The silver lining of rejection - feedback for the win!
Getting rejected can actually turn out to be beneficial. Instead of sulking with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s, take the opportunity to ask the recruiter for feedback and increase your chances of future success.
No one likes rejection and it can stir up all sorts of negative feelings. However, it’s important to focus on what you can gain from the rejection - and that’s feedback! It might feel tough to contact an employer after being rejected but keep in mind that doing so will only be beneficial. The feedback can help you figure out what didn’t go that well, so you know what you can improve for future interviews/assessment centres etc.
Just relax and don’t forget your manners
It’s often best to contact someone that’s part of the graduate recruitment team instead of someone who interviewed/assessed you. However, for some companies that is not possible.
When requesting feedback, it’s important to keep it short and simple, oh and don’t forget your manners! Soak up all the comments they provide you. It’s worth making notes if you are receiving it over the phone! Don’t take offence and don’t disagree with them - remember, they’re doing you a favour! If you do disagree with them then make sure you consider their comments objectively. Try to figure out why they may have had that opinion about you. They may have decided your personality was just not suited for that particular role or environment. Of course, this doesn’t mean they’re right, but looking back doesn’t help. Just try your best to accept this and move forward. Oh and another thing! Always remember to express your gratitude for their time and feedback.
It could be the case that you receive a lot of positive feedback as well. In this case, and if you’re still interested in other opportunities they may have, don’t forget to express this! Maybe you can even ask them to consider you for any of their upcoming roles. So, remember to take notes and dedicate some time to determine what actions you can take to improve.
It can be the case that a rejection derives from a shortage of necessary knowledge and/or skills. If you see that other roles you’re interested in could require these qualifications, then start finding ways to develop them! Pick up a book or go to that evening workshop your careers service has to offer - you have nothing to lose. However, it’s also important to keep your limitations in mind. If you see that the required skills or knowledge is just too advanced for your current level, then adjust your expectations and keep applying for jobs that suit your capabilities.
On the other hand, maybe it was just that your interview didn’t go to plan. Maybe you were too nervous and weren’t able to show them your true colours - getting feedback will help you work out how to improve. But it’s okay, it happens to the best of us. There are always ways to improve this, such as going through some practice interviews. Perhaps you have a friend who can help you, or even better - someone from your careers service. If you practice, then you reduce the odds of getting caught off guard with a question your brain would have never conceived. Plus, if you have an idea on how to tackle a wide scope of questions, then you’re likely to feel less nervous, which should improve your chances of success.
Sometimes recruiters will provide you with vague answers as opposed to actual feedback. Make sure you don’t settle for something like ‘You were lacking some experience’ or ‘We found someone who was better suited’. Be inquisitive. What experience? Why was that person better suited? Make sure you try your best get some useful information out of them. If they are too resistant, then maybe it’s best to just - good god, I can’t believe I’m about to say this but - let it go!
When it’s impossible to get feedback
On the odd chance that it’s just not possible to get feedback, the best thing to do is just accept it and move on. Sometimes recruiters are just not able to contact you or do not have the time to give you feedback. That’s okay, at least you tried!
Make sure you don’t let any of it get to you and keep using whatever information you can get to improve yourself. Just remember, whether you are ignored and whatever you’re told, the only way is forward.