Rejection stings, especially when you’re sure you’d sailed through the interview process. When you read that polite note informing you that you’re not the one, the path of least resistance may involve bitter invective, and a gallon of Cherry Garcia (or a six-pack). But there are better ways to channel that disappointment and move forward.
Vent Hard, Be Brief
You have permission to feel lousy. Let your frustrations out privately to a few people you trust. Whatever you do, steer clear of grousing on any social network. Avoid sitting in the ashes by giving yourself a time limit—a couple days at most, certainly not weeks.
Evaluate and Reflect
Debbie Robins, M.A., founder and principal of Debbie Robins Consulting in New York and Los Angeles, notes that people who are sure they nailed the interview are usually aware enough to know they were “strong, centered and clear,” so not allowing yourself to be knocked down is critical.
Take stock of the entire process, beginning with your introduction to the company. Think about your overall presentation and how you answered and asked questions. Ask yourself if you were adequately prepared and if you had done enough research prior to walking in the door. Don’t spend too much time dwelling on the tiny details and avoid obsessive rehashing.
“Self-evaluation is the name of the game during this tender time of looking for work,” Robins said. “You have no control over whether someone hires you or not. Nor can you ever know what all the requirements are that an employer is looking for behind the hiring door.”
Send a Thank You/Feedback Note
If you did things the right way, you immediately sent a thank-you note after the interview. Now send another one—you never want to burn a bridge. Thank the interviewer again for his or her time and the opportunity to come in and meet with everyone. Once more, express your keen interest in the company, but also ask if there was anything you could have done differently that may have changed the outcome.
If you picked up on a couple irregular beats while you were self-evaluating your performance, make the necessary changes for your next time out. If you’ve received feedback from the hiring manager who didn’t hire you, incorporate any relevant suggestions into your search and résumé.
‘No’ Is Not Always the End
If you have good feelings about the company, it’s in your best interest to include them in your network. Contact your interviewer every few months. There are several possible scenarios that could play out: You never know if the person they hired in your stead will work out, or they may have a better fit for you down the road. (At the very least, they may know of another position at another company and become a referral.)
Robins stressed that you should quickly move on to the next opportunity. “In my opinion, training and experience,” she continued, “every meeting is about getting more and more comfortable and confident about who you are and the value you bring, regardless of outcome.”
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