“We regret to inform you that you have been unsuccessful on this occasion” Noooooooo! I know it can feel like it in that moment but this is not the end of the world.
Recruitment with the top graduate employers is really competitive, sometimes with 100’s of applications per position on offer. Do not take it personally, many other brilliant candidates may also have been rejected. There are only so many places available but just because you were not picked this time does not mean that you will not be next time. Because hiring decisions are generally subjective (despite best efforts), it is possible that another recruiter might have chosen you. Whilst this may not seem helpful, there are some things that you may want to think about just in case:
Think, did you really want that job?
Were you really motivated to go through the recruitment process? Had you made the extra effort to research and understand what the role was and who the company was that you were applying for?
On paper you can look like the best candidate with lots of skills and experience, however if you cannot explain or show that you actually want the job for any reason other than you thought you should or everybody else on your course was applying to it. It may be worth reflecting on your career aims to make sure that you are putting your effort into the right things.
Of course this may have been your dream job and you had done all the research and put in the all the effort required but…..
Were you really suited to the role?
Sometime we may have applied and thought that we wanted the role, but were you really suited to the role? Sometimes rejection can be a blessing in disguise, recognising that maybe your skills or attributes may be better suited to a different company with more shared values. Or even a different type of role that is better suited to your skill sets and preferred ways of working.
With the increased use of Strengths based recruitment and ‘gamification’ in psychometric testing, more and more recruiters are looking at not just can you do the job but would you actually like doing the job. Organisations such as PwC have even added a screening tool to suggest which type of role you maybe best suited to (whilst this does not stop you from applying for other things, it may be worth stopping and thinking about it for a second). Reflecting not just on your skills but also your strengths and preferred ways of working can help you consider the role and organisations that may be a good fit for you.
However, you may have really wanted the job and been a good fit for it – so what went wrong?
Learn from the experience and seek feedback
Resilience is something that employers seek and something that can definitely be applied to the recruitment process. See each setback as a challenge to grow both your self-awareness and your ability to bounce back. Dealing with disappointment can increase your chances of landing the right role next time. So make a point of staying positive and constructive, do all you can to learn from the experience and prepare for future opportunities. Getting turned down for a job happens to everyone, the important thing to learn from the experience.
If you are receiving multiple rejections, think in general what stage are you getting through to? This can give some indication of where to start looking for areas to improve. Do not be afraid to seek feedback (but do check if they have explicitly said that they do not give it). After all what have you got to lose? If the employer cannot or will not provide it at least you will be noted as someone who was interested in their personal development. You never know when another opportunity with that recruiter may turn up. If they do provide the feedback then you can work with this to understand what you may have been able to do differently or indeed understand more why this may not have been the right opportunity for you.
But don’t get defensive if you hear something you disagree with from your feedback. Thank the interviewer for their time, make note of their comments and reflect on these later. Recognise that this was the recruiter’s perception and whilst they may not have been right in your mind, it is maybe worth testing some of these with people that you trust to consider how you could mitigate such perceptions in the future. By acting in a professional manner and not burning any bridges, you will have positioned yourself for another possible opportunity within the company in the future.
You may have identified some areas where you could improve, Student Opportunity (Careers) have workshops covering a range of topics to help you through the recruitment process. You can have your CV/Cover letter/Application form reviewed, prepare with a mock interview or book on to an assessment centre workshop.
The recruitment process can be quite pressured and stressful especially as you try to balance this with your studies and rejections can further impact your sense of well-being. Be assured that you can also be supported with this too through the Wellbeing team, whether this is for ways to relax and unwind through to more in-depth services.
Moving forward positively and building towards success
Sometimes it is just not happening for you in your ideal area and it can feel like all the opportunities have gone. Do not get disheartened there are always other ways of progressing such as getting a less popular job in a similar area A job that calls upon the same skills you’ll need for your dream role, might be the answer to equip you with the experience and the skills you need to for your dream job down the line. As long as you are taking stepping stones towards your goals you are moving forward.
Most of all Good luck!