How to handle rejection

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Monday, May 09, 2022

Getting rejected from a job you’ve applied for can be discouraging. The average adult knows that rejection is a part of life, including the employment journey. Yet not everyone knows how to effectively leverage the experience of rejection to boost their employment chances during future job application processes.

Fortunately, there are several strategies that job seekers can use to strengthen their professional appeal and candidacy.

Ask for detailed feedback

This step is crucial for being on the top of your game for future job application processes. A recruiter’s feedback often contains valuable information that you otherwise would not be aware of. You may have blind spots you’re not aware of, whether they’re on paper, in person or a mixture.

After every rejection, make it a point to be proactive and politely call or email the recruiter to ask if they would like to offer any feedback about your application process particularly if it included an interview. Ask them for any tips to help you improve for future applications.

The purpose of soliciting this feedback is to gather information only—it’s not to get the recruiter to change their hiring decision!

Make improvements based on the feedback

Passively vowing to do better without a clear idea of how, will only lead to making the same mistakes again.

The key is to consider your feedback strategically. Place yourself in the prospective employer’s position and consider what particular skills, experience and characteristics would lead you to hire a particular candidate over others. Then use this as a template against which to consider your own experience and how you present it. This may be anything from the font on your resume, to the confidence with which you present your skills, all the way through to the type of shoes considered appropriate to your field of interest!


Practice common interview questions to the point of smooth (yet not robotic!) delivery. If you’re unsure where to start, Plus One has an extensive list of common interview questions and invaluable tips on how to answer each one.

It’s just as important to practice answering questions that caught you off-guard or that you found particularly challenging in previous processes. Anticipate other approaches the next interviewer may take, and visualise yourself answering in ways that effectively showcase your skills, talents, knowledge and experience.

Have your partner, friends, or family members play the role of interviewer and subsequently offer you feedback. In your own time, you can practice in front of a mirror, record yourself on your mobile phone to see what others see, or even hire a professional career coach.

Keep looking for a new job

It’s normal and may even be beneficial to take some time off to reassess your situation and rebuild your confidence following a rejection. When you’re ready to bounce back, do so with the knowledge that you now have an advantage over other candidates thanks to your process of reflection.

You’re not alone in your job search; Plus One can help kickstart (or restart!) your career, by connecting you with companies and employers who may prove to be the perfect match for your skills, experience, and talents. Register with us today to find out more!