Sometimes, Rejection Is The Best Filter

Ever not got feedback from a recruiter? Even to reject you? Well, this isn’t about that.

This is about one very specific aspect of rejection and how it plays out in the recruitment process.

The rejection I and other recruiters dish out falls into two categories. Rejection because Idon’t want you in the process and rejection because my client doesn’t want you in the process.

I deal with senior people who by and large react calmly and professionally at being rejected but this hasn’t always been the case and during my career I have worked with much less senior people. However, even now I occasionally get a big successful, wealthy guy not taking ‘no’ very well because what they really wanted was a ‘yes’.

I don’t blame them, I feel bad about it and it’s the part of the job I really don’t enjoy. I do it as respectfully as I can and in my world it really isn’t because they are a bad candidate. The slightest of differences have made it a ‘no’.

This world of outstanding talent means that I have to think long and hard about who gets filtered out and that is exactly as it should be. If I am loosing sleep about who to include in a short list (and I do) then I have done my job right.

I usually find myself sat across the table from people I like but at a minimum, really respect. They have had long successful, consistent careers and have interesting stories to tell, they are usually very articulate and always professional.

Some of them REALLY want the job. Sometimes it’s for personal issues, sometimes it’s professional (usually trouble with their boss/board).

Ok, lets get down to the point of this article.

Takeaway no.1

Nothing makes me question my judgement more than a great candidate who takes rejection like a champ! They are guaranteeing themselves I will call again when something appropriate comes along. I am constantly amazed at how well the candidates who really wanted it politely thank me, offer a ‘look forward to staying in touch’ and even compliment me on my process. Resilient, classy, professional and comfortable in their own skin.

Takeaway no.2

The reverse is also true but even more so. Get angry or behave rudely and you are only supporting mine or my client’s decision.

And finally…

Professional success is not defined by getting the job. It is and always has been about making a success of the job you actually have.


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About the author

Bruce Wright is the founder and Managing Director of Pathfinder Executive Search Ltd and has over 14 years Recruiting, Staffing and Executive Search experience. Over 12 years of this has been spent in Executive Search. He has been helping top Enterprise Software companies find senior level executives and helping build world class teams across Europe and North America since 2003. Unlike many Executive Search Professionals who claim to work across borders, he really has placed Senior Professionals with Enterprise Software companies in France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, UK and North America. Often working across borders simultaneously for the same client – this generates a synergy that makes for truly outstanding results. He is also a committed endurance athlete who has competed in challenges around the world, including the infamous Marathon des Sables, Zurich Ironman and the magical Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc. In addition to UTMB he has twice run 100 miles non-stop.