jobs was once fired from Apple, Steven Spielberg was rejected three times by the university of Southern California to sturdy Film and Elvis was told after his first performance by his manager, ‘You won’t amount to a thing – go back to driving a truck’. Rejection is a prerequisite to success, but to secure a great job you have to understand that employment rejection is a comment about the hiring process, not about you a person. Whatever happens, do not take rejection personally – you have to get over it.
Recruiters have a limited number of people they can hire for any job and receive many more applicants than they can place. At each stage of the process someone has to be rejected, and more often than not, the recruiter has an extremely difficult choice to make from the applicants before them. A rejection is never an emotional decision, it’s quite simply that the recruiter had someone else apply who matches their criteria more fully – and that may mean six months more experience, a different skill they want to utilize or a personality that fit in their team better. It’s never that there was something ‘wrong’ with you so don’t let the rejection stop you from moving forward.
Use the rejection to move you closer to success. When you receive the rejection:
1: Be bold! You have nothing to lose! Ask the employer why you weren’t hired. Ask for specifics. Explain you want to understand how you can improve and would appreciate feedback. Take that information and use it to modify your next job hunting skills.
2: Set goals. Challenge yourself. Take the feedback and make a plan on how you can improve. Don’t be too zealous on any one comment as you need to be a well-rounded candidate, but set positive goals that you can achieve and then enjoy the feeling of pushing forward to securing your next job.
3: Write everything down. Make a note of the feedback, your goals and your successes. Concentrate on improving and what you can do to make yourself the best candidate at your next interview. Review your progress and remind yourself where you’re going and how you’re succeeding when you need to.
Just bear in mind that a rejection is not the end of the journey – securing a job is. Be positive, look forward and your confidence will grow to a stage where there is no better candidate in the process but you.