rejection feels lousy. Recovery is possible

Rejection From a Job Interview: 5 Ways to Get Over Being Dumped

Receiving a rejection from a job interview can sting. Add salt to the wound if you really hate your current job, thought for sure you hit it off with your potential employer or invested tons of time and money on rounds of interviews.

The cruel part is companies can make job applicants wait from a few days to months for a big fat no. Or they ghost you. It sucks.

A job interview rejection letter can erode your confidence and stall your career goals. If you let it.

What Rejection Means

In a Soul-based Job-search, rejection is a sign to realign. It’s not that you weren’t good enough, or your outfit was bad. You did your best and that’s all you can do. At least this is what I tell myself. It just wasn’t the right opportunity.

Everyone gets rejected from a job interview a job they had their heart set on. But that doesn’t ever mean that you are not worthy of having a fantastic career with great everything. The rejection letter now simply means that this was not the right move for you.

There is Only One Reason You Were Rejected

You were not chosen for the job.

Other career sites will try to explain to you the reasons that you got a “Thanks but no thanks,” email or letter following a great job interview. And yes, it could have been a concrete reason such as being 20 minutes late for the interview or looking like a deer in the headlights when answering basic skills questions.

But the truth is they didn’t choose you. It could be that the interviewer didn’t feel a connection to you or your shirt reminded them of their ex-husband. When I was an editor for a small newspaper in Bremerton, Wash., I would interview people for a reporter job.

I was really put off when candidates would try to say what they thought I wanted to hear instead of telling me what they really thought.

Those were often the same ones who would send a gushy post job interview thank-you note and call three times to follow up.

On paper they were perfect but in-person, there just wasn’t that chemistry. Likability, for me at least, was a big factor.

Why Rejection Stings

You probably first learned about the sting of rejection as a child. Maybe you didn’t get invited to a classmate’s birthday party and had to sit quietly as other kids recounted the great time at Showbiz Pizza.

Or you were always the odd man out in a game of 3-on-3 at the park. The cheese stands alone. You felt sad, angry and embarrassed — the emotional equivalent to stepping in dog poop.

Rejection has until relatively recently been an overlooked part of research. But scientists have connected the pain of rejection to physical pain. This can trigger emotions including anger, anxiety, depression and affect impulse control.

I don’t know about you, but I have been tempted to write a scathing email or 10 to the hiring managers who acted all BFF and then told me to kissoff.

5. Ways to Ease the Rejection From a Job Interview

rejection after a job interview can make you angry and lash out

1. Sharing is Caring

You are not alone in dealing with rejection from a job interview. Being the odd man out when we really wanted to be in, is a universal experience — like being surprised or nervous. Every person has a story of rejection. Share your story on Reddit or over a pitcher of IPA with friends.

You will never know the real story. You only know one fact: You were not selected for the job.

2. Have a 24-Hour Pity Party

rejection from a job interview can be eased with a pity party.

This is my salve of choice when I have a bruised ego from rejection from a job interview. I feed on Vietnamese food and ice cream, drink wine watch Netflix and have a good cry if need be.

I go shopping or lay in bed and read. Whatever I do, I give myself 24 hours of feeling sorry for myself and then I resume life as normal.

Check Out These Resume Samples Based on Job Title

Pity Party Provisions

To throw a proper pity party you’ll need the following:

  • Food: Anything that you’ve craved, that comforts or blows your otherwise great eating routine. I like Anything Hagen Daas, Thai or Vietnamese food and Skittles.
  • Beverage of choice: Alcohol, Starbucks Pink Drink, Topo Chico, whatever is a treat. I like red, red wine. It makes me feel so fine.
  • Jammies: It can be 5 p.m., it’s jammie o’clock. Get comfortable with a blanky and your cat if you have one.
  • TV: Find a show on Netflix, Hulu or YouTube to binge on. I go for the original Beverly Hills 90210. It is my guilty pleasure and reminds me of a simpler time with no job interviews.
  • Permission to Be a Baby: Give yourself the okay to not be okay and wallow. Let your fam in on the plans but don’t invite them. This is a party for one and your cats.

It’s kind of like a cheat day in adulting. I let everything go and indulge myself as the whims hit me. Hey, I just got told I’m a loser so I am going to wallow in it for 24 hours. Then when I feel like being an adult again, usually the next morning, I acknowledge my feelings of disappointment and sadness, rage and defeat and I let it go.

3. What’s the Lesson in This Rejection From a Job Interview?

When life hands you a rejection after a job interview, there is a lesson buried under the hurt. The lesson I learned from my latest rejection was to listen to the red flags. The job process seemed to be moving at a lightning speed for a bureaucracy. The posting hadn’t closed and I was being asked to interview. They were set on seeing me that week, even though I had to ask for an alternate date due to a work project.

I even considered canceling the interview because I was not prepared to take on a new job in the next two weeks. They were in a big hurry to hire someone. So next time, if the organization moves like their hair is on fire, I will have to ask myself, is this a real interview or am I part of a farce called “The Hiring of a Friend?” Do I want to go through that again?

4. Get Physical

If your idea of a pity party is throwing punches in a boxing ring or trying for a personal best in your deadlift. Even if you do not have a regular exercise routine, a brisk walk will help clear your mind and release those lovely endorphins. You can also put on some heavy metal and get your aggression out on your treadmill or Peleton.

5. Use Meditation to Heal the Hurt

Author and alternative medicine advocate Deepak Chopra has a 7 part exercise in using meditation to ease feelings of anger and fear. It involves identifying and being with the emotions and expressing them.

You can also try the Insight Timer free meditation app to find one that lifts your mood. Meditation can bring calm to all of the chatter of self-doubt that rejection from a job interview can dredge up. I’ve written a meditation for beginners guide that will show you exactly how to do it.

Steps to Take After Rejection From a Job Interview

You got rejected, coped with it with 24 hours of gluttony or interwork or kickboxing. Now it’s time to dust yourself off and continue with your job search. Here are a few tactics to help you get hired faster.

Think Like a Salesperson

People in sales know that sales is a numbers game. They will be rejected many more times than they will close.

Getting hired is a numbers game.

If 50 people apply for the same job, you have a 2 percent chance of being the one hired. Go back into the job search assuming you are going to hear a lot of nos before you finally hear “we’d like to make you an offer.”

If You’re Not Getting Interviews

If you’re applying for jobs that you are reasonably qualified for and not getting interviews, it may mean that you need to polish your cover letter and resume.

Double-check your spelling and grammar and ensure you’re using the correct keywords. You can check out this article on 20 questions to ask your resume before you hit send.

If you’d rather have a root canal than write your own resume, I did a comparison of the most popular resume writing services.

Check Out These Resume Samples Based on Job Title

Rejection from a job interview feels lousy, even if you’re a rational 40-something person who knows that rejection is part of the journey. The important thing to remember is you didn’t get chosen for the job, but there are other jobs out there that you will get. Keep going and go get ’em.