Recently Rejected for Employment?
Turn It To Your Advantage

Have you recently been rejected for employment at a company you just interviewed with? Nobody likes rejection, but it often goes with the territory when you're trying for a new job or promotion. Believe it or not, there may be a (slightly) silver lining. Find out how to make the most of rejection in this guest article by JoAnn Hines...

Rejection. All of us have experienced it at some point in our lives. It never feels good. Call it what you want, but accept the fact that ultimately you lost. You were not selected. I particularly like the synonym "spurned." That really makes you feel great, doesn't it? Got any rocks laying around that you can craw under?

So you have been rejected. Now what? How can you turn this into something positive?

I recently was courted to speak at an upcoming conference. I jumped though all the proverbial hoops and was excited about the opportunity. Then guess what happened? I was uninvited. Yes, my ego was dented. After all, they wanted me. They courted me. Something queered the deal. Was it that they didn't want to pay my fee after they offered me an honorarium? I guess I won't know. I spent about five minutes feeling sorry for myself and trying to determine the perfect plot to get "even." Then I felt better and was back in the real world.

This wasn't the first time I have been uninvited. The secret is that if you are uninvited (rejected, spurned) you need to learn to turn the situation to your advantage. In this case, I decided to write about the experience and turn it into a positive occurrence. I realized my advice could be helpful because we all face rejection at some point. So what should you do if this happens to you?

First, don't MOPE. You can feel sorry for yourself and plot for exactly five minutes. After that, get over it! The spurning probably has nothing to do with you or is something so obscure it's not worth the effort to try and figure it out.

Second, even though you are rejected for employment, see it as an opportunity. If it didn't work out this time maybe it will the next time. Many times when we are rejected, we have a sense of guilt or obligation (especially if you have done a lot preparatory work as I had in this circumstance). Use that energy and emotion to your advantage. Is there other work or different opportunities that you can leverage? Are there other programs where you might be a fit?

In my case, the advance research I did on my topic demonstrated to me that there could be dozens of other conferences that would be interested in hearing me speak. I love the proverb that says when one door closes another will open.

Third, try to establish a bond with the person who has rejected you. If this won't work now, is there another place it will? Can they refer you somewhere else? Will they tell you the real reason you didn't make the cut?

Finally, be prepared to laugh about the rejection and turn it into a funny personal sound byte. It's not the end of the world. If this was your first or only job rejection, you must be really special. You should send the rejecter a funny card. Send something with humor that will make them feel good about the situation. Send them something that will lighten the moment and make them remember you. You have to know that rejection is not comfortable for anyone – even the rejecter. It's important for them to have a good feeling about you after the fact so that they will call you the next time they need someone with your expertise.

What about dealing with rejection when it comes in the form of a big fat "no" to your sales pitch? Before you become disillusioned when door after door is closed, consider the law of averages for a sale. After all, you are selling yourself aren't you? The average sales person completes 20 calls to make one sale. Yikes! That's 20 appointments. Did you know that it takes a minimum of seven repetitions of a message before someone assimilates that piece of information?

There is probably no worse ego crushing rejection (skip the ones in your love life) than the one associated the job search. Rejection for employment seems to be a sucker punch. After all, how many resumes did you have to send out to get that one call back? Consider this before you get all depressed about the job search. It takes, on average, six months to get a new job. Add to that the rule of thumb that for every $10,000 of salary you can add one month to the job search. So prepare to be turned down most of the time. Always remember, however, that rejection can open a door too. Just because they say no now, doesn't mean they mean no forever.

Here are a few ways to nudge that door open a little faster when you have been rejected for employment:

  • Make sure to follow up after you have the interview. Especially if you are told the position went to someone else. My favorite technique is a clever card with a great message. I have created a series of cards for just that purpose. My personal favorite is "I think I bombed the interview" and it has a big bomb on the cover.
  • Continue to keep in touch. The person that got the job may decline it or it might fall though. Continue to send relevant articles, news clippings about the your success, the company or upcoming industry conferences, (especially if you are speaking) with a short note. A word of caution: don't go overboard. You are keeping in touch and soft selling yourself, not bombarding them with information.
  • If something significant happens to you such as an award promotion, etc., make sure to write a press release and send a copy to all the job contacts.
Rejection will happen throughout your life and sometimes it can be disheartening. However, with these simple strategies you can overcome future obstacles and keep rejection at bay.

1) Share your story with others. You are not the only one that has had a "rejection" experience. The more you can talk about it the more it will diffuse the feeling. It can become a funny story or icebreaker when you are in a group of associates. It's akin to my "Big Head Bio" story. After relating the experience of how I was accused of having a big head, I turned the negative into a positive and gained a relationship at the same time.

2) Find someone whose opinion you value and relate the experience to them (don't sugarcoat it). Ask them to critique what went wrong (if something did) or make suggestions of how to handle the situation next time.

3) Work out alternative rejection scenarios in your head. The more you become comfortable with it the less likely it is to take you by surprise should it happen.

4) Put yourself in the rejecter's shoes. Was there something that caused to situation to occur or was it just happenstance? Above all, don't take it personally. It's a business decision that didn't turn out in your favor.

5) Last but not least, get back on that horse. Seek out a better job or a better promotion. There is always another opportunity waiting in the wings.

It's the perfect time to start your campaign against rejection. The holidays allow us to send cards and token gifts without recrimination. Put your creative hat on. Don't just go out and buy a box of holiday cards. Be clever. After thanks giving I scoured the stores for a clever memento. Turkeys are a perfect door opener. I found the perfect item-honeycomb turkey place cards at 50% off. I can't imagine what I am going to do with them, but something will come to me. In fact, there are quite a few people I have lost touch with during my recent move. I’ve got it! I am a turkey for not staying in touch. The place cards are fat with a place for a personal message. When they arrive in the envelopes (orange of course) I know the recipients will open them to see what's inside. This is an inexpensive yet creative way to say REMEMBER ME and forget about the REJECTED ME!

When I started my career on the packaging industry I was just a lowly underling with no possibility for advancement. I tried all the "company touted" ways to advance my career to no avail. I was frustrated, disappointed and disenchanted about why no opportunities came my way. I was an excellent worker, on time honest and a top performer so why couldn't the "powers that be" recognize that fact?

It was because I don't understand how to package myself. I didn't know that hard work and good performance DOES NOT equate to career advancement. YES, that's right a good performance does not mean that you will get promoted or a raise.

Visibility is the key: who you know and who knows you is the magic door opener.And only you can make that happen. How much personal marketing have you done? I bet its not much. Its a methodical process that requires a commitment each and every week. And we all know how time crunched you are. But what if you have most of the work done for you and marketing yourself was as simple as filling in the blank.

To find out more email JoAnn at

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Additional Job Interview Q&A Info

For even more information about job interview questions and how to answer them, consider the "Job Interview Success System."

One of the 5 key components of this system is a 31-page report entitled "How to Give Job-Winning Answers to Interview Questions." In addition to giving more tips and strategies on general answering techniques, it lists 45 of the easiest, toughest, silliest and most common job interview questions as well as how to respond to them.

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