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BOB LANKARD: Moving on from rejection

by on May 19, 2013 4:49 AM

Sometimes you just get a feeling in the interview.

Everything seemed right.

I once was so confident after an interview that as soon as I got home I called a real estate agent in that town to explore possible houses to buy. Job seekers begin to plan their life around the job they think they are getting.

Then you get that form letter — they hired someone else. Some cannot move beyond the disappointment. It seemed too right. But there may be reasons outside your control or there may be changes you need to make.

Sometimes companies are overly warm and welcoming. But it’s not just you. All applicants interviewed for the job are given the same treatment. Good feelings do not equal getting the job. This treatment gives job seekers a false sense of assurance.

Here is how to move past rejection:

• Don’t take it personally. There can be a number of reasons why you didn’t get the job. It is rare that an employer interviews only one applicant. They also don’t interview someone who is not qualified. Someone else could have been a better candidate.

• Many times it is beyond your control. When an employer has a number of equally qualified candidates they look for something that can tip the scale. It is rare when one applicant stands head and shoulders over a number of other applicants.

I found myself in this predicament when I was hiring a secretary. Several candidates seemed to be equally qualified. How could I decide?

One applicant told me in an interview that she could compose a letter. That one point tipped the sales for me.

Sometimes a hometown, being an athlete or attending a certain college will influence a hiring decision. One employer I knew preferred applicants who grew up on a farm.

• Move on and focus on things you can change. I have found rejected job seekers tend to do one of two things: blame the employer or blame themselves. I suggest you evaluate yourself as a potential employee and focus on the things you can change.

• Evaluate yourself. Be careful with your paper application. In some cases this will be your first impression. Always ask for two in case you make a mistake. Fill out every item completely. Job seekers find it hard to believe that paper applications are used to screen people.

• Let a friend look at your r←sum←. Sometimes we have a hard time being objective about our own product. Like the job application, your r←sum← should be error-free.

• Are you qualified for the job? Does you application or r←sum← show that you meet every qualification in the posting?

• When you go to the interview, look like someone who will fit in. Dress like people who work there.

• Ask questions about the company and the job. This demonstrates that you already know a good bit about it.

• Personalize the conversation by telling about some special experience. It should be an experience that would demonstrate some positive work quality.

• After the interview, send a thank-you letter.



Bob Lankard, a retired employment specialist at the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry's Indiana Job Center, is a job-search columnist for the Indiana Gazette. Read his columns on Sundays.
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