The Dreaded Rejection

We all hate being rejected, but at one time or another (or many times) we will be faced with rejection in our personal and professional lives.  Recently, I had the experience of having to let people know they were not selected for a position on my team, which completed changed my perspective of rejection.

Remember that feeling after an interview, waiting and wondering if you’d receive that call or if you’d simply be forgotten as if the interview never even happened?  Always that hopeful (and nervous) feeling when the companies’ number actually pops up on the screen, but when the person on the other end gives the bad news those feelings quickly turn to disappointment.

Having had several of the aforementioned experiences with rejection, I never really considered how the person on the other end of that phone could be experiencing the same amount of anxiety as me, though for different reasons.  That is until my recent experience where I had to do just that…only my experience was face to face rather than over the phone, so I had to actually see the excitement turn to disappointment in a matter of seconds.

When the day came where I had to be the bearer of bad news for a position we were hiring for within my team, I was filled with
dread.  I realized what it’s like to be on the other side of the table (or phone) and neither spot is fun to be in.  Having to disappoint people is hard, but I do believe in being courteous enough to let the person know the decision and even provide them with feedback that may help them in their next interview.

No one likes rejection and it would be so much easier to just avoid it like the plague, but in doing so we miss an important opportunity to learn and grow from these experiences.  A few key things I learned from
this experience:

  1. Call or talk in person rather than sending some
    generic letter.
  2. Let people down with dignity.
  3. Provide feedback, if possible.
  4. Always leave a good impression of you and your company.

What are your thoughts on rejection: Would you rather know or not know?  Is it easier giving the news or hearing the news?

photo credit


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