Choice can be hard to explain.
A friend of mine recently went through a recruiting process for a job she really wanted only to experience, at the end, the ignominity of not being selected. Hey, I’ve been there: it hurts.
Sometimes we take this rejection personally as if a lover had turned us down. We wonder about the things we’re missing, the things we should have said and a myriad of other possibilities.
Stop this: it is not healthy or helpful.
When you set your sights on a position and do your best without result it’s helpful to keep a few insights in mind.
- It’s Not You. We want to believe companies have robust, objective and balanced hiring processes with well-defined steps, clarity of purpose and collaborative and seasoned judgement. As if. Like it or not the hiring process in the end is a subjective game. Having the the right technical skills and expereince is simply the ticket to admission in the roulette of getting to a job offer. The deciding factor is often subjective and in many cases not linked directly to you or your attractiveness as a candidate. Rest assured there are several candidates, a multitude of variables and in many instances a messy process that sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. But when you’re not selected as a finalist, it’s probably not you.
- It’s Not Right (or Wrong). Each firm’s hiring practice is unique: there is no best practice defining the candidate expereince. Sometime it’s best to suspend your expectations and go through the process with an open mind to get a sense of what your potential new employer might be like after the first date. Think they should have chosen you? Well, maybe they should have. But if the hiring process was helter-skelter and you were slightly uncomfortable with some of the practices involved maybe it’s better that they didn’t choose you. Sometimes through pure luck we get turned down for opportunities that in the end, would not have actually been good for us. It’s not right or wrong, it just is.
- It’s Not the End. I know, I know: you labored over your resume, polished your presentation and make sure the creases in your clothes were razor-sharp and you killed it. And they still went for Plan B. Let it go – resist the temptation to lash out. Remember this is but one more step on a journey and if you want to get some benefit out of it say thank you to all those involved (yes, I’m talking email here) update your LinkedIn contacts and be very very positive. Being graceful and gracious after being passed over will do far more good than becoming bitter. This is not the end: set yourself up for success by seeing it that way.
Rejection in any form is never easy, and when a potential employer says no thank you it can shake our confidence. But don’t make the mistake of thinking this is a valid assessment of your competency or qualifications: sometimes it just happens.
Stay positive and confident in what you can offer to the right employer. Just as in romance, sooner or later, the right partnership will manifest.