How to Efficiently Assess Job Rejection

Job rejections only: The ego suffers

The reasons are often the same. Of course, the decision was not made against you, but for someone else. Or there is a rejection because the position is not filled after all. The reasons are rarely concrete. This is a very frustrating experience for everybody.

However, how can you maintain healthy self-confidence if only job rejections come? At some point, the ego suffers. You feel pushed back, rejected, not valued. While others pass you by, one rejection after another flutters into your mailbox.

Moreover, the content is often the same: instead of a sincere explanation, more details are avoided. This makes it more difficult for the applicant in two ways: On the one hand, a diffuse feeling of non-conformity remains. On the other hand, you never know exactly why it was: Was the other better or did he make an obvious mistake, but nobody tells you about it? If the latter is the case, the rejected candidate has no chance to do better in the next application.

Such behaviour is not particularly fair to young career starters because they depend on experienced industry experts to explain the reasons to them.

Only job rejections? These are the reasons

Especially those who have made it to the job interview, sometimes already think they have reached their goal – after all, the application cannot have been so wrong, the qualifications seem to have fit the job. Depending on how your preparation and self-reflection went, there are various reasons for this. The most common reasons we have here are why applicants only get job cancellations:

You have prepared badly.

The most apparent reason why you only get job cancellations is lousy preparation. However, if this has happened to you several times, you either don’t seem to be particularly capable of learning, or you should check your work ethic. On the one hand, typical interview questions keep coming up so that you can prepare for them. On the other hand, a company expects the applicant to signal his interest in his potential employer – otherwise, he has little reason to hire you.

You are too inflexible.

What does your search radius look like? Some applicants are almost stuck to the clod. In Europe, even university graduates often want to return to their home town. On the one hand, this is understandable; on the other hand, it does not always make sense. If, for example, you are interested in industries that are underrepresented in a particular region, it makes no sense to apply only within that region. The more flexible and mobile you are, the better your chances will be.

You serve as a pretext.

It is not unusual for jobs to be advertised publicly. At the same time, however, there are already internal candidates who would also fit the job well. For external applicants, this means that they go through the same application process as everyone else, with the big difference that they never really had a chance. That’s frustrating, but it can’t be changed.

You do not fit the company.

This is a highly individual thing, but unfortunately, it cannot be changed: Maybe you just don’t fit into the team. This may be due to your nature – too introverted, too extroverted – perhaps an older or younger person is being sought. Alternatively, you have already asked critical questions during the interview, so that the HR manager is afraid of bringing an uncomfortable spirit into the house with you.

You are overqualified.

Some jobs are pompous in their descriptions, but also employers cook only with water. If he realizes that you are overqualified, this can fuel fears: the fear that you will be on and off at the next best chance. Alternatively, the fear of you sawing at the boss’s chair.

You had higher salary expectations.

The question of salary is sometimes already mentioned in the cover letter, at the latest during the interview. Of course, salary reports can be used in advance to clarify which salaries are usually paid for a job like the one you prefer. This is an excellent opportunity for you as an applicant to state a realistic sum. Nevertheless, depending on the size of the company or the budget, it may be possible that your ideas differ significantly from those of the company.

You have “sold yourself” poorly.

You have answered all questions properly, are polite, correctly dressed and interested – and yet only the job rejections come. One reason for this could be that you have presented yourself poorly. In your desire not to do anything wrong, you’ve lost corners and edges of your personality.Instead, the nervousness may have come out stronger. This is not necessarily a mistake, but rather a question of practice.

Need for clarification

At the end of the interview, ask your interview partner any questions you may have. This is about the spoken word, which means that companies may be less hesitant to describe their impression that if you have a statement in an e-mail or on paper. Make it clear that you would appreciate asking questions now if, for example, there were ambiguities on any point. The answers you then receive can provide valuable hints on what you should work on in your next self-presentation.


As stupid as it may sound, practice makes perfect. This does not mean that you should take on further unsuccessful job interviews and only job cancellations, but that you will get closer to your goal with practice. For this, you can ask a friend or coach to go through the typical candidate situation with you. The more often you learn to talk freely about yourself, the easier it will be for you in the job interview. This also allows you to measure the time you need for which information. You can prepare a small and a more extended presentation for the self-presentation part, i.e. about three and ten minutes respectively.


The ideal case is still to ask the HR manager directly for input in case of rejection: Even if you will not always be successful, it is worth asking by telephone, because the answers can be a good help for you. Another way to find out why is to use professional networks such as Linkedin. Compare the profiles of those employees who are in the same or a similar position to your intended job with your profile. What do these employees have to offer, what do their CVs look like, what are their differences?

How about you? Have you been rejected applying for a job and what are the reasons you may come up with? What makes you keep trying? What motivates you to re-assess your application for good?

Share your thoughts and experience with us and reach out to Vaclav Sulista for career coaching and training.


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