Is It Possible To Get Hired After Being Rejected?

Another rejection letter, you say?! If you’re thinking all is lost and you’ll have to settle for the job you didn’t want, sit down and read what Emily Moore has to share and arm yourself with these tips for a second chance at the job you really want.

You applied to the job. You passed all three rounds of interviews with flying colors. Your references were off-the-charts amazing. But still, you got rejected from your dream company. Now what? Should you throw your hands up in despair, form a grudge, and vow to never apply again? Not so fast, experts say.

“It’s absolutely possible to get hired at a company even if they’ve previously rejected you. There are many many proven success stories,” says Lori Scherwin, executive coach and the founder of Strategize That. “First off, especially in large organizations, there are various divisions, functions, teams, managers, all with a different culture, requirements, and fit. So perhaps you won’t be considered for the same exact position you initially applied for, but your skills are quite likely useful elsewhere in the organization.” Alternatively, you may have come in at a very close second to the person who was originally hired — meaning you have a leg up if the same role opens up in the future.

“Everybody who makes the so-called ‘short list’ for a position, likely meets most of the preferred requirements that the organization was seeking. So those applicants might well get a second shot if a similar position opens up at some point in the future,” says Timothy G. Wiedman, retired Associate Prof. of Management & Human Resources at Doane University. But you don’t want to pester recruiters non-stop, or continually apply to positions that aren’t the right fit for you. If you’re going to come back from a rejection, you need to be strategic about it. Not ready to give up on your dream company just yet? Try these tips, and you might just find that the second time’s the charm.

Act Graciously

You may be feeling hurt at the time, but the last thing you want to do is throw a hissy fit at your rejection. “Many companies almost, de facto, treat the first application as something akin to a test. Therefore, how you respond is important,” says Success Strategist Carlota Zimmerman. So instead of sulking, you need to swallow your pride, thank the company for interviewing you, and leave the option open for communication down the line. If you’ve made a connection with a recruiter or hiring manager, “reach out to [them] within a day” of your rejection and “have some empathy for them. Especially given that you’ve been rejected, I’d suggest sending them a thank you note for all their time and support, stressing why you’re still interested in the company, and then take a step back.”

Find Out Why

If you haven’t already done so, now is your chance to ask for feedback on exactly why you didn’t get the role while it’s still fresh in their minds. “If your personality, values and goals aren’t aligned with the business, it becomes a bit more difficult,” says Jamie Finnegan, Head of Talent at personal finance comparison site, But “if you get rejected from a company due to lack of experience or a particular skill set, this is the best news you can get (other than getting the job, of course). This means you can develop whatever it was you were lacking at the time and be hired later on down the track.” Try to press for specifics as much as you can — the more detailed the feedback is, the more concrete of an idea you have about what steps you need to take to make a comeback.

Work on Your Weaknesses

Once you’ve heard back about exactly what you need to fix, it’s time for a little self-improvement. “The first step is to take the feedback on-board and proactively try to increase and diversify your skills based on this,” Finnegan says. Try taking classes (either online or in-person), networking with those who have experience in the area you’re interested in, or finding a way outside of work to grow those skills. For example, if you want to gain more experience in marketing, offer to take on some marketing responsibilities for a non-profit, club, or organization you’re involved in. But keep in mind that you can’t just put in a few weeks of work and call it a day. “Typically, for someone to attain a particular skill set or experience, it can take anywhere between 6 to 24 months,” Finnegan shares. “Some skill sets you can build quicker than others, depending largely on the dream job you’re after. For example, a UX course for an entry level job would take much less time to acquire than building the experience needed for a CEO or executive role.” You don’t need to hold yourself to any particular timeline, but “you want to aim to have added to your resume before applying again. Once you feel like you’ve reached that level,” you can consider applying to the company again, Finnegan explains.

(Source: Emily Moore, Glassdoor)

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