No one likes to be turned down. I think even if we deep down know we aren’t a “good fit” for a job, it still doesn’t feel good to know we weren’t chosen. What’s wrong with me that I’m not invited to the party?

And now you are interested in that job and you come away from an interview with hopes that you left a strong impression of your talents and desire to join the company. “It went well, “, we think. Then, the call or letter (probably email) arrives saying “we’ve selected another candidate…thank you for applying”.

Self-doubt, feelings of failure, anger and despair might show up. Confidence may take a dive if not sooner, then later.

If unattended these negative states of mind may find a room in your house and never leave. In this room, these tiresome guests always keep the lights ON, reminding you that, “BTW, You failed to get an offer last time when you felt good about the interview…… Can you trust that this time will be any different?”

Enthusiasm wanes and you find yourself avoiding the job search, not following up on tasks related to finding work and generally doubting your abilities. So tiring.

The light in that room stays ON and you need to turn it OFF. It seems simple to do and yet, even if you shut the light off, it lights up again.

In this article, we’ll look at 5 Ways to overcome and embrace (well maybe appreciate) the obstacle of “getting turned down” as a NORMAL part of the job seeking process.

Ways to appreciate “getting turned down” during the process of finding the job you love…

1. Normalize failure first

Anyone who is job searching is vulnerable to being turned down.  It’s part of the process.  There are always winners and losers.  Indeed, if you don’t play there’s no chance of winning.  Failing to get the offer doesn’t mean you are a failure.  It means that you failed to get the offer.  That’s it.  Story over.

2. Develop a growth-mindset

Carol Dweck, PhD, a researcher at Stanford University and author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success discusses the difference between a “growth mindset” and “fixed-mindset”.

When using a growth-mindset, challenges are embraced, obstacles are faced, effort is more not less, learning occurs because of criticism and inspiration happens when others succeed.

The fixed-mindset is characterized as “static” with tendencies to avoid challenge, give up easily, view efforts as pretty much a waste of time ignore useful criticism and feel more or less threatened by the success of others.

Choose growth-mindedness.

3. Create an “inner critic free zone”

For example, if the inner critic  is saying, “You’re not good enough, smart enough, or prepared enough”, write it out on a piece of paper or draw a picture that represents those messages.  Let’s say you choose to draw a “dunce hat.”  Put that “dunce hat” picture in a drawer and close the drawer.

You’ve created an “inner critic free zone.”  Acknowledging the inner critic messages is key to creating a free zone for focusing on what matters.

4.  Surround yourself with supportive others

Talk to people who support you or better yet, enjoy a good meal together and accept their encouragement.

5.  Reframe and find the positive

Take time to consider the results from a different perspective than getting turned down.  For example, you put your best self out there, created a new cover letter that you’re proud of, connected with some former supervisors who were happy to write a reference letter .. very.nice 🙂

Here’s Beth’s story~

Beth, a former successful financial executive wanted to return to the corporate world. She made her interests known and received several calls, several face to face interviews but no offers.

She persisted.  Beth applied to a prestigious and competitive position matched to her talents and succeeded to be one of the final two prospects with a great deal of anxious times and doubts.  She nailed the interview and felt her chances were strong. She felt crushed when the offer was made to the other candidate.

Debriefing being turned down (with one of her supportive others), Beth realized her severe disappointment and yet she was successful at reframing the results by acknowledging her ability to get to the final interview and be considered a serious candidate. (which was quite a feat!)

With a growth-mindset, Beth was able to persist despite setbacks during the difficult interview process as well as after she found out she was not chosen. Beth recognized her courage and efforts, ultimately walking away knowing she had done her best.

Here’s the takeaway~

A normal experience of job searching can be getting turned down. Let’s just accept that. It’s a “surrender to reality” opportunity. Not getting an offer for a job is not the same as being a failure. Nurturing a growth mindset, creating an inner critic “free zone”, surrounding yourself with supportive others and reframing will help you take the good and move forward, learning all the way.

You will be able to turn off the lights in that room of negativity that drains the life out of your motivation and becomes an obstacle during job searching.

In conclusion, consider using these 5 Ways to overcome the job searching obstacle of “getting turned down”.

I’d like to ask you…

How have you overcome “getting turned down” during your job searching in the past? What’s helped you the most? What was least helpful?

I’d love to hear from you. Please comment below.