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Handle Job Rejection with Grace

When applying and interviewing for jobs there is that dreaded period after submitting your resume, or after an interview, when you are waiting for a response. While that waiting period is well worth it if you are offered the role, if you are passed on there is no doubt, it hurts. So how do you handle that news in a way that reflects well on you and sets you up for future success? Here are some suggestions…

Gratitude not attitude
When you get the news that you were passed on, respond back in a measured and grateful way. If that means you reflect on the response for a couple of hours or even a day before pressing send that’s better than answering right away with a half thought out response. Start by first thanking them for letting you know their decision and for considering you for the role. Be gracious with your response and don’t burn any bridges. You never know, just because that particular role wasn’t a fit doesn’t mean that there might not be other opportunities at that company in the future that you may be considered for. If you leave things on a positive note you’ll leave the company with a positive impression of you so they will be more likely to think of you if and when those other roles arise.

Learn from it
If the opportunity allows for it, you can even ask for some feedback on why they decided to pass. Perhaps it was that you didn’t have the qualifications they were looking for, or weren’t the right cultural fit. Whatever the reason, the feedback will go a long way in helping you overall in your career. Know however that not everyone is willing or able to disclose this information. It may be that they don’t feel comfortable sharing this with you or it may be against their company policy. Even if you aren’t able to get feedback, asking for this shows them you are interested in improving and growing and will reflect well upon you.

Change your perspective
Look at it as an experience and a step to take you to where you want to be. You got to see what’s out there and have practice interviewing which will set you up better for your next interview. It’s likely their choice didn’t have anything do you with you personally and may have been based on factors you had zero control over. Learn from the experience and think about what you would do differently the next time. In addition to reflecting on that, also give yourself credit for what you did do right and focus on continue learning and growing.

If you are working with a recruiter during the interview process, it’s worth discussing the three points above with them. They may be able to talk to the client and get more information which they can share with you to help you grow. They will also work with you on overcoming the challenges you faced so you can position yourself better for your next interview.

Handle Job Rejection with Grace

Work White Out

Remember White Out? It’s not as prevalent today, but it was a staple for covering up mistakes back when things had to be typed out. Well, there’s no real White Out for work mistakes. In fact, we all make mistakes at work – however it’s what you do after a mistake, intentional or not, that can set you up for long term success. Whether you’re a new employee or a seasoned manager, here are some tips to bounce back the next time it happens.

Be Honest with Yourself and OTHERS!
Don’t sugar coat the situation but try to view it objectively and keep things in perspective. One of the quickest ways to earn respect with your co-workers and subordinates is to take accountability and admit mistakes. Conversely, you can lose credibility in an instant if you try to shift blame or cover up mistakes. Eventually the truth will typically come out and being accountable and honest in the beginning goes a long-ways toward building the right professional reputation.

Take Control of the Situation
If the situation involves others speak with them about the mistake quickly, acknowledge the mishap and apologize for what happened. A quick explanation of what went wrong, owning up to your mistake and letting them know you are correcting it will typically defuse situations. People don’t need to hear your excuse or justification; they usually just need to hear that you’re taking control of the situation. Most mistakes at work can be resolved or corrected relatively quickly so the sooner you can get out of panic mode and into solution mode, the faster you can remedy the situation.

Be a problem resolver
The final step is to look back on the situation and learn from it to try and ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Leon Brown said “Mistakes are the stepping stones to wisdom. We learn from trial and error; we become wise by understanding problems.” Were you moving throughout your day too fast and made a simple mistake, did you overbook your schedule and miss an important meeting? Whatever the situation was, evaluate the root cause and determine if there is a way to implement a check and balance to allow you or others to avoid the same mistake in the future. I’m pretty sure the world’s first alarm clock didn’t have a snooze function on it, but after a costly mistake or two somebody implemented a way to overcome our tendency to roll over and turn the alarm off without a plan b! Who knows, maybe your mistake will lead you to be the inventor of the world’s greatest process improvement function!

Work White Out