Thursday, January 16, 2014

I just hired 0.26% of the candidates who applied to my job!


I recently needed to fill 4 entry level finance positions.  So I put together the job description and posted it online where prospective candidates could find it.  Within a matter of days, I had 1488 applicants.  There were 84 interviews scheduled, and a month or so later I had my 4 new hires.  Talk about some tough odds!

My point is this... 1484 of the applicants didn’t get the job.  If you’re searching for a new job, you probably already know that there are many more applicants than there are jobs available -even in this so-called recovering economy.   So, the chances are at some point in your career search you will get the dreaded “thanks for interviewing, but we’ve hired someone else” email.  Worse yet, sometimes you won’t even get a response from the company, and your rejection will come in the form of dreaded silence.

So, how do you overcome these stumbling blocks on your journey to happily employed bliss? 

1.       First understand you’re not alone.  Like I said, 99.74% of the applicants for this one particular job did not get hired. 
2.       Take some time to figure out what the reasons for the rejection may be
a.       Having hired approximately 100 people per year for the last decade, I’ve noticed that many times rejections are quite frankly because the candidate applied to a position that was not a fit for their particular experience and skills.  To overcome this, make sure you take the time to really understand what the position entails even before applying. 
b.      If you did get an interview and then got rejected, make sure to ask for feedback.  If you get it, it could help you better prepare for future interviews.  ONE THING TO NOTE: If you don’t get feedback, don’t harass the hiring managers or recruiting team.  Nobody likes a stalker!  Just accept that it didn’t work out, and move on. 
3.       Don’t give up!  I can’t tell you how many times resilient candidates eventually get hired for the exact same position where they had originally been rejected.  Setbacks happen.  How you handle these setbacks is what is important. 
4.       Get active!  Exercise is a great way to improve your outlook on your current situation.  Studies have shown this over and again.  Earlier in my career whenever I had to deal with a tough client or handle a challenging situation, I used to take a 10 minute walk in advance just to calm my nerves and clear my head.  I still do this occasionally.  It works!
5.       Network, network, network.  “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” isn’t just a saying.  People who are better connected within their industry will consistently get better jobs.  Period.  If you’re looking for work and not networking within your industry, you are fighting a losing battle.
6.       Stay positive.  No one likes being rejected.  It can affect our self-confidence and cause us to start thinking negatively.  I’m telling you to ignore those negative thoughts and stay positive.  You owe it to yourself!  There’s nothing worse than seeing a candidate come in for an interview who bears the scars of previous rejections.  Shake it off, and keep going!
Everyone has been rejected at some point in their career search. It’s how you handle it that matters.  If I can leave you with one thought on how to handle rejection while looking for your next job, I’d borrow the words of Anne Lamott. 

"I took a long, deep breath and wondered as usual, where to start. You start where you are, is the secret of life. You do the next right thing you can see. Then the next."