How Being Rejected Can be a Positive Thing

It’s job interviewing time once again, and an employer with whom you really saw promise, has given you the thumbs down. It’s guaranteed not to be good news, but does it have to be the big bummer we usually make it out to be?

See Also: How to Strategically Handle Job Interview Rejection

While it’s unfortunate that someone said no to you, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. It’s going to hurt for a little bit, but you can get through that initial sting. Then once you’ve slept on it, start looking at the situation with the fresh eyes that know this whole thing might have really been a blessing in disguise.




In case you need someone to talk you off the ledge at this low moment, here are some very good ways that being rejected can actually be a good thing.

Finally, Someone Got Real

From your friends to your family to your lovers, there are too many people out there who think it’s kinder not to tell you the truth. When an employer rejects you, however, it’s a wonderful opportunity to find out some of those truths that the rest of humanity isn’t willing to share with you.

Of course, not all employers are going to come right out and tell you why you were not up to par. Heck, a lot of them won’t even bother to call or email you to let you know that you didn’t make the cut. Instead they’ll just leave you hanging indefinitely, always with a thread of hope that they’re just really taking a long time to get back to you…




If the employer who rejects you, does actually get in touch to let you know that you weren’t the one chosen for the job, don’t waste this awesome opportunity. Be sure to ask the employer for feedback.

It’s not as awkward as it might seem. Say something like “are there any specific things I can improve on to make me a better candidate next time?” or use a simple “how did I do?” Some employers will dart around the issue for fear of some kind of employment law infraction, but others will give you some insight into your performance.

The employers who get real with you and tell you what you need to do are worth their weight in gold.

You’ll Learn Valuable Lessons

Whatever those chatty employers share with you, take note; there’s some serious learning to be had here. Avoid getting defensive and try to assess whether any part of the employer’s feedback is something you can do something about. If this is your dream job and the fact that you didn’t have an easy-to-attain credential was the only thing holding you back, then you’d better go out and get that credential, right?

If, on the other hand, it was a part of your delivery or your personality that was the deciding factor, it gets a bit trickier. You can’t necessarily endeavor to change your entire personality just to fit the mold of a certain job. But then again, there may be other life lessons to learn. If an employer tells you that you were too confident or boastful, you’ll learn to tone it down the next time.

Another thing you’ll learn: Humility. Some people are going to like you, some aren’t. It’s part of being human. No one is perfect and no one is loved by everyone. Deal with it.

Oh, and yet one more thing you might learn about by asking for feedback: Your strengths. Most employers aren’t heartless, and they’ll want to add in a few compliments before or after they’ve told you why they rejected you. It’s that classic “compliment sandwich” — a good thing followed by a bad thing, followed by a good one again. Listen to the good things they say as well as the bad, and then pitch to your strengths during the next job interview you have. These employers have no reason not to tell you the truth, remember — and that means they’ll be honest about what you were good at too.

You’ll Figure Out What You Really Want

When you got rejected, did you feel total disappointment, or was there a moment of relief in there somewhere? If you experienced the latter, ask yourself why. Is it because you really didn’t want the job after all? Deep down you might have known that this wasn’t the path that was going to suit you best and bring out the best in you — but your desire to be gainfully employed, kind of trumped that. The point here is this: When you meet with a lot of employers — and yes, get rejected — you’ll hone your instincts for finding the “right” ones. You’ll learn to identify very quickly what you really want, and the types of workplaces where you feel most comfortable. In that way, rejection has made you more realistic.

Vengeance is a Great Motivator

And ah, sweet, sweet vengeance. If you’re not motivated by the quest to find out what you really want, and you’re not learning anything you didn’t already know from this latest rejector’s snarky comments, then at least you have bitterness and hatred to motivate you. You might just be that type of person. We often hold ourselves back and make excuses for our own failures — but let one person challenge us and we’re suddenly raring to conquer the world.

If you’re the type who takes things like this really personally, then this rejection may make you try harder the next time around, simply to spite the employer who rejected you. In the best-case scenario, you’ll end up getting a job for a competitor, where you’ll be able to think of each action you’re taking as a way to get back at that evil employer who rejected you.

What Doesn’t Kill You…

Your mom probably said it to you time and again — but it is true that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. When you’re finally employed at a place that you love and you’re doing just the thing that’s going to make you happy, you will look back on this time and give yourself a pat on the back for earning it. You went through the fire, got burned a few times, but emerged a phoenix…and stuff.

See Also: How to Ask for Feedback after a Job Rejection

It’s not always you, remember?

When it really comes down to it, you can’t even take most employer rejections seriously at all. There are far too many instances in which a person got rejected simply because the office manager’s buffoon of a cousin needed a job, the human resources manager was having a bad day the day she interviewed you and hated everyone she spoke to, or some other complete randomness. They say it in dating, and it’s true in job hunting as well: Too often, it’s not you, it’s them.

If the employer has given you feedback, continue to think about the parts that you can really do something about, but also fling off any trivial stuff as not your responsibility to worry about.

If you’re really starting to get down in the dumps about this latest round of rejection, go out and do something you love, try to forget about it all, and when you’re ready, go out and use your energy to move forward toward that next really great opportunity.

Have you ever been rejected? How did you handle it? Let us know in the comments section below.