Rejection: A Recruiter's Perspective
Today was a slog. For some strange reason, Tuesday tends to be the slowest, most soul-sucking day of the workweek.
On paper, today was a solid, productive success! Everything that had to happen today got completed, and I even caught up on a few tasks that had been in my backlog for a couple of weeks. This level of authentic output usually leaves me satisfactorily exhausted, surrounding myself with the comfy cloud of a job well done.
I enjoy my job. My work recruiting people and helping to create an engaging workplace brings me fulfillment. I have the power to change people’s lives by bringing them aboard my company and adding them to our unique tribe of individuals. My favorite days are when I get back a signed offer letter. It’s also a position that allows me to seek self-improvement and grow significantly. I’m always learning, refreshing, and growing in a variety of ways.
Of course, not every task I perform leaves me feeling fulfilled or awestruck.
I don’t mind doing reports, but I wouldn’t say they help me grow as a person. Heck, they give me a great reason to put my headphones on and rock out to some music from the golden era of the late-90s while I dig deep into numbers, formulas, and spreadsheets. I hate booking travel for any reason, but it’s not something I dread about my job. It’s just an annoyance that I get over quickly. To quote Bartleby, the Scrivener, “I would prefer not to.”
But there is one task that leaves me feeling emotionally drained—sending rejection notices to people who’ve applied for a position.
During normal times, I send out one or two rejections every few weeks. But right now, we have a job opening that is very coveted and we had over 200 people initially apply (normal numbers for this position are around 50 applications). I’m a very hands-on recruiter. Some of these folks, I have had multiple conversations and other interactions with.
During these times of influx, I typically collect those who don’t pass muster for whatever reason, and I send off all the accumulated rejections out once or twice a week.
And there were a lot today.
One rejection, in particular, was to a guy that I had been speaking with regularly. I knew just how high his hopes were about this job. In one conversation, he told me that he had sent out over 70 applications and that I was the only person to even acknowledge him.
AND HE WAS GOOD!
He checked all the boxes. He had drive. He was polite. He had the skills needed. He had passed our assessment with good marks. He comes from a small town and understands the struggles of what the tech life in a rural world entails.
But he lives in Texas. It’s where his family is. And while we are moving to embrace a more remote work culture, we still want folks to be able to come into the office on occasion for the social aspect. This candidate, unfortunately, had no intention of moving and was hoping this would be a 100% remote position (our job ad stated otherwise, and I was upfront with him that there would have to be special circumstances that would allow it.)
And so, his was one of the rejections that I sent out today, explaining all of the things stated above. It still hurt. I knew how much his hopes had been lifted by even that little teeny glimmer of possibility. He saw this as an opportunity to get out of working at a lumber mill.
With a short email, his dream was crushed—and I was the messenger. It is not a pleasant feeling.
I try not to dwell on these things too much. My emotions are valid. I know that. I understand that. I feel because I am human. I care deeply for the livelihood of the people around me. So I accept the melancholy as a temporary state. I take action when warranted, and I move onward.
Anyone out there hiring junior-level developers? I know a guy.
About the Author
April Loebick is the Recruitment & Retention Specialist for GetUWired, an internet marketing firm located in Dahlonega (Duh-lawn-uh-guh), GA – about an hour and a half north of Atlanta. GetUWired is a full-service digital marketing agency with a team of 45 web developers, graphic designers, marketers, copywriters, and more who are dedicated to helping small businesses succeed all from a large cabin office in the middle of nowhere. She's also an HR for HR steering committee member and community steward for the Rural HR and Talent Acquisition groups.