Taking No for an Answer
Though it hurts to say it, into everyone's life a little rejection must fall. Just as a cover letter and resume are a necessary part of the job search process, so is rejection.
With so many job seekers out there and only so many positions to be filled, it is unlikely that you will get every job you apply for. Though any rejection hurts, rejection in the job market is not something that should be taken personally. Don't swear off ABC Company or organize a boycott of XYZ's products just because they chose to pursue another candidate.
Remember, it makes no sense to blame yourself for the rejection. It may well be that you did nothing wrong in your interviews. There are too many variables involved, making it difficult if not impossible to pinpoint why someone else got the job offer and you didn't. But the best way to deal with rejection as it relates to job seeking is to turn it around.
One reason not to sit around waiting for a call is the sad fact that many companies do not bother to call or even e-mail a candidate if they've decided not to hire her. After three or four weeks of e-mailing and phoning without getting an answer, let it go. Dust yourself off and tell yourself there are still plenty of companies out there, and a good offer is bound to come in.
Make Lemonade Out of Lemons
One of the best things about rejection in the job market—as opposed to rejection elsewhere—is that you can turn it around and make it work for you. One way you can do this is by contacting each of the interviewers who rejected you and—again—thanking them for their time.
You also have the opportunity to tell each of these people that though you weren't selected for employment this time around, you would love to be considered for any future positions.
If you feel comfortable enough with the person who interviewed you, you may even want to ask him for help. Ask the interviewer if he has any suggestions about how you might improve your chances of getting hired in the industry. You can even go so far as to ask the interviewers for the names of any people or companies they may know of that are hiring.
Remember, this is not a technique that is appropriate for everyone. First, you must be confident enough that these questions sound professional, and not desperate. You must also have built up a strong enough rapport with an interviewer that he doesn't feel like your questions are bothersome.
If you do, in fact, decide to contact interviewers after they have informed you that they will not be needing your services, there are two important things to keep in mind. First and foremost, don't ever—under any circumstances—ask the interviewer why you weren't hired. In addition to being completely out of line, this is a question that will definitely make the interviewer feel a bit uncomfortable and, most likely, unwilling to help you in your search for employment.
Second, if you do decide to ask for suggestions, make sure that the conversation evolves to this question; in other words, don't make it obvious that you called specifically to ask for a list of contacts. If you engage the interviewer in a friendly (but brief) conversation, he will likely be much more willing to help you.
Often, companies keep resumes in their database files and revisit candidates for future openings. Burning a bridge with the firm is a sure way to make it onto their “ineligible for hire” list.