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How to handle a job application rejection?




How to handle a job application rejection?

There is nothing worse than receiving a phone call or an email to inform you that your application for a position has been declined and that you have not moved to the next stage of the recruitment process.

Reviewing, considering and then putting in a job application can be time consuming and can create emotions of excitement and hope in regards to getting that role, which could be your dream role and company.

No matter what stage of the process, be it the first communication from the hiring manager/recruiter via email to inform you that you have not been successful, right through to the final stages of the process and informed by a call, how you deal with the rejection can be as important as having a strong resume and cover letter.

What people can forget, normally, your application is tracked each step of the way, each and every communication that you have; phone, email or in a face to face interview is recorded in your candidate file in the recruitment software. Leaving a lasting and professional impression each step of the process is critical.

With any rejection, emotions, understandably can bubble to the surface – for some, a quick hit of the reply button on email could have long lasting impacts on any future applications with the company.


  • If you receive a rejection email, don’t reply immediately. File it and come back to it once you have had time to think.
  • Only reply to an email rejection once you feel in a more positive frame of mind and know that any reply you put forward will be a one that is professional.
  • Remember: a recruiter/hiring managers time is just as important as yours. They could have spend two to three weeks working through the process including reviewing and informing you about your application.
  • As emails are often recorded in recruitment software, you could consider sending a “thank you” email for taking the time to consider your application and wish them well with the search and filling the role.
  • With an email rejection, you could consider asking “is there anything I could do, or gain experience in/with that could improve my chances of gaining employment with the company in the future?”.

Remember!

Your emails interactions could be logged against your candidate file. When you apply for future roles in the company, even if its much further down the track and with a different department, your communications could be viewed. Keeping it professional and engaging will certainly be a positive for you.

Many recruiters and hiring managers have seen time and time again, applicants react through emotions, stress or because they are unemployed with a quick email that can include highly inappropriate language of even physical harm threats.

No matter what your situation, or circumstances, take a moment, don’t immediately reply. Communicating in such an unprofessional way will simple close off any future opportunities with that business.

Phone Rejections

Normally, phone based rejections are completed when you have undertaken a face to face interview. Usually, you would have built a connection/rapport with the person your dealing with, but it’s important to handle rejection professionally.

Unlike an email rejection where you can take time to consider any reply via email, over the phone you will need to think on your feet.


  • Always have a rejection plan in place: this will ensure that if you do receive such a call, you can quickly deal with it head on.
  • Once again, thank the individual for their time and thank them for giving you the opportunity to demonstrate your skills and experiences.
  • Feedback: Ask for feedback, what did you do well, what did you not do so well, what could you have done differently and what can you can do professionally that would help you in future applications for such roles.
  • Be forward: Ask them if they could consider you the position in the future, should the role become vacant again (if you want to work for the company). Let them know that you are interested in the role in the future and working with the business.
  • Follow up: Think about sending a thank you email. Let them know you appreciate their time and consideration and hopefully in the future you will get to work with the company.

There are other things to consider and that you can do to handle rejections. These will be based on the role, company and where you are in the process.

The most important thing, which is hard, don’t let your emotions take over. Doing so could lead you to react in a way that is not professional.

Dealing with a job application rejection in the right way, could help you further down the line. This is very important when applying through a recruitment agency that recruit for a wide range of roles and companies.

A momentary lapse of emotions and professionalism could cost with with not one company, but many.

 

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