Rejection is an inevitable part of life: no matter who you are or what you do, at some point, you’ll encounter it. This universal truth holds especially true in the recruitment space, where rejection is a common occurrence for all parties involved.
As the initiators of the process, recruiters are reaching out to prospective candidates with job opportunities. Candidates may decline an offer, ignore messages, or simply not be interested. And after finding what a recruiter thinks is the purple squirrel, they still have to get past the possibility of the hiring manager preferring another applicant.
On the job-seeker’s side of things, it’s no secret that it takes numerous applications and multiple interviews before landing a job that truly fits their aspirations and qualifications. Rejection is par for the course!
Even hiring teams experience rejection in the recruitment process; they may extend an offer to a candidate, only to find out they were that person’s second choice. All of a sudden, it’s back to the drawing board.
In short, we’re all in the same boat, and nobody likes to be on the receiving end of rejection. The key to moving forward lies in how we handle these setbacks. Regardless of which role you play in the recruitment process, dealing with rejection looks roughly the same.
1. Don’t Take it Personally
The first step in handling rejection is to not take it personally. Remember that different factors, many beyond your control, influence others’ decisions, and those decisions aren’t necessarily a reflection of the recipient. Sometimes, we’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
2. Kissing All the Frogs
Achieving success in the recruitment space is often a numbers game. You may need to face numerous rejections before you find the right fit, regardless of the part you’re playing. Keep a positive attitude, remembering that these processes take time.
3. Adjust Your Strategy Based on Feedback
While persistence is crucial, it’s equally important to adapt your strategy based on feedback. If you’re consistently facing rejection, take the time to analyze what might be going wrong. Be open to constructive criticism and make the necessary adjustments to improve your chances of success. Also, be mindful that you may need to hone your focus in order to see results: though quantity is important, it can’t take the place of quality!
4. Don’t Let a ‘No’ Stop You
Rejection is not the end; it’s merely a temporary setback. Keep in mind that your ‘yes’ could be right around the corner, and a ‘no’ today doesn’t mean a ‘no’ tomorrow. When given the opportunity, stay connected, follow up, and try different angles to get that positive result next time.
As a team of recruiters, we at Pivotal Talent Search are no strangers to persevering through rejection, and keeping these ideas top of mind is crucial to our success! We decided to take it a step further for this year’s team meeting, though, and dedicated time to studying rejection firsthand.
We started with some research, reading Jia Jiang’s Rejection Proof, which covers the author’s journey through 100 days of rejection therapy. Next, we each came up with our own rejection experiments–making requests of strangers, friends, and family alike that they were sure to object to. Our requests ranged from borrowing a stranger’s car to inviting a neighbor to church; no ask was too big or small and each one took us out of our respective comfort zones. We shared our favorite stories live at our annual team meeting, and surprisingly, we found ourselves with more positive responses than expected!
Perhaps the boldest request was a team member reaching out to Jia Jiang himself, asking that he attend our annual team meeting–and if you can believe it, this was another success (shout out to Annette Davis for this one)! We spoke firsthand with the rejection therapy guru himself, leaving us inspired to continue our journeys.
As stated above, rejection is a universal experience, especially in the recruitment space, affecting all parties involved. The key to overcoming rejection lies in maintaining a positive mindset, persisting in your efforts, and being open to adaptation. Remember that rejection is not a measure of your worth; it’s a stepping stone on the path to success. So, whether you’re a recruiter extending offers, a job-seeker searching for the perfect position, or a company looking to hire, keep moving forward, and your ‘yes’ will come your way when the time is right.