Our unsuccessful job applications are every day “Sliding Doors” moments. Would our careers be different if we had been hired by THAT company, in THAT role 10 years ago?

Who knows. But one thing’s for sure. Our rejections have shaped us and have sent us on different paths, leading us to the job and the careers we have today.

In today’s market, tech candidates hold the cards. Despite companies across all industries looking to recruit digital superstars to transform their businesses for success, there will inevitably be rejected candidates who must regroup and reapply.

Job rejections are never calls you want to take or conversations you want to have. However, if you respond with pragmatism and without emotion, these rejections can be pivoted into moments of opportunity.

Here are some tips on how you can reframe job rejection, and turn disappointment into career success.

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4 tips on how to turn job rejection into career success.

Ask for feedback.

The best way to learn in any situation is to ask for constructive advice on how you could improve.  For you, as a rejected job seeker, this means asking for feedback from your interviewer. Through contacting the hiring manager shortly after the interview, rejected candidates can harvest invaluable information. Tips on how you could improve your interview performance, presentation skills, or which additional qualifications you could attain may lead you to achieve a different outcome next time.

Employers are always looking for employees who have self-awareness and a desire to learn and grow.  A willingness to seek out criticism demonstrates that you wish to evaluate your own performance and use this information to better yourself. Your follow-up for feedback underlines your interest in future roles and gives you a last chance to leave the interviewer with a positive impression of you.

Research successful candidates.

You may be asking yourself “What did they have that I didn’t?”

Well, find out!!

It is likely that the successful candidate will update their LinkedIn profile with their new role. This is a great opportunity to find out what skills, experience or attributes the successful candidate is able to demonstrate from previous roles. These can be turned into career objectives of yours should you want to continue your pursuit of a job with the same title or with the same company.

Depending upon the notice period of the hire or the length of the onboarding process this may take some time. However, you may not need to wait.  Perhaps the company is large enough that they employ more than one person with the same title. You may like to look at these employees instead.

Have a plan.

Once you have done your research and spoken to the interviewer, you have the data you need to make a plan.

What steps do you need to take?  What courses should you complete? How long will these take?

Tangible differences such as certifications, qualifications, or years of experience are easier to qualify and address.   Not so easy are those times when a hire has been made because of cultural fit, or a referral. In those instances, rejection can be harder to accept and to do something about.

Despite this though, there is always something we can do to make us more employable, increase our skills or make ourselves more knowledgeable.

Forming a plan to change the things within our control will make us feel more empowered next time around.


A rejection of any sort is an opportunity to refocus our attention and reassess what we want.  If you are finding that you are experiencing a line of multiple rejections, it could suggest that your aspirations are not aligned with your skillset or suitability for that particular area.

If this is the case, it may be necessary to concede that you need to refocus your efforts.  It may be useful to seek out the help of a mentor or trusted, more experienced colleague. This person must be able to offer frank and unfiltered (but kind) advice on whether or not your skills match those of the jobs to which you are applying.

Perhaps this trusted person has a different perspective and can direct you toward a role that is more suitable, or one that could be a stepping stone to your ultimate goal.

Landing your dream job probably won’t happen overnight. It’s more than likely you’ll have to be persistent and tenacious, attending a number of interviews before you become successful. Of course, these rejections will sting initially, but if used in the right way they can be used as invaluable data accumulation. The information you receive from interviewer feedback, and from your research will teach you what you need to learn and how you could adapt your technique so that you are more employable in the future.

Turning the negative into a positive will reframe your disappointment and allow you to refocus your attention.

If you have just been turned down from the job you want, perhaps we can help steer you in the right direction. Our skilled and experienced recruitment partners can guide you toward suitable roles that align with your skills and levels of experience.  Get in touch today to find out how we can help you land the role of your dreams.

About the author: I work hard to find the best opportunities for my candidates and the best talent for my clients. My honest and pragmatic approach helps me to build lasting relationships and deliver real value.  I have extensive experience helping organisations overcome their critical challenges in the digital environment, and have worked with everything from start-ups to major global brands.

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