If you’ve been job hunting for any length of time, you’ve been turned down for a job. Maybe, it was in the no reply to the resume you uploaded to someone’s applicant tracking system. Maybe, you went on an interview or two or three with a firm and got turned down. Whatever it was, you’ve experienced that feeling of rejection and disappointment that often comes with a job hunt.
Now, in this video, I just want to offer you some simple pointers for how to deal with rejection. And, number one is try not to focus on your excitement and your desire for this job because the statistical probability is you are going to get turned down for more jobs than you’re going to be accepted for them.So get used to the notion that you’re going to get turned down.
Secondly, if you are actually turned down, I would like you to ask the employer or the recruiter what it was that caused you to get turned down or rejected. Now, if it’s an applicant tracking, yeah, I hate tracking systems. They are . . . I use a very simple one so that I’m able to screen everything but most applicant tracking systems like Taleo, for example, the one that’s used by more corporations than any other . . . Basically, all they are doing is they’re screening resumes for keywords in an automated way with no discernment. So, if your resume isn’t one that uses keywords in a particular sequence, you’re going to get rejected. It’s really that simple and, as a result, no one’s going to see your resume. No one’s going to be able to see that you’ve actually done the role except expressed it differently.
I really detest them but that’s not the purpose of this video. I just want to simply say you’re not going to get a response as to why you got turned down by an applicant tracking system.
If you got turned down on an interview, step number one is to ask the employer or the recruiter why it was that you got turned down. Often, you hear the answer to lights too light in what regard. Just follow up with a question and simply say,”You Know, I’m not here to get into an argument with them. You just want to learn from their observations and apply it to future situations.” Often, an employer isn’t going to tell you. often, a recruiter isn’t going to tell you; at least ask the question. Why they won’t tell you? These are litigious times and, as a result, if they turn around and say., “your oral communications were horrible. You know, you you were featherweight in this line of work.” They’re just afraid of getting sued. So, don’t expect an answer from them. However, what you can expect to do is to take some time in self-reflection., what could you have done better? How could you’ve delivered your interview even better than the way you did?
I’m not saying you did a bad job. Often, the reason you’re not taken is that someone with more experience comes in and as willing to work for the same amount of money or someone with more equal experiences wants to work for less. It’s often that simple. But if there are things that you can learn, ask and, if they’re not willing to share them you’ve got to spend some time learning from this.
Now, here’s the most important thing that I can tell you. Just because you failed on this interview doesn’t make you into a failure. And, as a result, you need to get right back on the horse and get back out there and start networking and talking to organizations and working on finding your next job and not just simply going, “oh, woe is me! I feel terrible. I’m so disappointed!” I’m being facetious of course, but so often, people go into this great funk from which it takes days to come out of.
I was talking to someone I coach recently who didn’t return my calls for a few days and then decided to surface and and he told me that he really expect to get a job he was interviewing for. He didn’t so he decided to take a couple days off. Okay, not the way I would suggest. If anything, you go back out there again. You spend some time having focused on what it is you could have done better .If it was in your control or had to do with them. If it was them ,you go, “okay, it wasn’t me,” and move on. If it was you, you figure it out and you change it. It’s that simple.
So, getting turned down for a job doesn’t have to be a death sentence for you. All it is is an opportunity to improve your skills to learn more and work harder on finding your next position.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years.

He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1200 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Connect with me on LinkedIn. Then message me to schedule an initial complimentary session.

JobSearchCoachingHQ.com offers great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.  

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