I write a lot from the Recruiter point of view, but I had one of those weeks, which changed my mindset for a while.

I've had to make a number of calls to unsuccessful candidates. As a job to do... that sucks.. but you know what?.. I'm sure it doesn't suck as much as taking the call.

Going for a job is a brave thing to do. You're putting yourself out there to be judged by others. Baring your soul, putting your future in someone else's hands to decide on. Like those people who will put themselves out there for reality TV.

Put yourself in the jobseeker shoes if you will... You know how it goes, you get excited about a role, you invest in it, you research it, you go to the interview, like the people you meet, you think you perform well, and you leave the meeting absolutely PUMPED! Dreams change, your ego rises and you start mentally preparing your exit strategy.

You then get the call, from the Recruiter. You were unsuccessful.... what the? How did that happen? OK, ask for feedback, you're tough.. you can take it.

What? nothing specific, just someone better? Seriously? That had that little tiny skill that you thought you could learn in a heart beat and out pointed you on that?

I have to tell you, oh job seeker... this HAPPENS ALL THE TIME! Sometimes it is really hard to quantify why one person was chosen over another, other than that other poor reason, "culture fit!" You didn't blow the interview, they just chose someone else. (Even if you blew the interview, review the interview again honestly to yourself, take the feedback and use it in the next one. By the way, personal honesty is the hardest type, it is not that comfortable inside that house of mirrors)

It sucks, I know. To quote the great man Forrest Gump "Shit happens". Suck it up, be upset, that's fine, that shows a competitive nature and no one should like to lose, and find the next door to open. It may be hidden, or out of sight, but trust me... it's there somewhere.

Views: 117

Comment by Charles Van Heerden on October 16, 2009 at 2:44am
Dan, totally agree with your suggestion to put yourself as recruiter in the job seeker's shoes. I was coaching an HR Manager recently who was concerned about calling an unsuccessful applicant, expecting a barrage of questions, as he was technically good, but not a "cultural fit" i.e. team player.

I think this is where recruiters may need to be more like reality TV show judges (you opened the door!). Give some (any) positive feedback with some suggestions, where possible. Recent example for a Communication Coordinator: you are a great journalist but we found your event management skills were a little light. With more experience you will be a strong candidate.
Comment by Meagan Leddick on October 16, 2009 at 10:24am
Dan, great post!
Comment by Ron Rafelli on October 16, 2009 at 11:22am
Good article, Dan. I completely agree that empathy is necessary when making those calls. One thing about providing feedback to candidates so that "they can do better on future interviews" is that every interview and interviewer is different. What is considered a "weakness" for this job may be a strength on the next one. For the most part, short of correcting inappropriate attire or body odor, there is no way to give them advise for future interviews based upon any shortcoming(s) in this one, because it is an apples to oranges comparison. One other thing... I know many recruiters who chicken out and send rejection emails. If someone took the time to come in and interview with your client or your company, man (or woman) up and have the courtesy to call them. It is my least favorite part of the job, but I think we owe it to someone who put their time and effort into the process. Besides, you never know when you may need to call them in the future for something that is a perfect fit and treating them with respect and empathy now may pay dividends down the road.
Comment by Sherry Junker on October 16, 2009 at 12:06pm
Dan, nice article. Very kind of you to put yourself in the candidate's shoes. So many desperate people out there right now, and it is hard to be the bearer of bad news especially when they thought they did well in the interview.
Comment by Joanne Meleney on October 16, 2009 at 2:22pm
Dan, enjoyed your article. I always try to help my candidates understand that eveything happens for a reason. Use every interview as a learning tool to improve on the next time. When one door closes, a better one usually opens up. It's tough to handle rejection but once you can see past your emotions, it usually works out for the best anyway. All you can do is present yourself as you truly are and if it's not a match, it's not a match.
Comment by Emily Van Wyk on October 16, 2009 at 5:42pm
I really like this article, and think the picture at the bottom says it all! You might think you're going for gold just to end up with crap all over you!
Comment by Randy Levinson on October 17, 2009 at 2:52pm
Dan, were you on the call after my last interview? You hit it spot on. As recruiters we do need to have the perspective of what the mindset is on the other end of the line or across the table in an interview. We or the hiring manager want to get a full view into the universe of the candidate in 30-60 minutes. Not impossible, but pretty dang close. Great post.


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