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Have you ever applied for a job but weren’t hired? Few people could answer “no” to this question. In fact, our unsuccessful job applications shape our careers just as much as our successes do, as anyone who has ever experienced a job rejection would have a different work history leading up to their present role had the outcome of their initial application been different.

The job market is more volatile than it has been in years, and spiking unemployment rates fueled by a global pandemic have turned the candidate’s market of the past few years into an employer’s market. As businesses slowly begin to reopen, some industries are seeing candidates apply to jobs in record numbers, and since most of these positions will be filled by only one candidate, all other applicants will be rejected.

The fact that most job seekers will apply to several open positions before landing an offer shouldn’t discourage them. Though job rejections are never easy, they are a necessary part of the job search process and can become opportunities for learning, growth, and long-term career success. Let’s look at a few ways candidates can use a job rejection to their advantage.

Ask for Feedback

The best way to improve at anything is to request constructive criticism and advice for improvement from those who are more knowledgeable, and for job seekers, feedback from employers after a rejection can be invaluable. By contacting a hiring manager shortly after receiving a rejection, candidates can glean valuable information on how to improve their interviewing and self-promotion skills, as well as where their experience and qualifications may fall short for their desired role. In addition, they demonstrate their willingness to seek out criticism in order to learn and better themselves, while reiterating their interest in future roles with the company. Though some employers may be reluctant to share feedback due to legal liability, a follow-up feedback request provides candidates one last opportunity to make a positive impression.

Research Successful Employees

After a job seeker’s application for employment is declined, he or she should make an effort to find out who was selected. Though it may take some time, the person who was hired will likely update his or her LinkedIn profile to reflect the new role, enabling them to be found in a subsequent search by title and employer. Also, there may be other employees at the company with the same title, or at other companies with similar titles and job duties. Candidates should study their profiles and identify what knowledge, skills, and experience these employees possess that they lack. They may also choose to connect with these individuals in order to learn from them, network with them, and convey interest in locating and applying to similar roles.

Develop a Plan

Once job seekers are able to identify the qualifications and experience that have made others successful in their desired role, they can formulate a plan. What steps should be taken in order to accomplish the same, and what is the timeline for each? This may be easier said than done. If those who are successful have an advanced degree, certification, or a specific number of years’ experience, the goal becomes clear. However, if those in similar roles were hired based on culture fit, an employee referral, or some other intangible quality, setting a goal becomes more difficult. Regardless, there is always something job seekers can do to better themselves in order to improve their knowledge and skills and gain an advantage over their competitors. It’s up to them to find out what that is, then act on it.

Refocus Your Efforts

One of the opportunities a job rejection provides is the chance to reassess goals and refocus efforts. As mentioned earlier, the reason for rejection may be due to a lack of qualifications or experience, or the reason may be beyond the candidate’s control and it will take several applications and interviews to land a role that is a good fit. However, if a pattern of rejection persists, there may be a disconnect between the candidate’s abilities and his or her goals. Unfortunately, not every goal is accomplishable by everyone, and after multiple rejections, a reassessment may be needed to determine if the candidate’s career aspirations align with his or her strengths and skill set. Job seekers shouldn’t be afraid to ask for advice from a manager, mentor, or career counselor in order to ensure their career goals are realistic and achievable.

A job search can be a long and difficult process, and the outcome often depends upon trial, error, and persistence. Frustration is only natural, particularly in a tough job market, and job seekers often receive advice from well-meaning friends and associates to stay positive and not give up. But persistence only pays off if goals are in alignment with abilities and there’s an actionable plan to achieve them. Employers look to hire employees who seek feedback and take direction in order to improve. Similarly, job seekers should consider rejections as learning opportunities, allowing them to refocus their goals and fine-tune their search. By turning the negative into a positive, candidates can increase their chances of landing an offer, as well as their opportunity for future job satisfaction and success.

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Sally Fletcher
Sally Fletcher

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Sally Fletcher
December 12, 2023

I would highly recommend agilis recruitment to anyone looking for work. I was contacted a few weeks ago by Chris, who matched the skills I have to an opportunity I was unable to refuse. He was professional and knowledgeable, but also friendly and down to earth. With quick response times, he was able to answer every question I had about the role whilst selling my skills and personality to the company before I had even met them. The input form Chris throughout the process, not only made everything easier but also it took the pressure off massively. I am very grateful. Thank you.

Jon Ives
December 11, 2023

Chris has done a great job for me. It's most refreshing to have a recruiter that both understands the role being recruited and listens to the candidate's requirements and concerns. Top marks!

Michael-William Kelly
December 2, 2023

It was great to work with Chris at Agilis to find my new role. He was always on hand to guide me through the process and make sure I was fully briefed prior to each interview. I would happily use Chris to find me a job... although I'm very happy where I am now! M-W Kelly

Eric Edge
October 31, 2023

Had a top experience with Edd. Sorted me 3 interviews with my preference of company, landed a role very quickly after. Professional + Friendly guy, would recommend.

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July 17, 2023

An excellent recruitment experience. From the initial contact and throughout the interview process, Chris and his team excelled. I can highly recommend this agency.

Brendan Dodge
May 15, 2023

Chris from Agilis recruitment was fantastic. Professional and friendly; from providing the role, to the level of contact throughout the process.

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May 15, 2023

Edd was great, I had some bad experiences with recruiters whilst looking for a new role but Edd restored my faith!

March 29, 2023

Chris at Agilis was professional throughout the entire process and was always available to discuss any concerns. He also made sure to only flag roles that I would have a genuine interest in. Thanks again Chris!

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March 1, 2023

Chris Ellsworth was my recruiter and I was greatly impressed with the level of his assistance throughout the process from start to finish. He provided me with job role applications that were personalised to me based on what I told him I was looking for. If there was any confusion, I was always able to contact him throughout the whole process and ask for clarification which he would then, always happily give. Chris genuinely made me feel that he wanted me to get the role as much as I did and helped me with every step on the way.

subhash d
May 24, 2022

I had a great experience with Ed and Agilis. Found me a job which was the perfect fit and supported me along the way. Thank you so much for the support Ed.

Jessica Stafford
May 10, 2022

Had a great experience with Agilis Recruitment. Ed helped me find the perfect role for me in a great business. He also was very professional, cooperative but most importantly, understood what was important to me and listened to what I was looking for. Thank you Ed!

Arthur Guide
February 25, 2022

Amazing experience with Agilis, a professional company. I have no words to thank Edward. He found a great role for me.

Miles Jarvis
February 5, 2021

I had a great experience with Ed and Agilis. It was great to have a recruiter who understands exactly what his clients are looking for in a candidate. 5 stars!

Damian Marchewka
February 2, 2021

Ed was great, found me a job which was the perfect fit and supported me along the way, solid agency

Nadia Mkinsi
May 27, 2020

Laura is a lovely individual and easily the best recruiter I have ever worked with: proactive without being pushy, professional without lacking sincerity, and most importantly, she genuinely cares about her clients. She was incredibly conscientious in understanding my background and aspirations, and matched me with a role I WAS really excited about. I knew I was in good hands from our very first conversation – and I am happy to say I am a month into my new job and loving it!

Dean Rudge
April 21, 2020

I worked with Ed when securing my role. It was a massive step in the direction I wanted to move my career in and Ed was pivotal in making that happen. I liked that right from the start he was not pushy, he listened to what I had to say and feedback and he kept in regular contact without bombarding me, using the most suitable form of messaging whether it be LinkedIn, Email or a Phone Call. I would highly recommend Ed and the guys at Agilis - keep up the great work guys!

Paul Stonuary
March 30, 2020

A really nice team to do with. Proactive, prompt and supportive - just what you want, but rarely find in a recruitment agency.

Chris Harvey
March 23, 2020

Have found Agilis recruiting fantastic. Cannot rate them highly enough! Give them a go for all recruitment needs!

Harry Ray
March 20, 2020

Laura and Ed at Agilis helped me get placed last year, and Laura was exceptionally accommodating and patient, calling me outside of hours when it was convenient for me and keeping me in the loop about everything that was going on. I'm happy with my role and feel like the guys at Agilis really put time and effort into their work -- thank you!

Tarnea Garvey
March 20, 2020

My experience with Agilis has been great. I found Laura to be incredible helpful and always ensured she remained in contact with me throughout my job search. Thankfully I managed to find a new job through Agilis and the company has turned out to be everything that they told me the it would be! 5 Stars from me!!

Alex Dewey
March 19, 2020

Great experience with Agilis. Following relocating to Bristol I’d found myself having conversations with a couple members of the team. I’d expressed how important it was for me to find the right role but also due to circumstance I needed the process to be accelerated as much as possible. Laura was my main point of contact and managed to find me the best role I’ve ever had in what must be record time. I couldn’t rate their work higher and will definitely be my first point of contact when looking for new opportunities. Thanks again!

Harry Rossiter
March 19, 2020