I have small children and periodically they will come to me upset about losing a game or competition to a sibling. Patrick, my six-year old son, often is the one who comes to me or my wife to voice his displeasure at losing at Candyland, Sorry, soccer, etc. When I try to explain that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose and that this is all part of playing a game, Patrick will respond, “But I wanted to win!”
That line sums up the feelings of all job candidates who have experienced rejection from a job application. After the final interview and if you are not the candidate of choice, you want to say, “But I wanted the job!” The feeling of coming in second is not satisfying – there is no ceremony where you receive a silver medal or second-place purse you keep to help ease the sting. So how are we to react when we lose out on a job opportunity?
Handle rejection like a kindergartener. When experiencing a rejection or a loss, my son will feel sad, maybe shed a tear or two, look for some kind words, and then run outside to play again. I see this as a model of how job seekers should handle bad news.
- Feel sad/disappointed/upset – this is normal and healthy. Then…
- Share your disappointment with a caring person who is not connected to the job in any way; unload your disappointment and then…
- Move on to the next opportunity
Item #2 is important – share your disappointment with a caring individual who is not connected to the opportunity. Do not vent to the hiring manager or HR lead at the company. Do not complain to the friend who passed along your resume to the search committee. Seek out a neutral friend for an hour of venting or an evening of complaining and then move on. Staying in step #2 for a prolonged period of time does no one any good.
For some additional tips on how to handle rejection, check out Careerealism’s advice on how to handle a rejection: http://www.careerealism.com/job-dont-get/