Redirected, Not Rejected: Lessons Learned When the Answer is No

  1. Rejection after an interview hurts. Here are a few ways you can turn rejection into redirection and continue down the path to career satisfaction.

    Redirected, Not Rejected: Lessons Learned When the Answer is No

    It doesn't matter what kind of person you are - rejection after a job interview hurts. And, it is okay to withdraw a bit and take your time to recover. But, as the old adage goes - you must get yourself back in the saddle again - sooner rather than later.

    Here are a few ways you can keep moving forward toward redirection after rejection.

    Give Yourself Permission to be Upset

    Ok - let's say this and move on - rejection sucks. It hurts. Lance Armstrong summed it up best by saying, "A boo is a lot louder than a cheer." And, even if you didn't really want the job - the idea of moving on from where you are right now was exciting. It's understandable to be upset.

    Give yourself time to process the emotions after the rejection. It's okay to have a bruised ego, just don't allow it to cause a permanent setback.

    Ask For Feedback (If you really want it)

    If you get the opportunity to have actual contact, through email or phone, with the prospective employer - ask for feedback.

    There are significant benefits to asking, "Can you tell me why I didn't get the job." You may find out that they loved you, but someone with more experience interviewed too. You may be told that the hiring panel was torn between you and another candidate. Or, you may be told that you were not the best candidate.

    No matter what the reason, there is a lesson to be found in feedback. Just be sure to prepare yourself for whatever answer you might be told. Be sure to let the employer do most of the talking - your role here is to listen and learn for the future. Don't argue or defend yourself. Thank them for the information, then take time to process what they said. Decide if the information was helpful and take action accordingly.

    Look for Redirection

    This is hard - but, don't focus on the rejection. Learn how to use the information and gain redirection.

    Here are a few questions you might need to answer if you're receiving multiple rejections:
    • Are you applying for jobs that are outside of your skill set?
    • Do you need more training, experience, or certification to be ready for the next step in your career journey?
    • Is there something in your career history that is causing future employers to worry?

    Sometimes, you may be hit head-on with the realization that this is not the right time to change jobs. And, guess what - it's okay. The only way to find out if these jobs are for you is to apply and learn more about the role.

    You may decide that you need to gain more experience before moving on. Or, you might realize that you are on the right path, but haven't found the right position yet. No matter what conclusions you come to - a little self-reflection can really help you to get on the right path.

    Don't Take it Personally

    Job rejection is not usually connected to who you are as a person. It is about your skills and if they match the needs of the employer. They may be looking for someone to stay for the next ten years, and you plan to go back to school. Or, they may need someone who can transition into management, and that's not where you want to be in your career.

    As you go through the process of finding a new job, remember that with every "no," you are getting that much closer to a yes. Just getting the interview was a success. In fact, according to a job market expert, only about 2 percent of people who apply for a job make it to an interview.

    By being rejected, you are actually doing better than many folks who never heard anything.

    Pat Yourself on the Back

    How many nurses can you think that are in jobs right now that they don't like because they are afraid of rejection or making mistakes? Oh, and, it's not just nurses. Unfortunately, this happens in every industry and job type.

    Hold your head high. At least you tried and put yourself out there. If the worst thing that happens to you today is that someone else got the job - you are doing pretty good.

    Keep Applying

    Now that you dusted yourself off and reassessed the direction you are moving in keep applying. Don't let one or two rejections slow down your momentum towards finding your dream job. It is out there!

    Have you had a recent job rejection? What lessons did you learn? Let us know in the comments below.
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    About Melissa Mills, BSN

    Melissa is a Quality Assurance Nurse, professor, writer, and business owner. She enjoys empowering other nurses to find their passions and create a unique nursing career that fits their passions, desires, and gifts. She is owner of www., a website dedicated to helping women find their creative passions through writing and co-owner of, a start-up Nursing CE company that will offer online courses soon.

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  3. by   Have Nurse
    Be prepared if you don't get feedback at all. For some employers, contact after the rejection is prohibited for risk management reasons.
  4. by   Melissa Mills
    Have Nurse - Good point! Thanks for your thoughts.