Dealing With Rejection

An unfortunate part of any interview process is rejection. Unless you’re very lucky you’re going to be turned away from more opportunities than you’re offered. Especially when you’re trying to make a particuarly large leap – such as the one from student to professional.

In an attempt to gather some good advice for people who have been rejected from a role I reached out to my LinkedIn network. Not because of any lack of experience on my part but because there are probably people out there who handle it better than I do (seriously the sulking isn’t a good look for anyone).

If you’re on LinkedIn (and if you’re not I strongly recommend you join) then have a read of the question here. However, I wanted to capture some of the advice I got in this post.

Ask for feedback, one of the most important parts of a successful DevOps culture is getting, understanding and implementing feedback into everything we do.

Connect with people, by making connections in the industry we can gain more insight into what goes on in the company you were rejected by.

Apply again, if you can demonstrate you have improved why wouldn’t a potential employer want to interview you again

Kurt

I used to work with Kurt and he’s a good guy. He’s also a DevOps evangalist and hired lots of people himself. I think this is great advice, we’re in an industry where we gather feedback and respond accordingly. Why not do this with your own career? Listen to what the feedback was from the company, look at any weaknesses they highlight and use them to drive your next stage of learning. Kurt wasn’t the only person to stress the importance of taking feedback on board.

A lot of what we do is iterative: try to analyse your performance and work out where you didn’t fully elaborate on something you may feel was obvious or forget to emphasise a key challenge or innovative solution. Assume that people will understand the language you use but not necessarily the details of a technology or situation.

Practice will make talking about yourself, to new people and about your achievements and approach easier.

Nick
Being rejected for a role is never easy. However, it can be extremely useful. Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com

Don’t take it personally. Mope for a day, dust yourself off and don’t get discouraged. Work on any areas you got the negative feedback on (appreciate you don’t always get any). It might just simply be that another candidate just pipped you to the post. If there is only one role, someone is going to lose out and a client will have to nit pick in order to select someone. The worst part of my job is declining someone after an interview, especially if I know they really want it.

Simone from Solo Search

I’ve worked with Simone before and she really knows her stuff. She also understands that sometimes it can be very difficult to seperate clients and sometimes it comes down to things like team fit and how they performed on a single question in the interview. Not every rejection is a huge blow, you never know just how close you were to getting that offer. Don’t get disheartened!

Rejection is rubbish, there’s no two ways about it. But one person saying no does not mean you’re at the end of your journey. Keep going and keep learning! Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

You can drive yourself nuts worrying what you did wrong and the chances are it wasn’t anything that, on a different day, would have mattered.

Michael

Philip echoed this sentiment. Sometimes it’s the smallest things which seperate the successful candidate and the ones who were rejected. Don’t assume that you were nowhere near because you may have very well been a close second.

It’s a bit like asking someone on a date – not everyone is going to say yes, and often they’ll have reasons for doing so that range far beyond “you’re not good enough” or “we don’t like you”.

It can just mean you’re not exactly what the company is looking for at the time – they may be looking for something slightly different next time.

Philip

However, I’ll leave you with an optimistic idea from Nick. He says:

Being rejected from one role gives you the opportunity to accept another that may be better. You may miss out on a job that you thought you would love and end up with one you actually do

Nick

Assessment Centres and Remote Interviews

I’ve written quite a lot over the last few weeks about interviewing and recruitment. Howevever there are a couple of other recruitment techniques I want to mention in an effort to prepare you.

The first of these is assessment centres.

Recruitment takes a lot of time and effort. When you’re recruiting a pool of people, for example a number of junior engineers all at once or perhaps an entire team. It becomes more efficient to combine these into a single recruitment event rather than conducting individual interviews with each candidate.

Assessment Centres are when multiple candidates are invited in together. Photo by ThisIsEngineering on Pexels.com

Aside from the time saving opportunities this also gives the assessors a few opportunities such as seeing how you can undertake a group task and how you interact with people througout the day. Far from being daunting these can be a lot of fun and often give you much more chance to talk to existing members of staff and compare notes with other candidates.

Many people see the other candidates in their assessment centres as the competition, and this is true to a point. After all, there are often only a limited number of vacancies available. However, you should be careful of this mindset. One of the reasons for putting candidates together is to see how they work together and engage with potential peers. If you’re in super competitive mode you’re not going to demonstrate your team work skills to their full potential.

Assessment Centres can take many forms and have many different components. When I’ve run assessment centres we’ve done a presentation to the candidates to tell them about the company and the role, tours of the office, interviews, a written test, a group activity, and a meet and greet where we’ve invited existing employees down to meet the candidates. Try to relax and enjoy the experience as much as possible. It’s a long and exhausting day – but you’ll get a lot out of it.

Another type of interview which has exploded since Covid-19 started rampaging across the globe is the video call interview.

Remote interviews have become extremely common since the global pandemic. Photo by Vanessa Garcia on Pexels.com

With isolation and social distancing the norm today it can be extremely difficult (and unwise) to meet candidates face to face. Because of this many companies are doing video calls to interview candidates.

The rules for a video call are not that different to a regular interview however I will run through a few of the basics for you.

  • Always arrive on time, test technology beforehand if possible and make sure you have a contact number for the company should IT let you down.
  • Consider what you’re wearing. A suit and tie is probably not essential for an interview at home but maybe a football shirt for your favourite team isn’t the best choice either?
  • Consider your background. Imagine you are being interviewed by the BBC (other news agencies are available). Make sure your background is clean and tidy, there isn’t a lot of noice, and you’re well lit.
  • Consider where your camera is. Many people have cameras on a second monitor but remember this is a conversation. You other person wants to feel like you’re looking at them, not staring off distracted in the distance (even if that’s where your screen is). Try to put the camera as close to the interviewer as possible and look into the camera on occasion. For more tips on Non-Verbal Communication remotely check out this post.

And that’s about it. Many of the basics for in person interviewing still apply, but don’t be surprised if you’re not invited to more and more remote interviews as time goes by.

Have you been to an assessment centre or had a video interview? What were your experiences? Drop me a message or comment below and don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss the rest of the series.