Rejected! Ouch! Four ways to interpret the meaning of “No.”

Pic of woman giving a thumbs downIf you have never suffered rejection, (Believe it or not some of us haven’t!! What’s up with that?) I hope you never will. Most of us have suffered rejection at some point in our lives. From the young love who dumps us to the job interview that bombs, rejection brings us dashed hopes, confusion, embarrassment, and a big question mark: “Why?”

Leave it to Winston Churchill to give us a pick-me-up after rejection. “Success is stumbling from failure to failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” When we’re close to giving up, perhaps because of a few rejections in job search, let this be a mantra. Then, take an objective look at your interviews, and forge ahead.

What you need after rejection is a change in perception about what rejection means. It’s usually not just about “No.” Consider this action plan to heal your ego, and then come out swinging:

First, if you want a benchmark for your rejection rate, this published author would like to remind you of the number of times writers suffer rejection. (Like, constantly!)Then there are filmmakers, actors, basket ballplayers,(Michael Jordan figures he blew 9000 shots.) and Colonel Sanders. Realize, like sales, every time you’re rejected you’re closer to “yes.” It’s a numbers game. Rejection gives you the impetus to hone your interview presence.

Second, debrief interview specifics with an experienced job search coach. It’s an objective review. Perhaps you didn’t crash and burn. Every interview has a backstory that can drive results.

What if one interviewer didn’t want to participate but was told to? Couldn’t their disgruntled disinterest skew the results?

What if there’s a company employee who’s been promised the job, but corporate executives want to “go through the outside interview process” before giving him/her the title? Imagine their angst about a potentially stellar outside candidate who shuts them out? Either way, bodies will litter the playing field.

Next, take a look at what rejection really means. It rarely means you’re unqualified, and holds valuable lessons for your next interview. Tom Hopkins, author of When Buyers Say No, (You’re selling yourself!) says in Success magazine, the message of a “no” can be one of these things:

  • Could the interviewers be confused? Maybe they’re not sure about what you bring to the table. Could you be more concise in your next interview?
  • Is now not a good time? If a work issue demands grinding days and pressure is on the interviewer, perhaps he/she can’t focus. You might be a great candidate, but they’re too distracted.
  • Do the interviewers like you, but aren’t sure? Maybe there’s a small thing about you giving them hesitation. Perhaps you were closer to acing the interview than you think.
  • Is there a back story? See “debriefing” paragraph above.

Finally, Perhaps it is you. Ouch! However, you’ve probably interviewed people who weren’t the right candidates! Give it your best shot next time.

Tom Hopkins says, “no’s” let you create new pathways to where you want to go. I like the expression, “When one door closes, another opens.” An open door awaits you. Go find it!

A Fast “Top Ten” List for Interviewing Success

A really quick, really smart guide to preparing for what a Hiring Manager wants to see!

Okay, you’ve dotted all your “i”s and crossed all your “t”s. You’ve made it to the interviewing round! Now, you get to meet the elusive mortal – the hiring manager. Here are ten things you MUST do to make a great first impression and outshine your competition. Interviewee shaking hands with hiring manager

#1 Show enthusiasm. It’s the key to a great interview. A positive attitude is a reflection on what your personality will bring to the working environment. Show you are alert and excited about this opportunity.

#2 Dress the part. When you dress the part, it’s easy for the hiring manager to visualize you as his or her newest employee. If you need some guidance on how to professionally dress for an interview, download the FREE Power Connections Professional Attire Guide for a more detailed description of what’s acceptable in today’s working environments.

#3 Master the handshake. It’s your first contact with hiring managers, so make sure you give a firm handshake while looking into their eyes. Of course you’ll be smiling during this first interaction! A firm handshake signals you mean business, that you’re confident, and you’re willing to take charge.

#4 Be extra courteous to EVERYONE! You honestly don’t know who might be watching the “newbies” as they come through the door and sit in the waiting area. Smile at those who walk past, say hello when appropriate, and be mindful that you might be on a security camera. You can bet a hiring manager will ask the front office staff who the courteous candidates were for that day.

#5 Show “R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Find out what it means to me.” Offer a professional greeting by standing up straight and addressing people as Mr. or Ms., unless told otherwise. A little bit of admiration can go a long way.

#6 Adopt a “can do” attitude. This makes anything possible. If in your interview an obstacle arises, look at it from the “I can” point of view. It’s not who we are that holds us back, but who we think we’re not.

#7 Keep a sense of humor. We’re attracted to happy, optimistic people. When appropriate, offer a clever quip and DO laugh at the hiring manager’s attempt at humor. After all, laughter is the best antidote to calm nerves.

#8 Have a few common interview questions already scripted in your mind so you answer confidently during the interview. Your “Tell me about yourself” answer should not start off with “Uuummmm….”

#9 Know how you can add value to the company once hired. This will require a bit of pre-interview research, but will be impressive to weave into the interview discussion.

#10 Be smart. Be honest. Be yourself. You’ll land the career that’s best for you!

Oh No! The Perspective is All Wrong! Four coachable elements of perspective to give you the edge in your value proposition.

Paint and brushesIn my office you’ll find my very first oil painting displayed. It’s a painting of the charming interior room of a home in Greece overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. I placed it in my office for all to see, not because it’s a great first attempt at learning how to paint, (Trust me, it’s not!) but because it lacks the fundamental concept of perspective, and therein lies its raison d’etre. My bumbling first stab at fine art is an excellent coaching tool.

Truth of the matter is, I think the painting is pretty darn good for my first try. But, to the trained eye there is a glaring flaw to the image. I was not aware of my big faux pas, the lack of perspective in the image, when I announced that I had painted my final brush strokes of the piece to my art teacher. She was the one who made it clear to me what it was missing and how. She explained what I’d done wrong, what I’d done right, what I shouldn’t have done, and how I should have done it.

Ah-ha! The light bulb came on! Until that discussion, I didn’t have a clue. I was totally missing this important element of creating an image. Now, I completely understand this concept called “perspective.”

Here’s where the “novice painting as coaching tool” comes in. When I point to the painting and ask clients to tell me what’s wrong with it, of course they feel like they’re in the hot seat. They compliment me, and state that they don’t see anything wrong. Yes, I know, they’re just being polite.

So, I point to the rug that was painted in the center of the room, and explain the importance of perspective in art. The rug doesn’t have any perspective at all, and yet the rest of the room is painted with perfect perspective. The rug is a problem. It throws off the whole painting. No pun intended!

Job search also needs the critical element of perspective. Take a moment to consider our Power Connections perspective on evaluating YOURS. Here are some things you must be aware of in your own search process:

First, how is your own perspective on how you present yourself?
My team of exceptional Career Consultants meet people all the time who have all the necessary accoutrements required for an effective job search, but miss the importance of perspective in the way they present their value proposition.

Next, your talent lies in the expert way you’ve done your job responsibilities. Perspective in job search might not be your forte’.
Think about how there could be something glaringly wrong with your approach that an untrained eye will never see. But we Coaches see it, and we’ll help you with it. We’re not about criticizing you, but helping you to be the best job candidate you can be!

Third, by missing the perspective in your job search you might create unnecessary challenges.  
It can be tedious to go back and fix the mistakes and get the perspective right, but it can be done. Our Career Consultants enlighten you and train you in improving it.

Finally, perspective can be learned.
You can learn to have excellent perspective about yourself. A good Career Consultant will get you there.

Got Stress? I do, too! Let’s kick its bum!

Although stress is a constant in our lives, it CAN be managed. Did you know that there is “constructive stress” caused by positive events? A good job interview is the perfect example. You’re elated, but totally stressed about the outcome. On balance, it’s good.

Stressed woman draped over credenzaTony Jeary says in Success magazine that stress occurs when challenges in life exceed our coping skills. It can derail our lives professionally and cause burnout. And, dang, it will always be there.

Far be it for me to lie about a lack of stress in my own life. Fat chance. 49% of Americans reported stressful experiences last year, according to a Harvard School of Public Health study. Only 49%? Seriously? 13% reported “problems with work.” For those of you “looking for work,” the percentage could be higher. Uh-huh.

Let’s look at some facts about “good” and “bad” stress that could help you deal with your own in more healthful ways.

  • The gory details are all around us, but let’s look at both sides of the coin.

True, the Harvard study shows that too many responsibilities and problems with finances cause stress. If you’re a job hunter with a family and bills to pay, it’s a double “duh,” right? But, there are some good things you need to hear. First, 3rd quarter stats in the US show that we had an increase in jobs and drop in unemployment. Power Connections CEO Susan Howington says recruiting is up.

Good news, right? Stay focused on thinking about how this news could motivate your search. Let it be a “good stressor” to keep you going.

  •  What’s wrong with us? We’re the most anxiety-laden citizens on the planet.

The Atlantic says one reason is the pressure to succeed. You don’t say? I have flailed around my office in anguish over this, and need to get a grip. Et tu?

Jeary says be clear about your own values and what YOU truly want for yourself, no matter what someone else wants to hear. Ohhhhh, boy. If you can leave the pressure to succeed behind and do what you value, “bad” stress will dissipate. Follow your path. That’s “good” stress.

  •  Aha! I knew it! Worry can kill me!

Note to self: get over it! Achor and Alia Crum, Ph.D. at Stanford say that stress can enhance new priorities, greater appreciation of life and self-meaning. Studies show that folks who learn this experience a drop in headaches, backaches and fatigue.

  •  Relish the “good moments” every day.

While you’re rushing like a hamster on a wheel, stop and enjoy any good moment that happens. Had a great lunchtime? Savor it for at least 12 seconds and it will go to long term storage in your brain. Experts say pondering positive moments creates lasting neural structure. Our neuroplasticity helps us become more positive thinkers.

  •  Coffee with a buddy busts stress like nothin’ else.

Isn’t that great to know? If you want to live a long healthy life by slashing stress with zeal, keep strengthening your relationships, baby! It absolutely reduces mortality and boosts happiness.