You were just given the news. The boss called you into their office or you received a telephone call. Someone else was given the job you wanted. How will you handle the disappointment?
Much has been written about getting the right job. There are books, seminars and counselors who specialize in helping you attain the job of your dreams. This article will focus on what to do immediately after the event.
Your reaction to bad news may surprise you, especially if you did not consider not getting the job. This became clear in our Presidential elections. The objective is to prepare for getting the job, but you should have a Plan B or Plan C, just in case the unthinkable happens.
It is important to anticipate bad news and respond with professionalism. How you respond may put you in a better position to land the next job. Many times the way you handle disappointment will demonstrate your character and impress someone enough to keep you in mind for another assignment.
1. Ask for specific feedback
If you are to be more competitive in the next interview you need constructive feedback. This feedback should be able to be converted into goals. Ask for more tangible feedback than, “You did a good job.” “Just hang in there” and “Something will come your way, it is a matter of time.”
Many people are reluctant to give solid feedback because they are afraid of being sued or causing ill will by hurting someone’s feelings. They do a grave disservice to the applicant if they have specific information and decide not to give it. Additionally, some people may not have developed the expertise to give quality feedback. You will have to press them for specifics and guide them by asking for feedback is specific areas with specific examples.
2. Be open to the truth
If you ask a question you must be able to live with the answer. Feedback that is factual and delivered in a truthful and caring manner is invaluable to your growth and development. Jack Nicholson in the movie A Few Good Men hurls the phrase while under cross-examination that “you can’t handle the truth.” This must not apply to you. Self-examination and honest introspection may help you anticipate the words of the interviewer. Sincere feedback must be accepted graciously and implemented. It must not be viewed as vicious criticism given in a defensive environment.
3. Search for reasons you can control
Be careful not to rush to or land on a reason that you can’t control. There is nothing worse than being denied a job and feeling helpless to improve your chances. Be patient and don’t rush to play the age card, race card or the gender card or any other card that you can’t change. If you are denied a job because of discrimination you have a right to pursue legal recourse, but let’s not rush to that assumption when there are other reasons that may preclude you from getting the job.
4. Be open to growth assignments
Do not be so narrow in your perspectives that you eliminate other assignments that could strengthen your portfolio and therefore your chances of getting your desired job. Oftentimes, companies may not want to take a risk on a candidate, but if that person has a breadth of experience in other jobs, it minimizes the risk. Another advantage of additional assignments is that they increase your knowledge of the company and increases the number of people who can validate the quality of your work.
Analyze other assignments not from the viewpoint of can you do them, but what can they do for your future. It may be just the job you need to convince management that you have what it takes to get the job you want.
5. Increase your contacts through networking
People rise in their careers in part, due to the number of people familiar with my work. In many conference rooms across the nation succession planning committees gather to determine who will move up the corporate ladder. The more votes you have around the table, the better your chances for advancement. Contacts made at company functions or industry meetings may be invaluable. Inter – departmental teams are an excellent place to volunteer because in today’s matrix organization you need to learn to work with others who may not be reporting to you. There are networking events on social media sites and organizations you can join to help you meet people who may become helpful in your career.
6. Don’t make impulsive decisions and burn bridges
Control your emotions. Don’t make a hasty decision to quit or say something destructive. You must thoroughly analyze your situation. There is an abundance of quality talent on the open market. As with any relationship, take the time to reflect on what transpired.
A rash decision may hamper career development. If it doesn’t work out, rather than stay to work on their skills, people leave and go to another company. They may get more money, which makes their decision look good. However, if there is any area needing improvement, it really should be addressed as soon as possible or it will come back to haunt them, as history repeats itself.
The worst time to look for a job is when you are upset. Your judgment may be impaired. You may strike out with an I-will-show-them attitude and not evaluate all of the particulars of the new offer. As in a relationship, you should not evaluate options when you are angry or disappointed. You do not want to look back regretting an employment decision made without the benefit of a reasonable cooling-off period.
The corporate world is shrinking. One cannot afford to leave under bad conditions, because the bad blood shown to an employer can come back to haunt you.
7. Accept losing to a better candidate
Sometimes the level of competition is so steep that management is in the enviable position of having more talent than it can use. This is no consolation for someone who has worked hard for the job, but it is a fact of life. The timing may not have been right or someone had a better relationship with the decision maker, which served as the tiebreaker. There is also the possibility that you had a bad interview. An interview is like an audition. Academy Award winners and those possessing a Tony Award for the stage have lost out on key roles because they had a bad audition. You may do your best and still not get the job. The important take away is that you did your best. It is important to accumulate a variety of experiences and interests, because you never know what will be the tiebreaker in intense interviewing scenarios. You will be the better candidate in the next round of interviews.
8. Model the right behavior
Your employer is not the only person observing your behavior. Colleagues and others within the organization will want to know how you handle the pressure of not gaining an assignment. This is a perfect opportunity to model the characteristics of a team player and someone patiently awaiting an opportunity by striving to improve every aspect of their performance – a model not a martyr. If you are persistently passed over with little or no feedback or receive insincere contradictory commentary, you may have to make a decision to go where they may appreciate your talents.
Accepting bad news is never easy. We don’t like rejection. This fact is wired into our genes. There are factors in acquiring a job that may be beyond your control and the timing may not be right. You should, however, do everything within your power to ensure that you are ready for interviews, from the standpoint of skills and experience. If you do not get the job, the answer may not be “no,” it may be read as “not now.” The moments immediately after this discovery may lead you toward landing the job that you really want.
Copyright © 2012 Orlando Ceaser