So what do you do?
Recruiters bring great employers and great candidates together to fill jobs. That’s the fun bit which underpins the success and profile of a recruiter. But there’s a larger responsibility of the job which operates behind the scenes of equal, perhaps greater importance – the responsibility and obligation recruiters have to advise candidates they’ve been unsuccessful.
If you think about most jobs, the process is designed to arrive at one appointment. If there’s 100 candidates, one gets the good news (and the job) and 99 are unsuccessful. Most recruiters receive applications from thousands of candidates each year. 99% of these candidates are unsuccessful. Multiply that by the time you’ve been in business (or likely to be) and you’ll get the picture. In fact, many candidates will only ever receive bad news from some recruiters!
Applying for a role is a huge emotional and time commitment. All of us can remember that sense of excitement when you first see a role that’s absolutely got your name on it. You spend time researching, completing your application, checking it’s submitted by the close date, checking it’s been received, waiting for the outcome, attending interviews, more research and effort. Then the dreaded advice you’ve been unsuccessful.
Just as people are so very different, so too are the ways candidates respond to bad news. For the large part candidates typically display grace and dignity when advised they’ve been unsuccessful. The news is always more comforting if delivered with meaningful feedback or at least leaving the door open for the opportunity to seek feedback when required. That’s why the sector should continue to drive all employers and recruiters to provide acknowledgement of applications and feedback when requested.
Not all candidates take the news that well. Recruiters regularly share stories of threats and trolling while other unsuccessful candidates use their contacts to attempt to influence the outcome. Others can’t hide their emotions, with lots of tears and despair for what they see as rejection. Understanding how important the job is to the candidate goes a long way in accepting their reaction to the news.
Recruiters also have to advise the most talented professionals they’ve been unsuccessful, pipped at the post by someone the selection panel felt was the best choice right now. Often the same candidate will apply for other roles and be successful. Keep in mind missing out on a job now has no impact on your next job application. It just is, for now.