Handling rejection

Handling rejection from employers: an autistic perspective

So, you’ve prepped for the interview, showed up, done your utmost and even felt like the interview went OK-ish. The people interviewing seemed friendly and you’re even feeling vaguely positive. But then the dreaded rejection email comes through. Or sometimes it’s just a blanket silence.

However the information is fed back to you, it’s never nice to receive a no.

You are by no means alone here and I’m sure virtually everyone you know will have had this experience. I appreciate it’s so hard to find comfort in this knowledge when you’ve been working so hard to decipher the rather bizarre world of applying for jobs; how to get a CV properly structured, deciphering job descriptions, tweaking a cover letter – and then putting everything together to actually apply for the role. It takes so much time, energy – in fact it feels even harder than doing a full-time job in itself. Well firstly, I’m really sorry you didn’t get the job. I really am. Please do take the time you need to take in all that you may be feeling. It’s never easy nor nice to receive a no from a potential employer. Or anyone/thing in fact.

My hope is that this blog will help you consider other factors and pick you up and get you going again.

A rejection is not personal. It’s really not.

I know being autistic, I almost have this automatic ‘defence sensitivity’ to thinking that that I didn’t get the job (or whatever situation it is), because I’m autistic. And that’s regardless of whether I’ve even disclosed to the employer! Or I have another ten other personal reasons that come to mind. None of which are helpful, I must say. And it only deepens my low mood. But when you’re recruiting someone, all you are looking for is the very best person for the role and fit for the organisation. Recruitment is always such a complicated process, and as an interviewee, there is so much going on behind-the-scenes that you’re simply not privy to. Perhaps there was already a strong internal candidate in the picture, and the interviews were simply a formality. It doesn’t make it OK, but it shows that there’s more to the process than meets the eye. And as long as you’ve turned up, been true to who you are (this is so important) and tried your best, then that really is all you can do. Everything else is out of your control at the end of the day. And none of this is personal.

Ask for feedback

This is a such a practical step you can take, and I’d suggest doing this right away, while you are fresh in the recruiter’s mind. This is sometimes given over email, or it may involve a phone call with the person who interviewed you.

Do take note of this feedback

Feedback is really useful in helping inform your next application and is generally beneficial in guiding you towards roles that are a good fit for you. Always be polite and even ask if it’s OK to connect over LinkedIn, or whether they can let you know if there are similar roles available in the future. The process doesn’t just end with a rejection. Your friendly and positive nature will be remembered. And you never know what could come about in the future.

Reflect and evaluate

Always take the time to reflect on how an interview has gone. What you felt went well and where you could have improved. You can ask yourself broader questions too, like ‘how do I s