A Headhunter’s Experiences On Handling Rejection And Bouncing Back


Talent Headhunter

Rejection. A very large part of the job application process, but one that not many would acknowledge.

As a headhunting professional, I can comfortably tell you that rejection is an inevitable part of the job application process. I might even go so far as to say that rejection is an important part of the process as without it, it would not build one’s confidence and character. But I know that this is a lot easier said than done - rejection is and will always be a bitter pill to swallow regardless of where we are in life. Nothing is worse than trying to pick yourself off the floor, after being turned down from a position you were desperate for; even worse, a position you thought you had nailed the interview for. When it happens to you back-to-back, imagine how confidence-crippling it is.

I am a staunch advocate for mental health, especially in tech developers. Tech developers have to complete multiple tech test rounds during interviews in their own time, not get paid for them, and ultimately face rejection for their efforts. What’s more, many developers never get told the reason behind their rejection, which is absolutely detrimental to their mental health. As candidates face more rejections, the more they would approach interviews in a negative manner. This will no doubt lead to more rejections, and the cycle repeats itself. Furthermore, this will also lead candidates to lose self-confidence and question their own abilities.

Here is where my job as a headhunter applies: part of my job is to guide candidates through the interview process, providing them with encouragement and feedback. In my opinion, the most fail-safe way to get better at interviews is to always prepare oneself for it. Candidates find positive reinforcement helpful - I encourage them to always write down the best positive achievements they have to date, to remind themselves that they are more than what they think they are. I also make sure to let them know that even the best tech developers in the world have faced rejections, and that they are not alone. So many have gone through the same process and they all turned out so much better!

As a headhunter, I also faced my fair share of rejections. I learned that it is always about how you respond. There is only so much I can control; one of them being my attitude and behaviour. Hence, if I come back at the situation in a positive manner and believe in my abilities, I have the power to push on and come out of it as a better person. It is always better to give 110% and get knocked back, than it is to give 50% and never know what might have happened.

Above all, I always remind candidates to view rejection as constructive criticism, as it is the only way one can improve. The second you see rejection as a sign of weakness and failure, you will never feel good about yourself. Focus on the parts you did well in, take that to your next interview and keep soldiering on. Remember, you are what you believe in - the more positive beliefs you manifest, the better off you will be.




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