Don’t Let Rejections Discourage You

One day, you may receive a call from a recruiter for a role when you are not looking for a new job. You take the call and the interviews and land the job. Opportunistic and easy- it’s how I landed at Merrill Lynch. More often, your job search involves slogging through research, developing your resume, responding to ads and recruiter calls, lots of interviews and varying numbers of rejections.

The key is how you respond to rejection.

Those rejections can be delivered by computer-generated form emails or calls or emails from recruiters or from a hiring manager or HR representative. Just as often, the rejection is just permanent silence. The silence is rude and doubly discouraging if you take it personally. 

DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY. The silence is all about them, not about you.

If you are not employed, those rejections can cut deep. A specific job may seem like a perfect fit. If you don’t get the offer, it probably was not. The farther along you get in your career, the more important the cultural fit. Brush off the rejection—you dodged a bullet. The goal is to find a role that will suit you for the long term.

About fifteen years ago, we worked with a strong candidate- great education, worked at highly regarded companies, excellent skills, and professional demeanor. We went through at least eight processes with him, and probably more. That did not include the interviews he set up on his own or through other recruiters. He was the runner up on at least five of our processes. There were real disappointments along the way.

With each rejection, we reinforced that the role was just not the right one for him. He was building a career, and he should be looking for the role that would keep him happy and provide new opportunities to grow professionally. That ninth process proved to be the right position. He remains at that fund, many promotions later.