Getting a job may be important. But it’s not life or death. That’s perhaps worth remembering for some candidates who act like it’s the end of the world when they don’t get offered a job.

And, yes, it’s difficult for us when a candidate reacts badly to a job rejection. But far worse is the fact that such a response is likely to make your job search much harder.  

Embracing feedback

We spend much of our time supporting our law firm clients and candidates through the interview process. A big part of that work is communicating feedback – not only to those who are successful but also to those who ultimately are not. 

Our view is that some you win and some you lose. No-one is always successful and you can gain a lot from the inevitable rejections if you deal with them right.

Most of our candidates understand this. They take the odd job knock on the chin, listen to any feedback, and learn. They might have put a lot of effort into the interview process. It can be frustrating and demoralising if the job offer then goes elsewhere, especially if it happens more than once. 

But there’s also faith: if you can get so far in one interview process, then you can likely do so again. And if you embrace any constructive feedback, you’ll know how to make a better impact next time.

The red mist approach

But then there are the others. We have had candidates swear at us just because we’ve had to tell them they didn’t get the job this time. One even threatened us, saying ‘you’ll regret this’, because we dared say they weren’t right for the role. 

Some refuse to believe they’ve been judged fairly, others think the employer got the wrong impression (no, their view is the only one that counts), or a few will point to a flawed process. Some completely ignore our follow-ups or, in a kind of sulk, claim to have no interest in hearing any feedback, no matter how helpful it might be.

In the short term this is (at best) awkward for everyone. But in the long-term it’s detrimental. Reputation sticks: law firms and recruiters alike will be understandably reluctant to work with candidates who are known to flip on hearing bad news. That means opportunities are more likely to go to those who are professional and deal well with rejection.

Not only that, but those who can’t handle negative feedback can’t learn. They are doomed to repeat the same mistakes while others embrace the opportunity to change their approach and rapidly move on.

Going forwards

Yes, we know that feedback from firms isn’t always terribly constructive. Sometimes there is no really good reason for losing out on a job – roles can change, move to another location, or get abandoned altogether. Sometimes firms just fail to give any decent feedback and that annoys us too. 

But where many recruiters won’t bother, we go out of our way to get genuinely helpful feedback. We do it because we know how frustrating it is to hear nothing when you have committed so much of your time to the interview process. 

So when we have feedback to pass on, please listen with grace and learn. And, for our part, we will remain right behind you, helping you to secure the very best job for your long-term career success.


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