Another recruitment exercise successfully put to bed… total applicants across two jobs = 77, prostate number of people shortlisted =11, more about   total number of people requesting  feedback on why they were not shortlisted = 8. So by my maths, that’s a total of 58 people who made all that effort to apply but did not ring and ask why they were not successful. That’s a lot of people.

So what happened that those 58 people didn’t take up an opportunity to hear more? Here’s some thoughts:

Maybe they got another job between applying and being rejected; it happens, one of the people who was shortlisted  withdrew for that reason and I saw another applicant update his profile to say he had a new job.


Maybe they didn’t want to hear a message saying they weren’t good enough. Having been rejected you have to pick yourself up and dust yourself down and hearing that there were better people (so many consultants do just say that) may not help you build resilience.

Maybe they never really wanted the job in the first place so didn’t care.

Maybe they ran out of time, were on holiday, lost the moment …..

Maybe they did not realise that the door was open for them to ask for feedback – every reputable consultancy working on jobs at senior level should really give feedback. However I do appreciate the time it might take for 100s of applications, but on the other hand those people made an effort to apply….

Maybe they didn’t want to bother me…

Whilst all those reasons are valid – why wouldn’t you see what you can learn? You can’t change the decision (or can you?) but you might learn something else. So here are 6 reasons why phoning for feedback is a Very Good Idea.thumbs up

  1. Change your fortune. Given the fact that people do drop out – just sometimes your conversation with the consultant can change the course of history (or at least this recruitment). I am constantly writing about how to do excellent applications but not everyone does. That conversation will enable you to correct any wrongful impressions your CV/application may have given. And then if a space materialises on the shortlist it might just go to you! Getting feedback has enabled people to get in front of the client in just that way. It also enabled me to get my first London job..they knew my situation and motivation and I got a (different) contract.
  2. You build your relationship with the consultant. Always a good idea to cultivate friends with power and influence. Make sure you are not over demanding of their time, argumentative or difficult but appear genuinely interested in the work they recruit to.
  3. Learn something! Sometimes when I see the requests my heart sinks as I feel the person might be one of those who is challenging and awkward .. but I loved the woman who said.. ‘never mind about what I did wrong this time.. how can I do better next time?’. So forward looking.  Another person was blown away by the detailed critique of his CV and suggestions of how he could present better.. ‘ouch’  he kept saying ‘more, more.’ So he got free coaching and was amazed.  In NLP we say that the right piece of information at the right time can change your way of looking at the world.
  4. Regain some confidence. Ok so they did not get an interview this time, and on these roles I was only shortlisting a handful,  but what made people feel better was that they were in a ‘maybe’ category, that they were not without hope, that there were c40 people competing for the role.
  5. Consider a direction shift. If you really were not in the ‘maybe pile’, then perhaps your application was misplaced. Talk to the consultant about what they would shortlist you for. I told one person that he was far too senior and had too much breadth for the role.. ok he wants a job but it does need to be the right job, not one he wold be bored in within a few months.
  6. Make a plan. Talking to a professional recruiter should help you define your career goal better. And once you have a gaol then you can make a plan. Ask for help, what experience is missing, what would have made me more attractive? Where do those jobs exist, what do they pay? How do I find them? OK so don’t wear out your welcome but at least try to use the expertise.

So there is much potential in that call and few risks.. so why wouldn’t you?