*If you are on the go, listen to the audio version of this post here on spotify *
Preface: This essay talks about the rejections experienced by Recruiters and the wisdom I got out of it. Notwithstanding, Recruiters do a lot of the rejection too. Unfortunately, many don’t do it professionally and with grace, which puts our profession in a bad light. This is a topic that will get a separate (episode) essay at some point.
The highlights of a Recruiter’s work are closing deals, achieving sales targets, and delivering good news to both candidates and clients….The Magical “Yes” (eg. Yes to working with us, Yes to accepting our terms, Yes to accepting our job offer, Yes to a paid project). The reality is we only get the magical yes sometimes. In fact, according to Recruitment Guru Greg Savage, we are in the business of rejection. We get far more No’s than Yes’. The No’s come from all over the place: Prospects don’t want our services, Prospects don’t want our rates/proposals, Clients who reject our candidates, Candidates who reject our invitations, Candidates who reject our job offer, and Candidates and Clients who disappear on us.
These all sound easy peasy to manage but if you are on the receiving end, and you receive these turndowns consecutively, you start to feel like you hit a wall. The negative implications of each rejection take a hit on your self-esteem. You begin to wonder why you keep going through this, are your efforts not good enough? Will there be an end in sight to all these rejections?
Many of my childhood and early adulthood memories were rooted in rejection. Though constantly bombarded with dismissal and brush-offs, I find it a blessing in disguise that I am more exposed to this at disproportionally higher levels as a working professional. In hindsight, these constant turndowns were developing my emotional intelligence such that each rejection doesn’t sting as hard as the initial ones and I can understand why the rejections happened.
As with many of life’s objections, I try to find the balance and wisdom that come from these letdowns by taking the following to heart:
- Rejections don’t erase the good things we’ve done before or will do – Keep in mind that these rejections are for reasons particular to the situation at hand. A single or several “Nos” do not invalidate the “Yes” and the other good things we’ve done in the past or will do in the future.
- Rejections don’t mean a total objection to who we are – Put things into perspective and try not to take it personally. If the proposal you worked hard on was given a no-go, it does not mean all of you are not good enough; That proposal you made is just not what your client needs right now.
3. A “Yes” will eventually emerge after a barrage of “No’s” – Life is a fair play such that nothing lasts forever, good and bad. From the many cycles of rejections I’ve gone through, the circumstances eventually balanced out and I got the yes I needed after what felt like a hundred years. Amid letdowns, know that things will change, though we don’t know when, but they will. For this to happen, we need to keep showing up, doing what we can, where we are, and with what we have. Something will “crack” and “turn around” eventually.
4. Rejection is a chance to revisit and revise our strategy or way of thinking – When everyone is saying no to us, it is easy to think that there is something wrong with those people, and we find all the reasons why their “No’s” were not the right answers. But who is the common denominator among these objections? It’s us. Perhaps rejections happen as a way for us to put on the brakes, breathe, and look inwards to see what we can change about how we do things, how we respond to situations, and what these “No’s” are telling us to do, moving forward.
Whether you are a Recruiter, someone in another profession, or someone who’s been consistently trying but keeps getting objects, know that we are not and shouldn’t be victims in these disappointing situations. Rejections are an opportunity for us to look inwards rather than pity ourselves or pass on the blame. Understand that a “No” does not define our whole self, and things do change for the better. For all we know, a “No” may just be our way to a “Yes”.
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