Idea in short

You probably know this situation: You have applied for a position that suits you one hundred percent. You’ve put forth your best effort and hope to be noticed, not overlooked for the position of interest to you. You took your time in properly preparing your CV and cover letter for submission. Then, you waited a couple of weeks and followed-up on your application. But, you don’t hear anything back. You’ve been rejected! When you get to the interview stage, you prepare for the interview and seek to make a great impression on the hiring managers. From there, you get silence. You’ve been rejected! To top it all, the rejections are so impersonal, standardised and not revealing.

Nobody likes rejections. Often, your own self-image and self-esteem suffer. Such questions as Why am I not good enough? inevitably arises. This is disappointing and demotivating. But, with the right attitude and mindset, you can turn rejections to ultimate success. A StepStone study, conducted in Germany and other European countries, shows that job seekers in Germany have, by far, the best success rate in applications compared to their neighbours. For an interview, job applicants send out an average of ten applications, resulting in two interviews leading to a job offer. So, never lose your motivation and work towards landing your dream job.


Upon receiving rejections, negative messages creep in mentally. Feelings of self-doubt and discouragement speak to you, and you internalize them. They bring you down. You feel worthless. However, when this happens, remember this – you’re worthy because your worth doesn’t come from a job or those in hiring positions. Don’t let any rejection take away this truth and fight against discouragement as it comes into your heart. Also remember that, in the hiring process, other factors come into play—even interviewer biases in some cases! So, don’t beat yourself up over why you didn’t get an opportunity to interview or why you didn’t get the job.

The positive side

At the very least, you should feel as though you have learned something through the interview process. We all learn from our experiences, and interviewing is no different. However, if you performed to the best of your ability and demonstrated your competencies in the most engaging manner, but were still turned down, then take comfort from knowing that it was the wrong firm for you. You may find your mind unable to rest until you establish a logical explanation for the rejection.

Instead of dwelling on your disappointment, focus on other opportunities and continue to present yourself in the best light. If you find you are continuously facing rejections, then use it as a means to develop resilience. But, ensure that you also take action to remedy any shortcomings.

Handle it professionally

Rejections are, in most cases, not meant to be personal at all. That’s what you should internalise. We’ve taken these rejections personally, so we know you do too. It hurts. You question the point of applying for jobs when you can’t get one and start doubting your ability to ever secure a good job. You believe something’s wrong with you and feel you’re the reason why you can’t land a job.

Work on your attitude and try to learn from possible mistakes. Do not shy away from actively asking the company what it was all about. Only then will you have the opportunity to learn why you were not considered for the rest of the process.

  • Did you lack suitable qualifications?
  • Do you need to improve your job interviewing skills?
  • Do you need to work on your self-presentation?

With feedback from the company, you can actively work on your shortcomings to make your next application a success.

Getting feedback

If possible, make the interviewer aware how important feedback is to you. This will show them how committed you are to self-development. In turn, this mindset may convince them to hire you. Attitude is, probably, more important than ability. A follow-up email after an interview is a very professional way of  showing your interest in the role. Most people will not do this, so you will be separating yourself from the competition. You could also state in the email that you welcome any feedback (positive or negative) for self-improvement. Take each interview as a learning experience. This will encourage a more detailed response. Take any feedback with an open mind and make the relevant improvements to find the job you want. If this is not possible, discuss any mistakes, revise your application, and practice interviewing skills.

To do’s after a rejection

  • You must be depressed, but it is important that you quickly catch up and move on
  • Accept a different attitude: Rejections are not personal in the professional environment
  • Embrace the  fact that not everything will work out the very first time
  • Try to get feedback – this is the most appropriate strategy to avoid mistakes in the future
  • If you do not receive feedback, check your application documents for errors
  • Get inspiration and tips, whether on this website, the Internet or from family & friends
  • Review successful applications and derive useful positive examples that you can use
  • Looking for alternatives and expand your focus
  • Revisit your interests, soft skills and qualifications to identify the job openings that best suit you
  • Stay on the ball. Do not let rejections get you down and keep applying
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