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Didn’t get the job? Seven tips on how to deal with job rejection


No one likes rejection, but as a job seeker it’s important to be aware that each rejection is another step towards securing employment.

When dealing with job rejection, the concept of ‘negativity bias’ comes into play–the tendency for the human brain to hold on to and be influenced by negative feelings. This wiring made sense during prehistoric times where each negative memory could be the clue to survival; in today’s world, constant negativity is no longer necessary and can actually get in our way. Being aware of this bias is the first key to dealing with job rejection and to regaining control of your job search.

Here are seven more tips for dealing with job rejection:

  1. Recognize that feeling bad after job rejection is natural
    This is why a NO feels so horrible and negative thoughts can linger or nag at you. Make a conscious decision to re-frame your thoughts. Instead of thinking that you didn’t get the job because you messed up at the interview; think about other scenarios like the possibility there was an internal candidate or maybe you were not the best fit for the team. Recognize that the reason is not necessarily just about you.
  2. Maintain an open mind
    Go into a job interview with an open mind. In the event that you do not get the job, whenever possible, request feedback from the interviewer in order to determine if there is an area that you can work on. Remember, just because you didn’t get the job doesn’t mean you aren’t qualified.
  3. Continue the momentum
    It’s common for job seekers to ‘wait to see what happens’ after an interview before applying for other jobs. However, keeping the job search momentum going both maintains motivation and opens up other possibilities.
  4. Resist overanalyzing
    Don’t reflect on what you felt you did wrong in the interview, focus instead on what you did right. It is okay to self-critique in order to do better the next time, but overanalyzing only serves to keep you stuck in disappointment.
  5. Have a positive attitude
    Your attitude is just as important as your skills when it comes to a job interview. Feelings of frustration, depletion and desperation, if not acknowledged, can carry over into the next job interview.
  6. Don’t project into the future
    Worrying about things in the future that you do not have control of only makes you more afraid and insecure. Instead, focus on the present and be pro-active in your response to job rejection.
  7. Seek help
    Attend at a WorkBC Employment Services Centre in your area to receive assistance with tailoring your resume, practicing your interview skills and improving your job search. Career Advisors are available to assist you with all aspects of your job search including how to deal with job rejection.

Awareness and preparation are the keys to dealing with job rejection. Knowing what to expect, re‑framing your thoughts, focusing on the positive and continuing to persevere in your job search until you find the best fit for you will ultimately get you to your goal of sustainable, long-term employment. There may be many NOs in your job search but it only takes one YES to secure employment.

Tina Hurd is a Program Manager at the YWCA. 

If you’re looking for services and support in your job search, check out the Employment Services section on our website to get started - all of our services are FREE.



Just underwent just that, a 'NO', so I feel that your advice is very timely! Thank you!

Thank you Tina!
You are coming to a rescue, as always, you are a big support with the right words in a right time!
Thanks again and Happy Thanksgiving!


Just look at it this way: If they tell you "no", at least they talked to you AFTER the interview. That is more than what you would normally expect, at least in the Lower Mainland. If you have not heard anything, and have sent the thank-you-note, and still don't hear from them, then take it as what you will be able to get away with when you finally decide to become an Entrepreneur and have to hire people.
See? Easy to get something positive from anything.

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