Job Rejections: How to Approach This Bad News

By: Together Abroad 29-05-2017

Categories:** HR Trends in Recruitment,
In 2010, when I was actively searching for an organisation I could write my Graduation Assignment for, I made around 180 attempts to join a company where I could add value. These were very different forms of reaching out. Out of these, I received around 10 to 15 responses, which were rejections, and two invitations for an interview. For the rest, it was silent.

I am sure a lot of you can relate to this annoying feeling of investing your time in sending your application out and then receiving no response. The more time passes by, the more frustrating it becomes, especially as more applications are sent out and the responses, mostly, are non-existent. And then when you do receive a response, it turns out to be a rejection. A rejection to your dream job—how do you handle it?

Being on both sides, as a candidate and as an HR professional, helped me realise that a rejection, regardless of how bitter it feels, can and should be turned into an (networking) opportunity. Having another recruiter in your network is a smart move.

In order for this turn to happen, first of all, you need to manage yourself when receiving this bad news, and to handle it professionally. Take a moment to accept the decision of a recruiter – give yourself some time. You might disagree with it, but disagree in a constructive and respectful manner. When you do not get your desired role, there will be another opportunity for you. Maybe even the same recruiter will help you with it.

In my 7+ years of experience in recruitment, occasionally it happens that the candidate does not take a moment to accept this bad news, which results in their frustrations being put out on me. In some of the responses that I have received from candidates, they questioned my professionalism and the quality of my experiences in the field. Such messages come in capital letters, with a lot of exclamation marks, typos, and written in a rude and aggressive way (at least, I perceive it as such). A candidate might be (potentially) feeling better afterwards, however their reaction could ruin their chances to ever join that organisation.

Such behaviour can be “projected” on the work floor, when one does not get a result they were striving for – how would they react, if their reaction to a rejection were like this? You might disagree that these two situations are comparable. However, I clearly see some similarities: managing yourself and remaining professional, also when facing undesired results, is crucial.

Secondly, keep in mind that a recruiter has also invested their time in working with your application. They have reviewed it, took it into consideration, maybe discussed it with a Hiring Manager, asked you some questions, did background research, etc. This takes their energy and time. So thank a recruiter for that.

When dealing with one recruiter, remember that you are dealing with the whole network of recruiters at the same time. Only with your permission or based on your kind request, they might push your CV forward into their network of recruiters. This might lead to another opportunity for you. When you are constructive, professional and show a positive attitude towards less good news, a recruiter might help you get a good opportunity (if not within their organisation, then possibly somewhere else).

Lastly, offer the recruiter to stay in touch. It is always helpful to extend your network. You never know how and when your paths will cross again. Having a constructive and positive interaction can lead to you being considered for similar or different roles within your dream organisation in the future. When a role comes up, you might be considered even though you have not applied for it. The recruiter might just keep you in mind.

As you are the recruiter’s client, the recruiter can also be seen as your client. This is how this relationship needs to be treated. The way you react on a rejection creates or breaks a networking opportunity. Especially when you do not get a response on each of your applications, then cherishing the relationships with the professionals who have responded to you is important. Be respectful, professional and create opportunities out of any situation. This is one out of a number of steps towards success.

Liubovi Bosenko