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8 tips to handle IT job search rejection

Sharon Florentine | March 24, 2016
Didn't land that dream job? Rejection can be difficult, but there are eight tips for handling the loss and moving forward with your career search.

Even in the booming IT industry with unemployment at historic lows, landing a tech job isn't a given. Making it through several rounds of interviews and technical screenings can make you feel as though you're a shoe-in for the role, only to discover the company's decided you're not the right fit.

"In the IT industry, demand is incredibly high right now, and with that many other candidates, competition is fierce and the pressure is high. It can be devastating if you're passed over for a role, but there are ways to cope and handle rejection gracefully," says Greg Barnett, vice president of Research and Development at The Predictive Index. Here, Barnett shares eight tips for dealing with rejection and moving on with your job search.

1. Depersonalize the rejection

Companies make hiring decisions based on many factors. They may have really liked you personally, but you might be lacking critical experience, a certain technical skill or the right culture fit to fill a role, Barnett says.

"It's quite possible it really is them and not you. The human factor is so important in hiring, and first impressions are of the utmost importance. Even a single awkward moment at the beginning of an interview can color people's perceptions and influence the hiring process — and there's nothing you can do about that except take a 'big picture' view and remember that it's not personal," Barnett says.

2. Do a reality check

As candidates sell themselves to a company, sometimes they over-sell themselves on how great a role would be. That can make rejection doubly disappointing, says Barnett, so you need to be realistic about the pros and cons of a company and a role.

"Identify factors that were likely not to be a good fit, including parts of the job you wouldn't have enjoyed or elements of the culture that would have been annoying. Ask yourself if you were really a good fit for the roles and responsibilities of the position, or if you'd just convinced yourself of that. Make sure you're looking at the reality, not the fantasy," Barnett says.

3. Realize it's their loss

As with anyone who misses out on your talents and abilities, it's best to realize that it's the company who's probably lost the most in this situation. It may sound cheesy, and it may seem difficult to convince yourself of this fact, but you'll go on to get another position. They'll miss out on having you in their organization.

"Companies make bad hiring decisions all the time. It's quite possible they made a mistake in not hiring you. If you really feel you were 100 percent the perfect person for the role and they declined to hire you, well, maybe that says something about the company, and you're better off," Barnett says.


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