A Tale Of Two Candidates

“Life is not about what happens to you. It’s about how you react to what happens to you.”

Today I had the unfortunate responsibility of delivering the bad news to two candidates. They were different jobs with different companies; One was for an Outside Sales Rep and the other Operations Management. Both candidates interviewed quite well, and in fact believed they were close to the job offer. However, for one reason or another they were not ultimately successful in securing the role.

How Would You React?

Quick, don’t think about it, just see what your gut tells you. How would you feel? What is your attitude about this experience? Hold on to that for a moment.

I can assure you that the bad news was delivered professionally and with empathy, and these positions were by no means their last hope for employment. I will admit I was a little surprised to hear that they would not be moving forward to the next step, but after going through the feedback from the hiring manager, it all made sense.

What I was really surprised about was the reaction I received from these two candidates. They could not have been more different!

Bob (let’s call him that), was angry, rude and believed the whole exercise to be a massive waste of his time. Jim (not his real name either) was gracious, thankful for the opportunity, and appreciative of the chance to meet the hiring manager. Jim further went on to ask if it would be appropriate to send a handwritten thank you note, while Bob spent his energy writing an unprofessional email, with a good many spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.

Now ask yourself this question: Which of these candidates do you most closely resemble?

I don’t think I need to say any more about Bob. But if you’re a “Jim” then I congratulate you. Your positive attitude and professionalism will mean good things for you, both personally and professionally. You are the type of candidate I want to work with!

And as it turns out, the hiring manager who received the thank you note recently mentioned to me that he really liked Jim, and would invite him back if another more suitable position opened up.

Have you ever been turned down for a job? What did you do? Let me know your stories.

by David Ford