Dealing with rejection: Staying productive in your role after unsuccessful job interview


 A man holds his head down with ripped job application paper on an office desk. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

For many employees in the corporate world, there comes a time when they decide to search for new job opportunities, often behind their employer’s back.

Whereas it could be to advance their careers or find a more fulfilling position without risking their current job security, let’s face it, not all job applications result in success.

More often than not, many are left in this delicate position of uncertainty and potential disappointment. In these instances, the challenge lies in finding ways to remain engaged and productive in their current roles.

However, Fredrick Komen, a general manager at Mace Food Limited says that the first roadblock in maintaining productivity is when the employee does not know why they were rejected at the interview level.

“This leaves an element of unfinished business. But I would advise an employee to try and get feedback as to why they failed although most companies do not share,” he explains.

However, when all is said and done, Mr Komen suggests that employees should try and keep an optimistic attitude viewing the unsuccessful attempt as a valuable learning opportunity rather than a rejection.

“If you have received many rejections, like I did some time back, take a break. In my case, I took leave and looked at what I really wanted for myself in my career. After self-reflection I realised, I could change my environment from within I did not have to escape.”

Upon soul searching, Mr Komen admits that he realised that he did not like being permanently employed and preferred contractual employment.

“I realised it gives a lot of employers jitters. Yes, you have all the skills required but how sure are we that after three years you will not leave? In most cases, I would tell them that I do not guarantee not to leave after some time. I rectified that by showing more commitment in staying and I became successful in the next interview,” he shares.

Coping with rejection

Milka Murigi, managing partner at Verde Edge Consulting Limited, advises that employees should be very strategic when applying for better opportunities elsewhere.

“Do not just apply for jobs for the sake of it. Look at the job profile and research about the company. Is it something I’m interested in pursuing? Will it grow my career? What type of change am I looking for?”

On the other hand, Ms Murigi recommends employees still give their best in their current places of work despite the fact that they are looking for opportunities elsewhere.

“Though sometimes it is difficult, it is advisable to keep striving to excel so that even if the company does not expand or promote you, you will have left a good legacy,” she adds.

Whereas it’s crucial to ‘keep it under your hat’ during your job search, Ms Murigi points out that this approach also upholds professionalism, particularly in your interactions with colleagues or boss.

“However, during the interview the interviewer can ask you, ‘If I called your boss today, what would they tell me about you?’ Again, for professionalism, you should not say, ‘Please do not call them. I do not want them to know I’m looking for a job,’ But you should always portray a positive attitude and you are in good relations,” she says.

To tell your boss or not?

While the decision to share your unsuccessful job hunt with your boss is not set in stone, Mr Komen argues that the choice depends on the organisation. He adds that how concerns are raised and dealt with during appraisals is an indication of whether or not one should inform their boss.

“I once had a boss, 10 years ago, who I talked to when I got a job interview elsewhere. He looked at the offer, and organisation and told me, ‘Go for it. If you get it that’s okay, if you don’t, we will pick it up from where we left,” he reveals.

Occasionally, within a reputable organisation, if you bring forward an external job offer, Mr Komen discloses that your superiors might provide a counteroffer to retain you if financial reasons are prompting your departure.

Alternatively, if the reasons for your move are beyond their control, they may extend their blessings for your new endeavour. However, the rule of thumb is for the employee to be honest about their next move.

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