Coping with job search setbacks

What to do when you encounter job search setbacks…

While it would be wonderful if everyone had a smooth job search experience, some disappointments are likely. It could be anything from finding out that a position has already closed to not being selected for an interview.

However, if you’re mentally prepared for such happenings, it’s easier to stay on track and maintain some motivation. If this talk of mental prep sounds familiar, it’s something we discussed in this feature on the four job search phases last month. The four phases were identified by Kourtney Whitehead, whose advice we’ll be discussing again today – this time regarding the three ‘unavoidable job search setbacks’.

The three job search setbacks include:

1. Being rejected for a ‘position you’re clearly qualified for’ 

There are some great insights here, including three core messages that particularly ring true:

  1. Many applicants encounter this
  2. It doesn’t reflect your individual ‘market value’
  3. You won’t necessarily “experience predictable outcomes throughout your search”

Interviews can be like exams; sometimes the ones you think you’ve failed are actually the ones you’ve passed with flying colours! Of course, this can apply in reverse and sometimes it’s the jobs you think that you’re a shoo-in for that you don’t get.

This is a topic we’ve covered in more depth on our post about handling interview rejection; even if it happens multiple times.

2. Finding a great opening that doesn’t meet your salary expectations

Whitehead’s advice stands out here because it’s so realistic to everyday job market happenings. Whereas many articles will tell you to ask for more than an advertised salary, Whitehead points out that if you’re not willing to work for the advertised salary range you should be upfront from the start.

She’s not saying that companies won’t ever pay more for the right person. However, some budgets are fixed for a reason and you don’t want to waste anyone’s time, including your own.

This issue can be easier to raise when working via a Recruitment Consultant – allowing you to have a frank conversation outside of the pressures of an interview setting. Your Consultant can help manage your expectations and let you know whether there’s the possibility of flexibility or not.

3. Not getting a job you feel ’emotionally attached’ to

Not many people discuss this common issue. Perhaps before you’ve so much as attended an interview (or even submitted a CV!) you’re envisaging life in your new role…and you really like your visions of the future.

But then you get the rejection and it’s far worse than usual because you feel as if something has actually been taken away from you.

In this case, Whitehead recommends making some rejection plans. She suggests speaking to your closest friends and family and letting them know what you need from them during these trickier times – whether that’s time alone or some extra company and conversation.

Even if you don’t feel you have a support network around you, you can plan some activities to help pick yourself up in the case of bad news. Again, you should hopefully feel able to confide in your Recruitment Consultant during these times!

You can read the rest of Kourtney Whitehead’s advice via Forbes.

Get your local job search started via our jobs page and/or submit your CV via the website.



Career advice: how to handle job rejection

Have you faced more than your fair share of job rejection? Or have you been rejected for something that you thought was an absolute given? Sharing some insider insights and advice…

Recognise that there are many reasons for job rejection.

It’s hard not to take any form of rejection personally; particularly when you’re given all the cues that you’re a good fit for a role. However, rather than dwelling on what you’ve done wrong (which might not be anything!) focus on what could have gone right for someone else this time.

You see that we haven’t said what someone else has done right yet rather what’s gone right for them? For instance…

  • You could be super qualified and/or experienced, yet the selected candidate could be even more so or simply have one skill or bit of experience that you don’t (yet!).
  • You might have indicated that you’re looking for career progression when the interviewer knows that they can’t offer this and thinks you’ll soon be bored.
  • Your interviewer may really like your personality but feel someone else will slot in better with certain team members.
  • Your interview could have been great. But someone else’s interview may have flowed better.
  • It could be that there was barely anything between you and your competition and your interviewer simply went by instinct. In this case, perhaps you would have been the one selected on another day.

We could go on – and it could be a complete mix of the above/other factors!

But what if it happens over and over again?

This still doesn’t necessarily mean it’s personal. You could be looking for jobs within a particularly competitive industry or picking roles with unusually high application numbers.

Keep applying and keep applying well! Make sure you take the time to work on each application and interview. Plus, where possible, make sure you’re always seeking feedback on those roles that you didn’t get.

Your recruitment consultant should assist you in gaining interview feedback to help you with your future applications.

Ready to look for your next role? Visit our jobs page