While rejection is always tough in whatever context, learning how to handle interview rejection will help you become stronger and more energised -- giving you the resilience to succeed.
A lot of effort goes into applying and interviewing for a job, so receiving a "no" at the end of the process can be a real setback.
However, rejection is something we'll all likely experience, and going through it presents us with the opportunity to learn and to grow.
These six tips look at how you can come back from a job rejection wiser, more informed, and raring to go for the next interview.
1) Get the most out of feedback
If the rejection email is brief or formulaic, ask for more detailed feedback from the employer and/or recruiter. Assuming you’re going to apply for similar jobs, this feedback is vital information. It might help you to address certain details in your CV or to prepare more effectively for your next interview.
While it's often our impulse to take things to heart, try not to get offended and strive to use your feedback both objectively and constructively. As the Roman emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius once said, "Choose not to be harmed – and you won't feel harmed. Don't feel harmed – and you haven't been."
2) Refine your search
Sometimes you don’t get the job simply because competition is especially high, but sometimes not getting a job is an indication that you’re not quite aiming at the right area or level. This is nothing to panic about – in fact, it’s a positive thing. Refine your search accordingly and make sure that you apply for roles that match your skills and experience perfectly.
3) Fill your skill gaps
If the roles you want necessitate something you don’t have, see if you can acquire this missing skill or qualification. In some instances, this may mean undertaking training courses or paying for qualifications, but going the extra mile can make a real difference for competitive jobs and your willingness to develop your knowledge will be attractive to employers. You'll also feel more confident in your abilities, so expanding your skill set is a real win-win.
4) Do something fun
The best way of bouncing back from something negative is to immediately do something you enjoy. So, in the immediate aftermath of rejection, socialise with friends or do something you love. Fill yourself with positive energy, which you can then use to renew your job search.
5) Stay positive
It sounds obvious – even cliched – but in interviews, positivity is absolutely essential. If you can’t get over a previous rejection, you might appear a little defensive or negative at your next interview, so take some time to recover and then wipe the slate clean. After all, the only job that matters when you're on the job hunt is the next one.
6) Switch your focus to the next job
We know, getting rejected at the final hurdle of the interview process can feel like a real kick in the teeth – particularly during these testing times.
However, by following the previous five tips and honing in on some inspiration, you'll be able to move forward and feel more motivated than ever in your job search. And with STEM professionals currently in high demand across a range of sectors, it won't be long until you find the role that's right for you.
For support with your job search – whatever stage you’re at – speak to one of our friendly consultants today.
If you're reading this after an unsuccessful interview, banish those post-rejection blues by searching for the latest STEM roles in the job search below.