Rejection and how to handle it

This is always tough, but it happens to everyone no matter what their talents and abilities. Applying for jobs at any level means that you are up against other candidates with similar qualifications and qualities to you and only one will get the job. It is far easier when you get a straight knock back following submission of a CV as you have invested only a little time and hope in that application. Although when you get many of them and your spreadsheet starts filling up with crosses, it understandably becomes disheartening.

It is the hardest when you have invested significant time in an application process. You may have made many many applications (my son made around 60) and had some knock backs – sometimes at the very first stage of application, some after the first round of tests, some after tests and video questions – these are all tough as you get more optimistic the more stages you pass. However the toughest rejections are following the final interview.

The final interview is the last hurdle, you’ve invested a lot of time in the process but it is the interview where you make yourself more vulnerable as you are presenting yourself. What you must remember is that you have done extremely well to get so far.

My son went through a tough application process with AON and got through to a final interview. Unfortunately he wasn’t successful, which was devastating to him at the time as he had invested so much time and energy into the process which involved all of the above stages – in fact more than one round of tests plus an assessment centre day. To make matters worse they promised feedback from the process within two weeks but that never happened despite us chasing it up! (and still no feedback 6 months later). As I’ve mentioned before, it is a tough process with many ups and downs and all you can do is brush yourself off and carry on. Fortunately he went on to have another interview where he got very useful feedback and in the same week got the offer of his apprenticeship.

If you are rejected, hopefully you will receive feedback as this is an important part of moving forward and learning from the process. They may tell you to stay in touch or that they will keep you on file. It makes you feel much more valued as a candidate. It is a good idea to respond to a rejection to say how disappointed you are that you haven’t been successful this time and how much you appreciate their feedback – maybe they have some work experience they could offer you? If you haven’t received feedback, send a polite reply saying that you are disappointed to be unsuccessful but would really appreciate their feedback.

The most important thing is to pick yourself up from rejection and carry on. You may have other applications where you are part way through a process and there will be more opportunities coming live all the time. YOUR role is out there somewhere, you’ve just got to keep at it. New apprenticeships are advertised every day throughout the year and although you may not get one with a large well-known organisation, there are many smaller organisations that offer apprenticeships with exactly the same qualifications and quite possibly a better experience.

Good luck, keep at it, you will get there!