I wish I could tell you how many applications, resumes, and job interviews it takes to get a job. For some candidates, it’s only one; for others, it could be hundreds.

But for most of us, the job search process will go on longer than we would like. When we don’t get the first job for which we interview, the rejections will follow – via email, phone, letter or simply by a lack of response at all.

What is the best way to handle it?

  1. Don’t take it personally. It’s easy to decide the hiring manager hated you or had something against you, especially if you’re feeling a bit desperate. He didn’t. He could have found a candidate who was a better fit, been overruled by someone higher up, known another candidate before the process began, or even decided not to hire right now. You’ll never know why, so choose to be positive.
  2. Don’t let it invalidate you. Your strengths are still your strengths and so are your skills. No hiring manager should be able to make you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing. You still do, even if your skills weren’t the right fit for that opportunity.
  3. Walk away right away. Your job at your interview wasn’t to get the offer; your job was to do well at the interview. Did you do your job? Now let it go and let the results be what they will be.
  4. Evaluate. Take a look back at the interview before you forget the details and make sure you know where you did well and where you would like to improve. Let every interview be a learning experience.
  5. Know you are not alone. There are thousands—nay millions—of people out there every day, just like you, looking for the perfect role. They are all interviewing. Some get offers and some do not. Get in touch with people in your network who are in a similar situation, ask for support, and give some yourself.
Rejection is always hard to take but is inevitable at times. The more information you gain from the experience, whether it ends positively or negatively, the better off you are. The more you know, right?

Wendy Stackhouse, for Artisan Creative