I was having dinner with a friend of mine recently and I started talking about how we reject a vast majority of people in our job as recruiters.

At some point in the process, every candidate, bar one, will be rejected.

As recruiters, it's our job to handle that process in a professional and respectful manner because ultimately, this means the end of the road for the candidate in that particular process.

Being rejected from a job isn't always a bad thing - but we'll talk more about that soon.

My friend works in the medical profession and began to recount the news they sometimes have to deliver to their patients which literally means the end of the road to them. That really humbled me and it helped me put into perspective what we do in the recruitment industry.

What we do can ultimately change a person’s life. They can get a better job, more money, more job satisfaction and move cities – which can sometimes dictate where they live and where their children may go to school.

So, it’s important to remember that there could be so many reasons for that rejection from a recruiter to come your way and that you should treat it as a learning process instead of beating yourself up about it.

Here are 3 reasons why the recruiter gave you the big N.O. and why it's not necessarily a bad thing:

  • Culture fit

We all spend a big part of our day at work and that means a big part of our lives are spent with the people we work with. When interviewing for a particular job, the interviewer isn’t just assessing your skills and responses to technical questions, but also how you would fit in with their current team. 

That hiring manager doesn’t want to hire you and then find you don’t get along with the majority of the team a few months down the track.

Not being the right culture fit is not a bad reflection on you. It just means that there is probably a company out there in the big, wide, world much more suited to your personality! You want to work with like-minded people right? 

  • Experience

Experience encompasses a range of factors. You might not have enough experience for that job, or you might have way too much. An employer doesn’t want to place you in a role that you could do in your sleep and have you leaving in 3 months, nor do they want to give you a job that is simply too much for you.

Industry experience also comes into play here. It’s hard being pigeonholed, but put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. If two candidates show up and they both have great backgrounds but one has industry experience - automatically they will lean towards that person.

If you are looking to change industries to broaden your career experience, don’t keep 'Mum' on your CV. Explain to the hiring manager or interviewer how you would apply your transferable skills to your new role. Ask yourself these questions: Does this industry have similar deadlines? The same system? Similar revenue and funding streams? If so, talk about this in the interview!

  • Motivation and availability

This can sometimes be a make or break for the hiring manager.

If you’re applying for a permanent role, you might be the number one choice when it comes down to it but if you have a 2-month around-the-world trip you just cannot give up (right on their financial year-end too) - that just might not work for them!

Another big factor is your availability. For permanent jobs, this isn't such a big problem but if you’re a professional contractor you might be passed up because they need someone to start ASAP and you have to give 4 weeks notice. This is of course not a reflection on you, but rather a logistical problem.


It’s hard when you get a no from your recruiter or potential employer. The best thing you can do is to ask for feedback about why, learn from it and move on to your next challenge.

 

Looking to make the great leap from your current one to your next? Adam has over 15 years of recruitment experience in the accounting and finance space. Get in touch with him today.

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