The best rejection ever

best-rejection-ever

The worst rejection I ever had went something along the lines of this: “Sorry, I’m so sorry, you were really, really good but you’re unsuccessful today”, and the whole conversation lasted under one and a half minutes. After an enlightening job-hunting chat with a new colleague, I found that I wasn’t the only one that had been given that very same, very vague, very apologetic, no. How is one supposed to respond, apart from wallow that you are one step further back from being employed? I don’t know about you, but in most situations, I appreciate closure, feedback and constructive criticism. And in this situation, I really wanted something more. A message like that leaves me frustrated and confused… thank you for telling me that I didn’t get the job, even though I was really, really good. Guess I had to be really, really, really good? Cue my bed, chocolate and Netflix, remedies for the #worstdayever.

But the best rejection I ever had left me feeling positive, empowered and special, #bestdayever! I know, who would have thought rejection could feel so good? The phone called lasted about 15 minutes, and after the initial pleasantries, I was told I didn’t get the job. There was no mucking about. However, in the following minutes, my could-have-been-but-never-will-be employer explained to me what they liked about me, why I didn’t get the job, who did, and offered me some priceless feedback and general loveliness in (what would typically be) an unlovely time. All because I asked for a little feedback about my interview.

1. What they liked about me: My positivity, energy, and presence at the interview. My willingness to learn and eagerness to get my foot in the door. My curiosity, and my interest for the job on offer, and the industry.

This was honestly so uplifting to hear, as it was exactly what I wanted to portray. A lot of smiling and the #fakeituntilyoumakeit philosophy can go a long way when you’re (more than a little) nervous.

2. Why I didn’t get the job and who did: I ticked the boxes for passion, background and personality. The person that was successful ticked more boxes in specific industry experience, and skills. They had worked in a similar role before. While they would have been happy to train me, it made more sense, and was a better use of resources to invest in someone that would be ready to go. I was the runner up to the role

Missing out because of inexperience sucks, but since it wasn’t a specific graduate or entry role, I expected it and accepted it. For me, it was a bonus that they even considered me!

3. The priceless feedback and advice. I interview well, and am an approachable, open person. Although young, I come across mature and grounded. Don’t apologise for lack of experience, you’re a graduate and new to the workforce so it’s not your fault. Speak slightly slower. Brush up on Excel so you can confidently say you can use it.

Can’t I just brush up my lying skills…? And noted on slowing down, when-I-am-nervous-or-excited-or-both-I-run-my-words-together-and-ramble-on-and-on.

4. General loveliness. I hope that someone opens that door just enough for you to get your foot in, because I know you will go far and get what you want. I’m just sorry that today, it can’t be us.

My response was simply a very heartfelt thank you, for their time, feedback and transparency.

I didn’t get the job, but I was more than ok with it. As I hung up the phone, I didn’t feel deflated like I had all those other times. Instead, I felt ready to send in more applications, and ready to rock more interviews because I knew I was doing some things right. Just by serving up a rejection with a little apology, and a lot of honesty, I was given confidence and motivation from the employer, in a situation that would normally bring the opposite.

So a word for employers: if you can spare a minute, please take the time to offer some feedback, even if it’s just one point. It can make a heck of a difference. A word for job hunters: ask for some feedback because you have nothing to lose, and something to gain. That’s if you want it, of course.


As a job hunter, do you want and like hearing feedback, like I do? Or would you prefer to hang up, delete the email, and move on as quickly as possible?

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16 thoughts on “The best rejection ever

  1. Fantastic example of a really good (though not this time for you) employer actually taking their recruitment process seriously and showing their interviewees some respect! You’re absolutely right about asking for feedback, any little bit they can offer can make all the difference for the next interview!

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    1. Agreed! By giving me feedback, I felt they really valued my time, and really considered me as a candidate. Hearing some positive things from them really helped my confidence, but also gave me self-assurance!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I really like this post! I love feedback too and I applied to quite a few jobs when I finished uni but only heard from a few. I hate when some don’t even contact you at all.

    Before my current job at my work, I applied for a different one and I had similar experience like you. Although I didn’t get the job, she took the time to explain why I didn’t and who got it (she was in my class too). She also explained that although I didn’t get it only 4 of us got an interview out of nearly 200 and told me not to be discouraged and to keep trying. I really appreciated that and instead of feeling down like other rejections, I felt pretty good. A few months later I got my job and she recognised me when she saw me in the building and was happy for me. She’s a valued team leader at work and I know why.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I really enjoyed writing it- it was a positive moment I wanted to share to job hunters! I hate that too- you put in time to apply and it just seems like a wasted effort.

      That’s great she gave you that feedback- it definitely would have helped motivate you instead of knock you down. She sounds like a thoughtful, caring employer and person, props to her.

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      1. It is so easy to get discouraged when you’re job hunting. It’s great when you come across a good employer that is willing to provide feedback that will help you instead of just making you feel down. I wish everyone is like her but there are still many places out there that won’t even give you a response which sucks.

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  3. Feedback is crucial – especially if you’re ramming off those applications (as you should) it’s important to make sure every one is worth the effort for you to make and for potential employers to spend time reading! If the employer already considered you and made a decision, it won’t hurt them to explain their reasoning anyhow

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    1. Snow- thanks for taking the time to come by and share your thoughts on my blog! Definitely agreed- every little bit of feedback helps the other applications. You’re right- since the employer had to go through the decision making process, they may as well just share their thoughts!

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  4. Wow, how fantastic! SO MANY applications are often handled without any further contact, and I can’t imagine how disheartening that would be for a candidate. Hearing what you excelled at – and what you could possibly improve on – would be so beneficial, and actually give you some guidance for next time. I’m so pleased that something positive came from this!

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    1. Hi Corrine- thanks for reading and for your comment! I applied for so many jobs and barely heard back from the bulk of them- and I know that sadly, it’s very common these days. This experience was a standout and yes, positive and fantastic- even though it was a rejection!

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  5. I love this post Lennie it’s definitely something I can relate to! What a great thing for them to give you that, and I bet it helped you a lot moving forward from that interview. Feedback is so helpful when you’re desperately hunting for jobs, and even when you’re in a job! I find that employers and colleagues telling me what I do well and what they like makes all the difference, and it helps me feel more confident in my abilities.

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    1. Thanks Chelsea- I love that we’re all a club when it comes to job hunting highs and lows! It really helped- every interview/encounter I was more confident and aware of what I was doing and saying. SO true about feedback in the job- you want to know what you’re doing well, what you could do better (glad to hear you’re rocking it haha!). Passing comments from colleagues always help the most!

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  6. I know that I should get feedback but also kind of fear it! Thankfully I am not on the job hunt but when I am will have to overcome my fear! #futureyopro

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