“So, here’s the thing…when it comes to job searching, the running joke has always been, ‘If there’s anyone who can find a job, it’s Racquel.’ And, it’s true. I have never been one to be without a job for too long. It’s like I would submit my application, land the interview, and land the offer, just like that. But over time, my luck began to wear out.
It started in 2016 when I had the first of three consecutive terminations. I began to notice how much harder it was to catch the eye of these recruiters. Then, in January of last year, when I lost job number three, I found myself going through a season of rejection. Every single job I applied for, I didn’t get.
I had instances where I would land the phone interview and be promised a second, and then wouldn’t hear anything. Or I would be contacted for an interview, be told that I was considered for a different role, and then have them cancel the interview all together in an email that read, ‘Your skills and qualifications don’t quite fit the needs of this position.’ I’ve also been ghosted in an interview. As in, the person I was supposed to speak with never called at our scheduled time, and to this day, I still haven’t heard from them.
Even the place I was contracting at turned me down from each position I interviewed for. But the catch is, the majority of those roles, they reached out to me for them. They would approach me saying I would be a great fit, and then take me through the entire interview process. And after a week or so with no updates, out the blue, introduce me to whoever they decided to hire.
I’m sure you can imagine the effect that a year’s worth of rejections had on my self-esteem. I began feeling like a failure and questioning if I was even good at anything anymore. It then got so bad I developed a little bit of trauma when it came to looking at my resume, let alone submitting it. I just didn’t want to be rejected again.
Finally, with the help of my therapist in May of this year, I made it my mission to conquer my fear, and start applying again. After receiving the first few rejection emails, I was reminded by my therapist that sometimes the rejections have less to do with me and more to do with the company. So, I kept going until I finally got one email asking to schedule an interview.
Now, this organization was different. The application was fairly simple, just submit my resume and cover letter. Less than a week later, I received a response. On the morning of my interview, I was filled with the fear of them possibly ghosting me or my nerves getting in the way. But none of that happened. It was a beautiful experience.
The conversation was organic, the questions asked focused more on who I am at my core. We even discussed things that are taking place in the world around us. They made me comfortable and at ease the entire time which allowed me to be my most authentic self. I prayed I would move on to the second round. A week later, I received an email saying they wanted to talk to me again. This interview was the same as before, relaxed, easygoing, and stress-free. Following that interview, I just knew the job was mine, and to my surprise, I was asked for my availability for the third and final round.
For this round, instead of it being just another conversation, I had to complete a project, which I was excited to do. I pulled out all of my creativity, surveyed people who closely related to the subject matter, did tons of research, and put a presentation together that I’m still proud of to this day. On the day of, I went in with full confidence, knowing that I would go in and land the job. I had an immense sense of gratitude for them seeing my talents and reminding me of my worth.
The morning following the interview, I sent them the most heartfelt thank you note, letting them know how much I appreciated talking with them, and that regardless of whatever decision they made, I would eternally be grateful for the opportunity and experience. After a little over a week of not hearing anything, I sent an email asking for an update, and later received a call from the Executive Director.
She let me know she couldn’t just email me with their decision and that I deserved a phone call to let me know they decided on someone else. Naturally, I was hurt, but she assured me it had nothing to do with my skills, it’s just that the person they chose presented them with something they didn’t know they needed. She ended the conversation by letting me know how amazing I am, and anywhere I go, they would be lucky to have me.
I walked away with even more gratitude than before. I vowed if the next company I interview with doesn’t offer me the same kindness, then I would politely turn them down. As if this organization couldn’t set the bar even higher, they did. Out of the blue, a month later, I received an email from them thanking me once again for the time and effort that I put into my application, interviews, and final project. They wanted to offer me a stipend of $150 for my dedication to completing the exercise.
I was floored. Never had I ever had a potential employer recognize my time and effort and want to compensate me for it. I just couldn’t believe it. And as someone who had been rejected from every job I applied to for over a year, this meant a lot. It restored the confidence I once lost. It reminded me of my worth. It filled me back up. It showed me there are some amazing companies out there. And it confirmed if I’m ever presented with an opportunity to work with them, I would jump on it because they truly value people and don’t take them for granted.
But it also made me realize how valuable my time is when it comes to the application and interview process, and more employers should do the same. We invest so much of ourselves and our money and are often discarded without a simple thank you or note letting us know they have selected someone else, and it’s wrong. It’s wrong for them to take advantage of our vulnerability by continuously calling us in for interviews or having us complete projects only to be dismissed. Especially for those who desperately need the job.
More employers should respect the process, journey, and investment of applicants and make more of an effort to show their appreciation to them. If this small nonprofit can do it for me, then I know that larger corporations can do the same, if not more.
To anyone who is reading this who has faced countless rejections, who has been put through the wringer when it comes to applying and interviewing, I want you to know you are valuable and worthy. Worthy of your effort being recognized. Worthy of your work being seen. Worthy your time being honored.
Your skill sets are needed and there is someone out there who will see it, so never allow any rejection letter or bad interview experience make you question who you are. Continue being faithful. Continue being intentional. Even if it takes too long, take comfort in the fact that what’s for you will never pass you by.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Racquel Coral of Chicago, Illinois. You can follow her journey on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and her website. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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