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Staying Positive when Faced with Rejection

Nobody wants to be on the other end of a rejection phone call or email. After months of submitting CVs, researching companies, and completing dozens of interviews, it’s disappointing to hear that a company no longer wants to move forward with your application. Different parts of the recruitment process can deteriorate someone’s mental health over time. The effects of recruiting can be harmful if someone doesn’t properly take care of themself throughout this stressful and overwhelming process, but it’s still possible to stay positive when faced with job rejection.

Competition can bring out the worst in people, and the recruitment process is ultimately one big competition among everyone looking for jobs. Candidates lack any sense of control during the recruitment process, increasing their feelings of pressure and stress. They have no idea what the hiring manager is thinking, what they are looking for, or how the interview is truly going. All these factors combined add to high anxiety and loss of self-confidence during a draining and difficult time. Candidates going through the recruitment process should take extra measures to watch out for their mental health to remain positive during a strenuous time.

It's ok to be sad

Don't ignore rejection or pretend not to care. Eventually, these emotions will build up and explode in one way or another. Do whatever makes you feel better when you're upset, whether it's watching movies in bed, ordering your favorite take-out food, or baking a fresh batch of cookies. Take a day or two to be upset about the rejection, but try not to wallow in your sadness. The best way to distract yourself from disappointment is to keep working on other applications.

Job rejection is sort of like a break-up

Following a job rejection you will question yourself, what went wrong, why it didn’t work, and more. You will go through highs and lows of emotions, but at the end of the day it will all work out the way it's supposed to be. You will learn to become mentally tough enough to withstand the hard parts of the application process. Just remember that there is a yes coming at the end. It might actually show you that you are more capable of resilience than you know.

Be aware of signs of burnout

If you find yourself too overwhelmed by all your applications and interviews, it might be a sign of burnout -- your body’s way of telling you to take a break from applying. If you are able to wait, take some time and focus on something else. Burnout can lead to poor interview performance and make you dread finding a new job. It can also lead to periods of depression or lack of passion in activities that used to be of interest. Check in with yourself periodically to make sure you aren’t overworking yourself throughout the recruitment process. If you realize that you are overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to take a step back.

Staying positive in the face of rejection is difficult.

It’s easy to rack your brain of all the reasons why an interview didn’t work out. One way to avoid these wandering thoughts is to take notes from your interviews right after they happen. Include both informational and behavioral parts of the interview, if something unusual occurred, or anything else you might want to remember from the interview experience. After an interview, try doing something you enjoy to distract yourself afterward. Don't obsess over every little detail. Remember that there is no such thing as the perfect candidate- so stop trying to be perfect. You want a company that wants to hire you, not an unrealistic version of yourself. If they don’t want to hire you, then it’s not meant to be. And that’s okay.

Staying on top of your mental health is the key to a successful recruitment process. You will experience a rollercoaster of emotions, heightened periods of anxiety, stress, sadness, disappointment, and so many other feelings. Rejection is normal. It happens to everybody. It’s ok to be sad at first. Embrace all of your emotions and jump right back into submitting applications. Be intentional and intuitive throughout the entire process. Write notes on what worked and what didn’t, check in with your emotions, and take breaks from the process when it gets too overwhelming. At the end of the day, all you need is for one person to say yes!

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