Whether you’re a student looking for your first job or you’re an experienced professional, job-searching can be a disheartening process. Rejection letters can be difficult to deal with, and can quickly lead even the most confident of applicants into a spiral of self-doubt and defeatism.

5 Tips to Handle Rejection After a Job Interview

This is especially true when getting rejected from an interview, a point where many candidates have already invested significant time and effort into applying and preparing. However, rejections are an inevitable part of the job search process, which means that learning how to handle them is crucial to ensure you succeed in landing your next job. Let’s explore some of the top ways to remain positive after being rejected after an interview.


Accept your emotions

When dealing with rejection, the first step is to accept that any negative emotions you might be feeling are completely normal. Rather than denying these feelings and risk prolonging them, it’s better to let yourself briefly feel them before moving on.

If necessary, don’t be afraid to take a day of self-care and distraction before returning to your job search, do something you love and pamper yourself before refocusing on applying. Just make sure you keep this pause short, and you don’t begin to wallow or mope around. Letting yourself feel bad for too long can lead you to victimise yourself, which can severely put off recruiters.

Review the feedback

Usually, companies will provide feedback for you after being rejected, especially if you had already reached the interview stage. And if you haven’t received any feedback yet, don’t be hesitant to directly ask for some from your interviewer or the hiring manager or chat live with them.

Once you’ve collected these comments, make sure you review them in an objective manner. Be honest to yourself so that you can use the feedback to maximise your chances of landing your dream job. Whether or not this means using a professional CV template to improve your application package or refining your interview etiquette, honest introspection is key to moving forward with your job search.

Avoid worrying and overthinking

While accepting your emotions and reviewing your performance is key to staying mentally strong when facing rejection, overanalyzing and dwelling on the past can greatly hamper your performance. While a sensible amount of reflection is helpful, over-thinking every single moment of an application process trying to identify what mistakes you made can be a waste of valuable time and energy which could be spent applying for new positions.

A great way to illustrate this is through a quote by the famous Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu; “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”. By staying in the moment and focusing your efforts on the job at hand, you’ll be able to complete each application to the best of your ability and increase your chances of success.

Don’t just have Plan A, have plans B and C too

We’ve all been there. You’ve been scrolling for hours through job postings, and suddenly what seems like the perfect position catches your eye. You have the necessary skills and experience, and the advert was just recently posted. You apply, quickly get invited to an interview, and fly through it with confidence and security that you’ll get the job. Then, you open your mail to a rejection letter which takes you completely by surprise.

The truth is, that no matter how sure you might be of getting a particular job, there’s a myriad of reasons why you might get rejected, many of which are out of your control. Rejections are not always a direct cause of your ability or personal profile. In fact, more often than not they are simply due to the fact that there are hundreds of other applicants applying for the exact same role, and luck is often a factor.

When this happens, it’s important to not give up on the job search and lose motivation. Continue actively seeking employment, and open yourself to look for other positions you hadn’t previously considered.

Recite your strengths

Handling rejection is about more than just dealing with negative feelings. Each job you don’t get is an opportunity to improve your future job prospects. However, successfully turning job rejections into personal gain can be easier said than done. It goes beyond reviewing feedback and optimising your approach.

By undergoing positive self-assessment and itemising your main strengths, you’ll be able to widen your horizons on the kind of positions you might be qualified for. Reviewing your main capabilities can help you find ways to more effectively market yourself to prospective employers. Rejections letters are your opportunity to aim higher and further, to motivate yourself and to remind yourself of your abilities and potential.

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