Learning How to Accept Rejection

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If there’s one aspect of business life in which you really don’t need any advice, it’s your ability to accept rejection. Heaven knows, you’ve had plenty of practice.

Apparently, not everyone has achieved your skill level in taking punches to the mid-career. That’s why Yahoo! ® HotJobs® writer, Charles Purdy, penned his recent article, “After the recruiter says no. How to handle job-search rejections.”

“You had high hopes for this job,” Purdy writes. “The job requirements matched your skill set perfectly. You aced your interviews. And you imagined hearing those sweet words so many of us long to hear: ‘You’re hired.’ Instead, you got another rejection letter.”

Putting aside for the moment the incontrovertible fact that the sweet words we most long to hear are, “it’s lunch time, and I’m buying,” it is painful to be rejected for a job, especially if it’s a job you never much wanted in the first place.

It’s cold comfort, but you should be happy you even got a rejection letter. Most job hunters who contact me report that they never hear back from potential employers, a symbol of what I call the “New Rudeness.” After firing off a few hundred resumes into the ether without a response, you begin to feel it would be more rewarding to put your CV in a bottle and toss it out to sea.

Assuming you do get an interview, and you do get a rejection, the number one recommendation is “don’t beat yourself up about it.” According to John Kador, the author of “301 Best Questions to Ask on Your Interview,” you may be relieved to learn that “sometimes you didn’t do anything wrong. Someone else was more qualified or more connected. Companies go sometimes go through the motions of interviewing applicants when they’ve already selected a candidate.”

This raises the question — do you really want to work for a company that asks you to get all psyched up and all spiffed up for an interview which is a total mockery. And it makes me think that the 302nd best question you could ask is — “Hey, bozo, is this interview a total farce designed to make you look like you’re doing your job when you’re really just looking for cover to hire that bimbo you’ve been eyeing behind the counter at Starbucks?”

Try asking! You may get points for candor, or grounds for blackmail. Either way, you win.

If you came to your interview via a recruiter, it’s OK to ask for feedback. Just make it crystal clear that you will accept any negative information with a smiley face. “No one will talk to you if they think you are going to argue or appeal,” says interview expert Kador.

Still, you may want to make some small gesture to express your displeasure. I suggest you make a voodoo doll in the image of your interviewer and skewer it like a shish-kabob. Come to think of it, why not bring the doll to your interview. What better way to demonstrate your empathetic nature than to smile sympathetically as you push pins into the vital organs of Mr. or Ms. Decision Maker while they writhe in pain.

Despite your disappointment, the experts do advise that you should not let one negative response discourage you from pursuing new opportunities in companies that reject you. Though admitting that promises to “keep your resume on file” are generally sap for saps, Kador says you should keep applying for relevant jobs and stay in touch with the recruiters you’ve met. “‘If a posting says no calls, I wouldn’t call’, he says, ‘but that doesn’t mean you can’t write.'”

It also doesn’t mean you can’t stalk. What recruiter wouldn’t be pleased as punch to have someone as lovely as you following them every step of the day? What better way to show your dedication to finding a position?

And when you find that position, as you surely will, it doesn’t mean the end of your relationship with the idiots who rejected you. According to Liz Lynch, the author of “Smart Networking,” “you should write him or her a note and include your new business card.”

You don’t want to brag about your new job, or point out all the many ways it’s so much better than the stupid job for which you were so cruelly rejected. Or maybe you do! If you’re like me, you know there’s only one thing better than getting a new job. That’s getting even.


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