A few years ago data science was quoted as being the sexiest job of the 21st century.
That flattering title has followed the profession ever since and when you add that together with high earning potential and the opportunity to work on super interesting game-changing projects, it's no wonder data science has become one of the most desirable professions on the planet.
While the industry is still being plagued by a shortage of talent, the route to landing your data science dream role almost never follows a straight line.
You have arrived for that first stage interview fully confident about your abilities, aced the technical test and showcased yourself as an overall wonderful human being. However, upon checking your emails a few days later, you read the dreaded words "we regret to inform you" or something to that effect.
These are unquestionably the hardest ones to take as you felt like everything was 100% going your way and suddenly it's all over. We understand that this can be tough, so here are some things to keep in mind when dealing with rejection.
1. You can do everything right and still not get an offer
Sometimes, no matter how well you think you did, someone was just a little bit more impressive than you. You shouldn't dwell on rejection, particularly if the reason for your rejection was something which you had absolutely no control over.
Maybe you were beaten by somebody who did just as well as you in all three or four interview stages but had a little bit more experience than you did or it was decided that one small trivial element meant that it was just not your day.
It happens all the time, so try to take feedback like this as encouragement rather than a disheartening blow.
2. Keep your options open
So you have got yourself an interview for your dream job with your dream company and subsequently decide to neglect, cancel or ignore completely all other job prospects in the hopes of landing the role. This is a natural reaction. However, there are some things to consider before making this decision.
Firstly, if you put all your eggs in one basket like this after time spent speaking with recruiters, tailoring your CV, preparing etc. and it doesn't work out then you have to go all the way back to square one and more importantly you have wasted your own time.
Secondly, once you voluntarily leave the hiring process of a company, you may burn your bridges with them forever and if not at least for the next three to four months. Your misery is compounded because not only have you lost out on your first choice, you rather naively abandoned your second and third choice as well.
Don't do that to yourself. Keep your options open; This will soften the blow of the initial rejection.
3. Did you think it was going to be easy?
You may be one of 50 applicants applying for the same role who have the same or better credentials to you. Most companies with legitimate and experienced Data Science teams craft the interview procedure rigorously to carefully measure the analytical and problem-solving abilities of the candidate.
If the interview was easy that would throw up red flags on that company. Data science interview processes need to be tough to really evaluate who the best candidate is. So learn from each failure and do better next time.
4. Respect the prep
A lot of the time, we see some of the very best candidates miss out on opportunities due to lack of or poor preparation. Don't let a 'know it all attitude' get in the way of you landing your dream job. There are countless resources online that can guide you on best practices when preparing for your next interview.
You could be a complete data science maverick but if you are not able to effectively market your skillset to the hiring manager, you will always struggle to get that offer. After however many years earning your masters and a few more honing these skills in the industry, for your own sake, give up a few hours of your time to prepare yourself for an interview.
If you are reading this article fresh off the back of rejection, be honest with yourself and think did you really prepare as best you could?
On a final note, this process might take several months to bare the outcome that you want. However, if you learn from each rejection and improve your interview skills each time, you are sure to get there in the end.