I know there’s no point in taking it personally when you’re rejected for a job. When I do get rejected, I can usually come up with a reason why I wasn’t a good fit, even if I’d been excited about it previously. For example, one time I realized that the interviewer sounded like they really wanted someone with a particular skill that I don’t have. Another time I was pretty sure they had an internal candidate on the team who they wanted to promote.
But I’m not sure how to deal with rejection when I genuinely thought the job would be an amazing fit for me, and yet I didn’t get an offer. This has happened a few times lately. In one case, I was a perfect match for the qualifications listed in the ad and the interviewer seemed enthusiastic about working together … and then I didn’t even make it to the final round of interviews.
It’s one thing when I can see the reason I might have been rejected, but if an employer decides I’m not “good enough” for a job that matches me perfectly, how will I ever get hired anywhere?
You’re falling into the very common trap of trying to read too much meaning into the results of your job applications. Hiring processes tend to be frustratingly opaque to candidates, and when you combine that with how high the stakes feel if you’re really interested in the job, it’s natural to try to read into whatever the outcome is — and to draw conclusions about yourself along the way.
It sounds like you’re thinking of getting hired as pass/fail: If you’re good enough, you’ll get the job. And if you don’t get the job, you’re not good enough … and possibly a horrible failure in general.
But that’s not how hiring works. You could be someone who the hiring manager would be delighted to hire, but another candidate just ended up being stronger. That doesn’t mean you suck — in fact, if that person hadn’t been in the applicant pool, the job might have gone to you. (That’s frustrating in a different way, of course — but it’s not a referendum on you in the way you’re currently thinking.)
Frankly, it’s impossible to know from the outside what’s going on behind the scenes in a hiring process.
For one thing, hiring isn’t always as strictly merit-based as you might think it is. There are the obvious exceptions .... Read the rest of the article