Job rejection is always hard to take but here we tell you how to cope with it and keep your head held high. Article by Antal International
A Facebook reject went on to sign a $19 billion deal with the company that once did not consider him worth employing… This story about WhatsApp founder Brian Acton is fast becoming the stuff of legend. However, equally interesting is what Acton posted online in the year 2009 once he was told he wasn’t getting the job – “Facebook turned me down. It was a great opportunity to connect with some fantastic people. Looking forward to life’s next adventure.”
Hey, even Twitter didn’t think Acton had what it takes. “Got denied by Twitter HQ. That’s ok. Would have been a long commute,” is what he had posted on his, ahem, Twitter account after getting to know of the rejection.
As a recruiter, it’s these two sentences by Acton that have really caught my attention in the entire ‘WhatsApp sold to FB” saga. If only our candidates reacted so positively when informed that they were not considered a suitable fit in the companies we had helped them contact for job change. While the more positive ones shrug and move on with a “It’s their loss if they are not hiring a talent… I was doing well in my current company and another new company has recognised my talent,” more often than not I’m faced with reactions like “How is that possible? I had an hour long interview with the CEO? Was I being led along for the last 6 months only to be rejected now?” Oh yes, I have had one of these too. Worse, he insisted on speaking directly to the MD about his rejection, only to earn himself a black mark.
To be fair, rejections are sad news, especially in these lean times, what with the Indian economy in doldrums. But it is especially in times as these when candidates need to be more positive about rejections. For, when the economy is in a bad shape, companies tend to be very conservative in hiring and one may not get selected for minor points that work against him. For instance, the candidate I was talking about earlier was rejected because, according to the hiring heads at the major pharma company that rejected him, he did not display “energy”. Their exact words to me were, “The role we were interviewing him for requires one to display energy and aggression, which during our interaction with him we felt was lacking.” Now, they did not understand that the candidate having cleared up to 7 rounds for a role he really aspired for, was understandably nervous and maybe just slightly subdued. Does that make him a bad candidate? Not at all. The hiring heads can also be excused for misconstruing his nervousness as lack of energy and aggression.
However, it is very important for candidates to not take a rejection as the end of the world. For that may force them to take wrong decisions. And this also comes from experience. In fact, even as we speak I’m dealing with a candidate, who is aggressively looking for a job as his current firm is downsizing. Now, having been rejected in an interview, this particular candidate seems to be losing hope. If we are not careful he may end up accepting positions in minor firms which will give his entire career graph a negative turn.
Therefore, my advice to jobseekers in today’s times: a rejection does not mean you are a hopeless candidate, it just indicates that you may not be the right fit for a particular role or company. Similarly, HR heads agree that judging a candidate in even an hour’s worth interview is tough. So, when faced with a rejection slip, sit back and review. Always go back to your recruitment consultant to discuss what went wrong because HR heads are able to explain freely to consultants the reason for rejecting a candidate. Even this can be illustrated with an example.
My recruitment consultants were dealing with a candidate who had applied for the senior manager position at the multinational company. Unfortunately he was rejected in the final round and was understandably upset about it. My recruitment consultant, after having a detailed talk with the hiring manager discovered that the candidate was seen as lacking on the commercial aspect. It took a little convincing but in the end, the candidate took the entire episode on the chin as learning experience and went on to have better interactions after some training in these aspects.
So, take time out to iron out the wrinkles and go to the next interview with your head held high and a confident smile.
Antal International Lucknow
Most of my candidates get annoyed when I call them to enquire if they are looking for a job change; with a very irritated tone they reply “sorry, I am happy with my current job” or “I’m not interested in a change” or “Please don’t bother me, and get me off your list, I don’t work with recruiters” .. After which they abruptly hang up before I even say a word. Hence I decided to pen down my advice to candidates on how to work with good, professional recruiters.
Candidates may or may not be interested in what the recruiter had on offer for them, but they need to realize that contacts with good recruiters may not be handy at present but in the long run it will definitely be an asset.
Most people should have realized by now that recruiters are not only useful when you are changing jobs but also when you are perfectly happy within your current role. It’s important to nurture your relation with a good recruiter and to be on his “favourite list”. For that you need to understand how recruiters function and in turn you use their way of functioning for your benefit.
Send your Resume
Do you get annoyed when you get a call from a recruiter saying “Mr X, I have a perfect opportunity for you, can you give me a brief background about yourself so I can understand you better” or directly ask you for your updated resume, inspite of you telling them that you’re not looking for a job?? Pretty infuriating right??
If you felt this recruiter sounded professional, seemed knowledgeable then what’s the harm in sending it in?? Let’s face it, maybe you’re not actively looking for a job now but you may in the future. Having your details on a specialist recruiter’s folder will make it more likely that the recruiter will call you again when he has another opportunity and maybe you are looking for a change by then.
Avoid tampering your Resume
Some candidates see a benefit in lying on their resume, or to their recruiter or at the interview. Especially when they are desperate for a job. They often lie about academic degrees, inaccurate job descriptions, inflated salaries, fake references, altered employment dates. Ones who are lucky enough get away with it but once they get on the job they are not qualified for, it’s not too long till their employer finds out the truth about their credibility and they are likely to be fired.
A candidate may find this the most convenient and fastest means to get a job, but they do this by putting their employers business at stake as well as their own careers in jeopardy
A candidate may think that’s it’s only a resume, and he won’t get jailed for lying about his experience or salary. Yes you won’t. But if you get into the habit of constantly altering your resume to suit a job opening you will end up being branded a “Job – Hopper”.
We recruiters are well connected with industry insiders and so are your employers – our Clients. They will eventually find out and do their own reference checks. They have many ways to find out and once a candidate is caught their career is doomed.
Keep it to yourself
The moment I call a candidate saying they have an opportunity for him; he wants to know which firm it is with, that’s what most of the candidates want to know, to which I politely respond that “Sir, I can’t share these confidential details as of now, but I will do that once I am sure that you are the right fit for the job profile.” The bizarre thing is that, when I do say this most of my candidates get offended. Candidates need to understand that the best for them would be to just wait and respect the recruiter’s request. Just like good recruiters stick to complete confidentiality for the Clients we do the same when it comes to our passive candidates. Candidates as well as clients depend on a recruiter’s ability to keep secrets. If a recruiter calls you, don’t expect him to answer your queries first, rather help him to understand your career graph, your abilities so that we can advise you better on your career. You will be given information on an as-needed basis, and you will be expected to keep it to yourself. Don’t be afraid to share personal information with your recruiter. Knowing what is important to you helps us to find you a suitable combination of position, company, and location.
Follow your Recruiter’s instructions and listen
Most important: A recruiter not only places you from one job to another but we also counsel you about your interview, advise you about negotiating the offer, on how to resign from your current job once you’re selected for a new one, how to tackle a counter offer…etc. We are your career counsellors and we understand where you come from, what your strengths and weaknesses are and the expectations you have from your new job. A recruiter is the one who helps mould your career. We know more about your potential employer, the organisation, what they are looking for and hence we will be able to guide you better. Take note of the advice and direction your recruiter gives you and follow it.
Make up your Mind
The worst thing that could happen to a recruiter is that his candidate drops out of an offer. Such a situation is even worse than a candidate not being selected. This situation puts the recruiter in an extremely embarrassing position. It’s difficult for the recruiter to go back to his client and break the news to him. It shows that the recruiter lacks candidate control.
As candidates, you have to be completely sure about your decision to move; keeping in mind all the key factors that will be affected by your decision. Be sure that your spouse, parents, kids are aware of your decision and are prepared to adjust to the change. This is one of the most common issues that cause a hindrance in the recruitment process that too at an extremely crucial and final moment.
You have to make sure that other important aspects like pay, responsibilities, designation etc are all at par with your expectations. If there is something you are not happy about, make sure that your recruiter is well aware about it in the very beginning. This saves the recruiter the embarrassment and you being branded as the “Unprofessional Candidate”.
Call your recruiter as soon as you are done with your interview. Give him your feedback before the client does. A good recruiter will always prefer getting your feedback before reaching out to the client to get his feedback. Use your recruiter to negotiate and express any concerns. This will help facilitate communication and allow some of the details to be handled at a more comfortable arm’s length.
Infact to build your relation with the recruiter, you should keep in touch with him and get some inside news about your industry hiring trends. But this doesn’t mean you pester him all the time, maybe every 6 months…you could call him or just drop in a mail to say hello.
Use social media to keep in touch; this is the best option you have today. Connect with your recruiter on LinkedIn, follow him on Twitter. Keep a track of his updates on social media. You never know he may just post an opening for your dream job one day.
Face Negative Feedback Positively
Many recruiters shy away from sharing negative feedback as many candidates don’t take the feedback positively. If your recruiter comes back with a negative feedback about your interview don’t be offended instead be professional and polite, this is for your own betterment. Being rejected on a particular opportunity could be to do with another stronger candidate in the process and not necessarily about you. You have to maintain your relation with the recruiter since he will be the same one who may land you your next job. It’s better to know about your flaws and work on them rather than living with it for life.
This is the most critical issue, which has to be handled carefully. If you have received more than one offer, it is generally best to let your recruiter know about it as soon as possible to avoid any complexities in the future.
Contemplating on an offer
The longer you take to make your decision, the more likely it is that the employer will think you are not committed and that they have, perhaps, made a wrong choice. We have even seen cases where, due to inordinate delay, employers have retracted offers of employment. Good recruiters also understand that delay in decision-making at this stage could mean you are hesitating; and we will very quickly put in alternate options from our “Favourite List”.
Courtesy of Antal International Executive Consultancy
In today’s globalised world, companies that want to succeed need employees who are able to adapt to foreign environments and work well with the local workforce. In simple terms, what today’s firms need is a pipeline of culturally-savvy employees. However, relatively few employers concern themselves with cultural differences when they send staff for international assignments. On the other hand, re-locating the staff to different branches is good for employees to adapt to a globalised workplace.
Building cultural agility often includes making structural changes as an organisation moves from active operations in a few countries to multiple continents.This brings about diversity of experience and thinking, and this usually results in better business decisions.
A company without culturally adaptable leaders is a company that is destined to fail, the challenge for HR is to start by staffing the company with individuals who are not just strong technically, but also exhibit the competencies that allow someone to be culturally adaptable. No company will ever reach its full potential without cultural adaptability.
Younger professionals that have studied abroad, or work abroad are top priority for dynamic companies. These candidates are often fast tracked onto management programs. MNCs are able to offer these candidates ways of expanding their career, and therefore hold on to talent better (Standard 3 year job cycle). They do this by offering global positions. I started in Antal in Germany, and moved to China based on my experiences in Germany and then the UK.
As a recruiter, I would like to say culturally experienced professionals are highly valued in the workplace. These talents bring a perception of flexibility and sensitivity based on a global perspective. Cultural understanding helps push teams forward; a foreigner who understands local cultural and business practices is highly valued as a connection between people.
This article is written by Max Price, Partner of Antal International China. Edited by Dhanya Nair
Employers rarely consider happiness to be an essential work place practice but a happy employee can change a company’s fortune and is pivotal for its development
Strangely enough even in these lean times companies and employees across all levels are debating happiness at work. I wonder, wouldn’t one rather worry about keeping the job to keep the home fires burning. But something tells me I am wrong.
Take this recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston for example, which says that employee engagement is a bigger motivator than money. In real terms, the study cited that in the US alone, 72 per cent of the employees considered themselves disengaged, which in terms of money translated into an annual loss of a whopping 370 billion dollars. The study should ring warning bells for employers, for disengagement is one of the factors that could lead to unhappiness at work.
But back to the first question: Why should employers strive for a happier office. My colleague Ashleigh Fitzgerald tells me that it is important for a company to demonstrate it cares. A happy office can make a difference to an employee and in turn her commitment to an organisation. At the same time it encourages ‘discretional effort’ of the employees towards the organisation they work for. Essentially, discretional effort is what people give to their jobs when they are happy, the small extra efforts, hours, energy and enthusiasm they put in. But if employees disgruntled, this effort vanishes.
In my discussions with managing director at Happiness Unlimted in Noida, India Vanshika Prahladka, who along with senior HR manager Ruhi Sahu and motivational guru Karan Kharb works towards making India’s workplaces happier, it was concluded that happiness increases our willingness to do things. The emotion improves our problem solving abilities, resilience, efficiency, etc. Essentially, feeling happy creates a happy cycle: When we are happy, we enjoy what we do; when we enjoy what we do, we do it better; when we do good things, we feel good, and want to continue the momentum.
Juxtaposing this thought against the office background, I have come to realise that employee retention is strategic to the growth of an organisation. Therefore, if we can generate happy employees, we can retain a few as well.
So, what are the symptoms of an unhappy employee? My experience as an employer tells me there are some clear markers that tell if someone is unhappy in office. Apart from sudden dip in performance and non participation in the organisation’s development, missing deadlines and coming late to work is a strong indicator. Similarly, it helps for employers to watch the body language of colleagues – are they smiling and engaged in conversation. Also, take a serious look at the leave book. If employees take too many sick leaves, it could be an indication that all is not well, and not just health wise. Other factors like ungratefulness, and monotony and repetition in work and thought can also be added. Similarly, watch out for employees who are easily distracted and do not offer help to people around them.
Online columnist Ilya Pozin lists some of the things that could be making employees unhappy. For instance, do they think their friends in other offices or companies have a better deal than them? Pozin points out, “The transparency of employee benefits and perks can sometimes lead your employees to dream about working elsewhere.” His solution, “Keep an eye on what other companies are doing and try to match where you can.”
Similarly, other grouses that lead to employees being less than happy with their organisation, according to Pozin, include, a feeling of being undervalued, no room for advancement, unhappiness with pay, red tape, lack of challenges and of course, poor management. So, take time to pat your employees on the back, cut the red tape and create a plan for your employees to grow with you.
For matters of pay, Pozin advises that it may be worth your while to consider asking your employees what they feel they deserve. Put all these together, and you may be on your way to being a better boss.
At the same time, Ashleigh stresses that even the little things matter when it comes to creating a happier workplace. In fact, it begins right at the induction stage, she offers. So, welcome the new staff and introduce them to everyone, if possible. The induction should include the formal training and information about the informal office culture. Similarly, few employers offer health and safety awareness and training. A DVD on fire awareness is easy to obtain and can save lives. Employers should also look at measures that create a sense of well being, like an office environmental policy: encourage them to recycle paper, not use plastic water cups, turn off computers and lights.
Also, create a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy. A monthly initiative focusing on different CSR themes creates a sense of well being for staff. Team building activities also help with staff integration while aiding the development of friendships, It also helps in employee recognition. Organisations should make special effort to identify performers and make sure everyone in the team get to know about the achievement of the individual.
In conclusion, happy people are motivated and the best way to judge the happiness levels of an organisation and its people to see its growth. If an institute and its people are growing each year, then it’s a happy place.
Run a check, are your employees happy?
This column was brought to you by employment agency Antal International
Managing staff is a difficult challenge all over the world. You have to be tough but fair, supportive yet critical and be a friend but not too friendly. It’s the role of a politician in a commercial environment and far too often across every industry the role of manager is not something people are trained for, instead we tend to promote top performers naturally thinking that as a top performer they can lead and groom a business’s next generation.
In China, exponential fast-paced economic growth led to the quick change of people’s lifestyle and mentality. The older generation being used to a highly formalised, hierarchical system and the younger generation expecting a flat organisational chart, how can that gap be balanced in a workplace where these generations are based in the same business unit? The answer is to keep it simple. There are so many ways to over complicate things as a manager and the danger is that you lose the clarity of the task and crucially the implications of success or failure. There are four main points that managers need to ensure are communicated in order to be successful in China.
1 – Goal Setting
2 – Clear performance management
3 – Recognition
4 – Regular reviews
Everyone has a different idea about what they want from a career. Some people want to climb as high as possible in a company, some want to learn new skills, some want to find a perfect work life balance. The role of a manager is to find out what their employees want to achieve, match that to what the organisation as a whole needs to achieve then set manageable goals together. This gives employees a clear path to reach their targets, be they financial, personal or career based with no ambiguity. It is a simple task but too often neglected. Once these goals have been set a manager’s duty is to help a team member achieve that, and the only way to gauge progress is with milestones. If a milestone is achieved then as a team you can move onto the next step, if it is not achieved it is not a case of firing that individual, but to go through clear steps in order to rectify the situation. Of course a part of performance management is to remove underperforming individuals from their current position and in some cases from the company, but the only way to maintain managerial integrity and the respect of your teams is if the performance management systems used are used for all, and are clearly highlighted before the reviews begin. Assessment time is stressful, for managers and staff alike, but can be made easier if the process is clear from the offset.
All four points are important, but if I could highlight one in particular to be the number one, it would be recognition. The only thing better than doing a job well is to be told sincerely that you have done it well and the same applies if a task or a goal hasn’t been achieved in a satisfactory manner. I personally throughout my career have had moments where I wish someone had come to me and said this wasn’t acceptable, but this is how we can change it and learn from it for the future. As long as it is constructive there is nothing wrong with criticism, in fact employees welcome it.
Finally there is no point in doing all of the above if it is not continuous and communicated. All of the good work done with an individual and team will be undone if there is no follow through, if promotions aren’t achieved, if financial rewards aren’t given or if poor performance isn’t dealt with as threatened then you lose the respect and a managers influence diminishes exponentially. These regular reviews must be set up within specified time frames and with clear agendas, they are invaluable and are the glue that keeps the four managerial golden rules together.
In a time of talent shortage where poor managerial performance is being highlighted across industries in China, good managers will stand out, and poor managers will be left behind.
Courtesy of Antal International Executive Consultancy